Volume 92, Issue 30

Wednesday, October 28, 1998

hot air


Jake believes less is more

By Myles DeRosse
Gazette Staff

"Jake is a gangster term from the '30s," informs Less Than Jake trombonist, Buddy, during a wonderful history lesson. "If 'everything is Jake,' then it's cool or up to par. But if it's 'less than Jake,' well... that would be us."

Modesty is not a trait needed by one of the original third wave ska-punk bands. Less Than Jake's music is enjoyable to anyone looking to have some fun. "Our music is energetic and melodious with a little bit of aggravated silliness going on," Buddy says.

Less Than Jake's success is not surprising, considering the crazy, energetic live show they are known for putting on, which includes some ridiculous costumes. "Anything from a naked Daniel Boon to a clown juggling flames," Buddy says.

Other than using theatrical devices to attract the crowds to the live show, Less Than Jake also has a policy of keeping merchandise and ticket prices affordable enough so practically any fan will be able to go just by scraping change off the street. "We keep prices just above water, so we're not losing any money, but we're not making any either," Buddy admits.

Plus, when venturing into the great white north, Less Than Jake manages to stick with their low prices even with the state of depression the Canadian dollar is in. How do they do this one might ask? Buddy revealed this information in one blunt statement. "We get screwed by the exchange rate."

A perfect statement for a musician who is in the business for one main reason – personal enjoyment.

"I play music because I love playing music," Buddy says. "I can sit in my room and play my guitar or trombone and get the same sort of feeling I get when on stage. But at the show there are people standing in front of me singing all the lyrics and going crazy. I can tell by their faces I have transferred them my energy. Because of me, they have been moved in a positive way.

This is a goal that is turning into reality for Less Than Jake, especially with the recent growth in popularity of ska-punk music, due to the media making it the next music trend.

"I'm not all for how the media goes about making something a trend or a new craze. That's just the cycle of the way things work," Buddy acknowledges. "As soon as the media gets a hold of something and decides it's the next thing, a lot of people are going to check it out. If people like our music and keep coming back, then I'm all for it – but when the trend is all over, we will be doing the same thing."

They'll probably be getting the same fans too which is, a wide variety. "I don't care who comes to our shows," Buddy says. "I don't care if Joe frat boy, Joe punk kid, Joe country hick boy are all standing next to each other at the show. If they are all digging it, then I'm stoked."

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazette.entertainment@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998