This is Chase with Metal on Loud Magazine. How are you doing today, sir?
Doing great man.
Hey, I appreciate you taking the time to talk to us. I’ve got quite a few questions here, so if I get too lengthy, just cut me off!
So how are things going in the world of Less Than Jake?
Awesome man. We’re on a five-week tour and things are great. We’re in Minneapolis, Minnesota today.
Very good. Well I just have to say, you guys are actually my favorite band of all time. I mean that sincerely. I work for a metal magazine and I’m quite a metalhead, but your music has gotten me through middle school, high school, college, and now is still with me in my professional life, so I appreciate all the music you guys have put out over the years.
Oh that’s very cool. Awesome.
So, I guess to start, how does it feel to be a band that’s been around and successful for 25 years?
Well, I’m starting to get arthritic. (Laughs) You know, it’s awesome man. I don’t think anybody in our band would’ve thought we would have lasted a quarter century but here we are man. It’s pretty cool.
Yeah, that’s awesome. Can you give us some highlights? Some of the most memorable moments of your career?
Um… you know, some of the most memorable moments are probably that first five years of the band. It was crazy, man. It was every day of our lives for five years. We didn’t really have a life outside of the band. It was pretty incredible. We, you know, got signed to Capitol Records and started getting out on bigger tours and it was big awesome memory. Too many to count.
I bet. So your new EP, “Sound the Alarm,” was just released a few days ago. Now, did you guys make the switch to Pure Noise from Fat Wreck? Is that right?
Yeah, that’s what the EP is on. Correct.
Okay. So have you guys parted ways with Fat Wreck, or are you still with them for future releases?
Well, at this point, any label that has our record, we’re still on that. We’re not contracted to anybody. This project’s on Pure Noise and things have been going awesome so far with them. And if things continue going this way, we may end up doing a full-length with them.
Alright, very good. Could you tell us more about the writing and recording behind the new EP? It’s awesome, by the way. I’ve listened to it several times through.
Yeah. We started writing songs at the top of last year. Then we inevitably went on tour for the rest of the year and the plan was to record a full-length but we were able to get seven songs. We wanted to release new music at the top of this year, but this tour that we’re on, we’re out with Pepper, and we just wanted new music out to tour behind. So that’s pretty much how it came about.
Who’s your primary songwriter? Do you and Roger get together and do that stuff? Do lyrics or music come first?
We all in one way or another write. Roger and I pick up the guitars and come up with the chords and the majority of the melodies. But, our sax player writes songs. Our drummer Vinnie writes lyrics. We’ll all add to the lyrics. We’ll add our two cents on horn parts. We’re all producing songs and writing the songs, but the main ideas are typically brought up by Roger and I and even JR these days. He writes a lot of songs. He’s our sax player.
Well very good. I was glad to hear the horn section in full form on this latest release for sure. What’s your favorite song on “Sound the Alarm?” Do you have one?
Um, you know, probably “Whatever the Weather.” I think that came out great. That was a surprise one, too. We didn’t really have too many feelings for it when we first started doing it, but man, it came out great.
Yeah. I definitely agree. As far as touring and actually performing songs, do you have any favorite songs?
Probably when we play “Sweet Home Alabama” and when people start leaving.(Laughs) That or “Free Bird.”
(Laughs) What about old songs from like “Pezcore” and “Losing Streak”? Can we expect to hear any of those at your live shows in the future?
Yeah, yeah. We pretty much play a little bit of everything from every era of the band. So, you’ll definitely hear some older songs for sure.
Good. I still like to go back and listen to your live albums that you’ve put out for each of those. I think that music still speaks to a lot of people.
For sure. We’ll play a little bit more of the obscure stuff when we headline our own tour. For the co-headline, we’ve got an hour and five minutes out here. But we get to a hour and twenty or an hour and a half, we’ll get a lot of those weirder songs in there.
Alright, very good. You know, to me, a lot of your songs, lyrically, seem to be about facing life’s difficulties with honesty and attitude and energy. Is that a fair assessment to make?
That’s kind of what I gather from your lyrics. I would say the general theme of Less Than Jake is facing life head-on. So is there anything that inspires your songwriting the most in that vein?
Musically or lyrically?
Lyrically. Is it life experiences?
Well, again, our drummer writes like 95 percent of the lyrics. So, they’re really from his perspective. So that’s why when you had given your assessment of what the lyrics meant, I’m like ‘Yeah. Sure.’ You know, what you take away from it and that’s really cool. I really can’t speak too much further on it in that sense, because you know, I don’t write the lyrics.
Gotcha. So you said that you’re currently on tour. Who are you touring with right now?
We’re out with Pepper right now and a band called Kash’d Out and a band called Red City Radio.
Okay. Are they kind of in the same style as you guys or are they a little bit different?
Um, no, we’re all a little different. Pepper and Kash’d Out are more of a reggae vibe. And Red City Radio is just kind of like Americana punk rock.
So what was it like touring with Reel Big Fish?
Oh, it’s awesome man. We’ve known those guys for, God, twenty years. And we’ve all become great friends over the years and it’s really so easy and fun to tour with them. It’s cool. That’s why we tour with them so much.
That’s awesome. And then Warped Tour, I know, was recent for you guys as well. How did that go this past year?
We ended up playing our 430th Warped Tour show this year. Or, 413. So we’ve been on the Warped Tour for a few moons.
I would say so. You guys are like a staple of Warped Tour for sure.
Yeah, but it’s cool. We go out there and get to play to people who are new fans, who have never heard Less Than Jake before – a new audience. So it’s great.
Now here’s the question: did you succeed in making it great again?
I think so.
(Laughs) Very good. I loved to see that mantra you guys adopted for Warped Tour for sure.
We had fun with it.
So, what are your future tour plans? Are you guys gonna be pairing up with any other big bands?
Um, no… any time you ever want to catch our dates, just go to LessThanJake.com and under shows you can see exactly where we’re gonna be. Right now we’re booked up pretty much through the end of May and there’s stuff getting put in after that. So, we’re gonna be busy until November of this year.
Very good. What about future plans for new music? Can we expect any full-lengths coming up in the future?
You know, I hope so. There’s definitely talk about wanting to do a full-length and again we’re gonna figure out in between all this this touring we’re still doing when we can get in there and do a record but we definitely want to do one.
Well very good. As far as the EP, do you kind of view the EP as a continuation of your last record or is it a stand-alone?
I wouldn’t say it has anything to do with the last record. These songs are written completely different.
How about the next record? Will it be related to the EP?
When you put it on, I think you’ll know it’s Less Than Jake.
Yeah. That’s something I think is so great about you guys is how distinct you are as a band. Your sound is so distinct. Like anytime I’ll get in the car with people and turn on your music, they’re like ‘Who is this?’ and I’ll say ‘Less Than Jake!’ and they’re like ‘Oh this is great.’ and when we come back to the car, they’re asking for Less Than Jake. So I think your music really speaks to people and it’s so distinct, you know.
Oh that’s awesome.
So, are you guys all still living in the Gainesville, Florida area?
Three of us are. I live in Tampa and our sax player lives in Connecticut.
Oh wow. Okay. Well I was kind of curious about how things are going in the 352. My wife and I have considered moving to the area ourselves. Could you tell us about your experiences in Gainesville?
Yeah. It’s a college town in North Florida about eighty miles south of the Georgia border. And if it wasn’t for the college, there wouldn’t be too much there. Everything kind of centers around the University of Florida. Great punk scene, lots of good arts and entertainment, sports, great food, you can still live relatively cheap… and it’s a good place.
So is that where you and Roger met? I was curious about the history of Less Than Jake.
Well, Vinnie and I, our drummer, we went to high school together.
We moved to UF to attend college and that’s where we met the rest of the band. And started writing songs, playing shows, and we bought a van and started touring and I woke up and it was 25 years later. Here I am.
Yeah, it’s amazing! Twenty five years in, you guys are going strong. Well, I sure appreciate talking to you, Chris and I appreciate your time. Is there anything else you would like to add or tell our readers?
Yeah, like I said, if you wanna know where we’re at, go to LessThanJake.com, go to section that says Shows, and that’s where we’ll be. See you on the road.
Alright, we’ll be sure to check it out! Thanks so much for talking to us today.
Thanks for your time and thanks for the kind words. I appreciate it.
This is Chase with Metal on Loud Magazine. How are you doing today, sir?