Volume 94, Issue 49
Friday, November 24, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
No rest for Less Than Jake
Gazette File Photo
By Melinda Dalton
Less Than Jake has had a hectic year.
They've travelled across the world, released a new album, changed record companies and welcomed a new member. But, in true Less Than Jake fashion, they've had the time of their lives doing it.
The six-piece ska-punk band from Gainesville, Florida has come a long way since their 1993 formation. In the last four months alone, they've played in the US, Canada, Japan and several European countries.
The nonstop touring continues, but this time Less Than Jake are not the headliners. "We're on tour with Bon Jovi and then we do our own shows on the days off. It's a lot of fun," explains J.R., the newest member of the band. The obvious question is, how did a ska-punk band get on the Bon Jovi bill? J.R. has many versions of this story.
"[Less Than Jake, trombone player] Pete's parents used to vacation on the Jersey shoreline. Bon Jovi used to vacation right next to Pete and his family Jon is actually like Pete's older brother," J.R. claims. But in reality, Less Than Jake was offered the opening act spot because they share a booking agent with the veteran rockers.
With a tour like this, challenges are inevitable. The boys of Less Than Jake learned that the variance in musical styles between two bands can cause a mixed audience reaction. "Obviously, they're there to see Bon Jovi and when we come on a lot of people are confused. It's like, 'How did these rednecks get on tour with Bon Jovi?' By the end of the set, between 30 and 40 per cent are actually enjoying what is going on and the other hate us. But nobody boos or throws anything, so it's cool."
Less Than Jake is as familiar with releasing albums as they are with touring. Currently, they have more than 130 releases. They added another one to the count in October with their new album, Boarders and Boundaries, their first release on Fat Wreck Chords.
The label change from Capitol Records to Fat Wreck Chords occurred for several reasons. "When [we] first signed to Capitol there were a lot of people who were backing us," says J.R., who goes on to recount the change five years later. "We actually recorded Boarders and Boundaries to be released by Capitol. Then they told us 'Maybe you want to leave because we're not really sure how to work with you guys.'"
But Less Than Jake is happy with the freedom that comes with being signed to an indie label. "You don't have to call five different people before you do anything," says J.R. "We just have to get on the phone [with] the owner of Fat Wreck Chords and be like 'Hey man, what do you think?'"
Less Than Jake has no plans to slow down anytime soon. "We're going to start writing a new record as soon as we can. Then, in the middle of February, we're supposed to be doing a 16-date US tour," reveals J.R. "Hopefully, it's going to be a really good package of bands so the kids will come out and have a good time."
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