Me First and The Gimme Gimmes - Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Me First and The Gimme Gimmes

Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah (2004)

Fat Wreck Chords

This needs no introduction as you know the rules of the game by this point. Members of The Swingin' Utters, NOFX, Foo Fighters and Lagwagon don their finest attire, drink a little too much and crank out skate-punk covers of just about everything. It's fun and silly and doesn't have much replay value, but it's always weirdly charming to hear members of such closely followed bands just fucking around.

This time it's a little different in that Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah is live, recorded at (you guessed it) little Jonny's passage into manhood. The live setting actually works in the record's favour, as the Gimme Gimmes' shtick is much more amusing on the fly with the banter and screw ups that can only come from a group of grown men in powder blue suits as they take the piss out of the classics. Nowhere is this more evident than in the sloppy, bungled opening of "Stairway To Heaven" or the point when they botch "Strawberry Fields Forever" and have to start over.

This is a weird set however, even for the Gimme Gimmes. There's no theme or central era of music in their sights for this run, which is quite evident as we jump from Zeppelin to Styx to "O Sole Mio" to Willie Nelson to "Auld Lang Syne." The general weirdness of the premise isn't lost on the band, as Spike, between REO Speedwagon, a rim shot joke, and the Carpenters, comments "I think I speak for everyone when I say that this is one of the most awkward moments of my career."

The Gimmes are at their best during their renditions of Billy Joel and Blondie. "The Longest Time" and "Heart Of Glass" translate seamlessly into fun little pop-punk songs, particularly the latter. A Deb Harry tune and "Hava Nagila" on one disc: All you ever needed. Speaking of the traditional Hebrew tune, it features a few choice placements of the main riff from The Offspring's "Come Out And Play." Seriously. It's hilarious because it's absurd. Indeed, so is the following "Christmas Arrangement" of "Hava Nagila" to the tune of "Feliz Navidad."

This is funnier than I usually find the Gimme Gimmes on record, mainly because there's situation involved and that context makes it all the more amusing. Eric Cartman may still hold the award for definitive performance of "Come Sail Away," but that's honestly a hard act to follow.

So mazel tov Jonny, I doubt you'll forget this any time soon.