I was first introduced to Against Me! by my roommate and best friend Jen Wa the Destroyer. When we lived in the Grover Beach Crack House, Against Me! was a constant companion. Every situation in our life had an Against Me! song that went with it. It got us through some crazy shit. The poetry of Against Me! probably saved both of us from some crazies or whatever. One summer we went to Warped Tour together just to see this band and it was the best time. Because of my punk show at the time we got to go back and interview the band and it was awesome times. Fat Wreckchords hooked us up and we had a fabulous time interviewing not only the Against Me! dudes who had made us feel so sane, saying the shit we felt like, but other bands we loved and Jen and I probably got into some trouble.
A few years later Jen was in Boston and right before I flew out to see her I saw Against Me! was going to be playing in SLO when I got home. I was sad for a minute because I wanted to see them with her again but damnit if it didn’t make landing back in California without my best friend a lot easier knowing I was going to be seeing a band that understood me, I never knew why I felt like they understood me, but goddamnit they did.
It was a glorious show. The most fun I’d had in forever. Against Me! always did this to me. I just forgot everything because their music mirrored my thoughts. It kept me sane. Kept me breathing. Kept me just going “you know what fucking life, I know that somewhere in this world even though I’m too old to feel this way, there is someone out there that understands.”
The album “New Wave,” came out and people were disappointed but I wasn’t. I liked many of the songs and repeatedly told people like when AFI’s big record came out, look they made the album they wanted to make, finally someone was going to pay for it. Someone would foot the bill for these guys to do what they wanted.
I moved to Chico right around the time “White Crosses” came out and missed another chance to see them in SLO. Tristan was nice enough to send me this:
It hangs in my bedroom now. It probably will hang in every house I have for a long time because this band saved me or at least my sanity at times when my friends and I could make ZERO sense of anything in our stupid white privileged 20 something lives.
So why the love letter?
Tom Gabel, the singer of Against Me! who is a lovely fucking human being who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and hanging out with and just is an idealist and a poet and damnit, a really brave HUMAN BEING made the announcement today that he’s been living with gender dysphoria and has decided to become a woman.
I have to be honest, as open minded as I am, I was confused for a minute. I guess I always thought of Tom as the “guy” that understood me. And my friends of all genders. He’s got a great almost Tom Waits meets modern punk voice but he was always saying things I was thinking.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that.. damn… That must have been a bitch to have to or want to hide. It must have been hard but it definitely at least in my opinion made their music better. Against Me! never seemed like it wasn’t accessible to me. It never seemed like they were unaccessible to anyone.
What I know I’m trying to say is I support Tom/Laura and his/her wife in their journey. Some people are going to be complete and total assholes to them. You know what, what the Gable family is going through is brave and completely honest, which is something alot of us can’t say for ourselves. I know there is gonna be some kind of back lash but all I have for all of them is LOVE and acceptance. It’s all Against Me! has ever expressed to me through their lyrics and their willingness to take care of me and my friends either through radio or just being at a show. I’d love to see this band continue to be honest and just be as raw and amazing as always. I don’t think which bathroom you take a piss in decides how hard or why you rock my friends. You have my support no matter what and I love you and applaud your bravery.
Now back to me being a selfish bitch, here are my FAVORITE Against Me! songs of all time.
Tom/Laura… whatever/whoever you want to be, just know that you’re loved. I support you and your family and I hope all of your fans and friends continue to do so too.
Good luck little voice in my head.