Legenda amerického ska-punku Less Than Jake vystoupí 18. srpna v Praze.
Less Than Jake - legenda amerického ska-punku. Syrová energie punku, brysknost dechové sekce a hybnost stylu ska už zlákala nejednoho muzikanta. Z řady všech kapel ovšem ční američtí Less Than Jake. Ti určitě nejsou neznámí skejťákům nebo jugglerům, ale ani ostatním by tento kvintet z Gainesville neměl uniknout.
Less Than Jake je kapelou, která vznikla v Gainsville v USA někdy na přelomu 80. a 90. let. Jádrem kapely vždy byl bubeník Vinnie Fiorello a zpěvák a kytarista Chris Demakes. Začátky kapely sahají někam ke středoškolským studiím těchto dvou. V této době napsali píseň „Hey Herbe!“, věnovanou Vinnieho sousedovi Herbovi a jak poznamenávají, byli schopni ji hrát celé hodiny, dokud na ně nezavolal policii, nebo si nešli zapálit. Chris odešel poté studovat vysokou školu a Vinnie, po neúspěšném zkoušení s bandou stavebních dělníků a jedním pankáčem, zvolil přestěhování se za ním. V této době dávají dohromady své první skutečné písně a taky kapelu, která by měla za něco stát. Přes známosti více než pochybné se u nich na zkoušce jednoho dne objevil basista Rog Manganelli, který je také brilantním kytaristou a při hraní je to rozhodně poznat, protože technicky zvládá zběsilé basové linky tak, že by mu to mohl závidět nejeden “španělkář“.
Less Than Jake se přesto všechno necítí dostatečně kompletní. Chtějí tvrdou muziku okořenit dechovou sekcí. A tak brzy z jedné lokální ska kapely vytahují trumpetistku jménem „J“ (Jessica Mills). Kapela je víceméně pohromadě a může se nahrávat. Debutové album Less Than Jake se jmenuje 7" a podle slov členů kapely se jedná skutečně o vymodlené dítě, které vzniklo svépomocí a s největší láskou tvůrců. I když původně jen na kazetách. Less Than Jake se pomalu začínají prosazovat jakožto vynikající koncertní skupina. A jednoho dne se na jejich zkoušce zjeví chlapík s trombónem, na jehož jméno si nikdo nemůže vzpomenout. Posléze si vzpomenou, že na jednom koncertě je tento „Buddy“, jak mu začnou říkat, oslovil, jestli by si s nimi nemohl zahrát, že prý na střední hrával na trombón. Vinnie svůj souhlas připisuje divnému pivu v tom klubu. Nicméně kapela má druhého dechaře. A před sebou první turné po Spojených státech. Těsně před ním ale Buddy mizí na čas do Francie a protože pro LTJ je typické, že přebírají hráče z čerstvě rozpadlých kapel, na turné s nimi odjíždí baryton saxofonista „D“.
Buddy se po turné vrací a kapela se pouští do prvního CD „Pezcore“, které má slušný ohlas, protože Less Than Jake jsou v této době už poměrně populární nezávislá kapela. Následuje album „Loosing Streak“, při jehož nahrávání si trumpetistka „J“ uvědomí, že pro ní bude lepší být středoškolskou učitelkou a z kapely odchází. Opět následuje přebrání trumpetisty Petea z jedné rozpadnuvší se kapely. No a o něco později se přidává tenorsaxofonista JR (Peter "JR" Wasilewski). Jenže to už je Pete pryč a v tomto složení hrají Less Than Jake zhruba dva roky až dodnes.
Co jsou Less Than Jake vlastně zač...
Na první poslech se projeví dravost punku. Less Than Jake se s ničím nepářou a většina písní je ďábelsky rychlá, s pořádně našláplou rytmikou. Skupina nezapře, že začínala bez dechů (ne „bez dechu“ - pozor! Neplést!) a držela a drží se punkové a neopunkové vlny. A co se toho trombónu a saxofonu týče, je to rozhodně plus. Less Than Jake mají totiž jeden obrovský problém – pokud hrají dechy a kytarista své zkreslení drží na uzdě, můžeme si parádně užít svižnou hudbu, která pobaví textem a rozpohybuje naše ztuhlé tělo. Ovšem jak se jde do zkreslení, Less Than Jake nám začínají ujíždět někam do neopunkového mainstreamu, který zde razí The Offspring, Green Day nebo Blink 182. A to je škoda, protože Less Than Jake se tam ani nehodí a ani jim tato pozice moc nesedí. Nicméně oni sami se prezentují jako nezávislá kapela, černý hřebec ve stáji velké gramofirmy.
Ale nechme stranou škatulky, komerci v hudbě a další podobné záležitosti, pro které se na muziku často zapomíná. Obraťme svou pozornost na texty. Co zaujme jako první, je jejich zvláštní způsob odpočítávání začátku skladby. „One, two, one, two, fuck you!" A v podobném duchu se nese i zbytek. Less Than Jake zpívají o obyčejných věcech, které komentují svým neopakovatelným způsobem rozjívených vagabundů, o holkách, které komentují snad ještě divočeji, o pitomcích, které potkáváme denně. Zpívají o alkoholu a následcích jeho působení na lidský organismus, o krušném životu muzikanta (no fakt…ale věřte jim!). A ačkoliv se to může zdát banální, když je slyšíte, napadne vás, že se vlastně můžete na všechno vykašlat a pořádně pařit. Aspoň chvilku.
Less Than Jake mají v Čechách čím dál více fanoušků a tenhle hudební styl je čím dál více populární. Však počkejte, oni nám ještě ukážou! (s přispěním materiálů na www.musiczone.cz)
LESS THAN JAKE
Less Than Jake is an American ska punk band from Gainesville, Florida. Originally formed in 1992 as a power pop trio, the band evolved into a hybrid of third-wave ska and punk pop, with added elements of modern rock and even metal. To date, the group has released seven original full-length albums and a number of singles and compilations. The current lineup comprises guitarist/vocalist Chris Demakes, bassist/vocalist Roger Manganelli, drummer/lyricist Vinnie Fiorello, trombonist Buddy Schaub, and saxophonist JR.
Before Less Than Jake, Vocalist and guitarist Chris Demakes and drummer Vinnie Fiorello led a local band named Good Grief with bassist Shaun Grief while attending high school in Port Charlotte, Florida. Good Grief broke up when Chris moved north to attend the University of Florida at Gainesville, Florida. On July 13th, 1992, what would become Less Than Jake was born. While Shaun moved to New York City (he would later return as the band's roadie), Chris and Vinnie started writing songs on the weekends before Vinnie joined Chris at the University of Florida. When Vinnie arrived, the two decided they needed a bass player. But first, they wanted a name. Says Fiorello,
"We decided before we tried to get a bass player we'd zero in on a name for the "band" - to either (A) - make it seem like we had our shit together or (B) - make ourselves feel better. I think it was (B) or maybe it was just so I could write it over and over again on notebook paper during my anthropology class."
They decided to name the band after the dog Vinnie's family had owned while growing up in New Jersey. An 80lbs. pit bull, the pet was treated far more generously by his parents than, indeed, Vinnie himself was. With its own spot on the couch and takeout food ordered specifically to feed it, most everything else in the house was dubbed as being "less than Jake." Jake is also a term often used to describe something as good. After practicting with a different bass player for a couple of weeks, the band met Roger Manganelli, a guitarist who also attended the University of Florida. After Roger practiced with the band on guitar for a few hours, the band kicked the bass player out they'd been practicing for a couple of weeks and asked Roger to play the bass with them. Citing influence from Snuff, the band decided they wanted to add a horn section. In 1993, the group added their first horn player, Jessica Mills, and releasd their first 7" record, Smoke Spot, hand pressing all 300 records themselves. Soon after, trombone player Buddy Schaub joined the band. Over the first few years, the band put out their first EP, Better Class Of Losers, made compilation appearances, and released several vinyl records (some of which would later appear on Losers, Kings, and Things We Don't Understand compilation, before Mike Park agreed to release the band's debut album on Dill Records. Right before the band's first U.S. tour in June 1995 with Skankin' Pickle, Schaub had already made plans to travel to Europe with his friends. The band found a temporary replacement in saxophonist Derron Nuhfer, who filled in for Schaub during his absence. After speculation that Derron would (and then wouldn't) join the band, Derron became a permanent member in August 1995.
Less Than Jake's first full length LP Pezcore debuted in August 1995, featuring such staples as Liquor Store and My Very Own Flag. Originally on Dill Records, the CD contained 21-tracks, including two covers of TV theme songs Jeffersons and Laverne and Shirley (which were omitted on the 2002 reissue through Fueled By Ramen Records). The title of the album stemmed from Roger and Vinnie's unexplained fondness for PEZ candy, clearly apparent in their reportedly sizable Pez dispenser collections. The name is partly a homage to their obsession and partly a parody of the way in which many bands are described as [something]-core. Ever since, Pez dispenser motifs have been a common feature of Less Than Jake's merchandise.
Shortly following the release of Pezcore, the band was signed to Capitol Records. They debuted on the major label in 1996 with Losing Streak. The album was full of the band's wry, fast-paced brand of ska-punk anthems, producing such fan favorites as "Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts," "Jen Doesn't Like Me Anymore," and "Automatic". Following the 1997 Warped Tour, saxophonist Jessica Mills left to pursue teaching, and was later replaced by ex-Slapstick trombonist Pete Anna in January 1998 (trombonist Lars Nylander served as a fill-in during the fall of 1997). Around this time, Vinnie Fiorello also started his own record label, Fueled by Ramen, with friend John Janick, as a means to find and promote up-and-coming bands that he himself would want to hear. During 1997, the band embarked on the Caffeine Nation Tour with the Descendents, Guttermouth, and Handsome, the Race Around Uranus Tour with Blink-182 and Frenzal Rhomb, and the Warped Tour.
In 1998, after participating in the Ska Against Racism Tour with such ska acts as The Toasters and Mustard Plug, and the Warped Tour, the band releaseHello Rockview. and included such staple songs as "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads" and "Help Save the Youth of America from Exploding". The band even spawned a minor college radio hit with "History of a Boring Town." Following the album, tensions started to grow with Capitol. There were disagreements over various issues, including doing a video for "History of a Boring Town" and the bandselling two CDs, Bootleg a Bootleg, You Cut Out The Middle Man and Goodbye Blue and White, through mailorder only. After recording what would be Borders & Boundaries, the band opted to buyout their contract from Capitol and release the new album on Fat Wreck Chords.
In September 2000, the band released Borders & Boundaries, as well as landing the opening spot on Bon Jovi's North American Fall tour. While neither as commercially successful or musically appreciated as previous releases, the album was a display of significant growth for the band, showcasing much more mature music than the band had ever shown before. Still, the album provided fans with two instant hits in "Look What Happened" (which recevied minor airplay on college stations) and their hometown anthem, "Gainesville Rock City (which recevied some airtime on MTV2)." Shortly after the album's recording, Derron Nuhfer left the band (going on to join Gunmoll and later Escape Grace; he currently plays bass for Cutman, a Gainesville-based rock band featuring ex members of Escape Grace and Unitas), and Less Than Jake found a replacement in the ashes of another ska band, this time ex-Spring Heeled Jack U.S.A. saxophonist, Pete Wasilewski. To avoid the confusion provided by having two Peters within the band, the second Pete Wasilewski was dubbed JR (as in 'Peter Junior'). He still goes by JR even following the departure of the first Pete after the 2001 Warped Tour.
In 2002, Less Than Jake spent time touring with Bad Religion and Hot Water Music while spending most of the summer touring in Europe. Less Than Jake rereleased their compilation album, Goodbye Blue and White, which included various 7" releases spanning from 1996-2001, and provided a different tracklisting from the first pressing. The album was named in honor of their original tour van, with the liner notes having the band recounting memories of the van. To celebrate the band's 10th year anniversary, Pezcore was rerelased and the band's first four 7", Smoke Spot, Pez Kings, Unglued, and Rock-n-Roll Pizzeria, were repressed and included in a limited edition Cereal Box (which also featured a t-shirt, bobblehead, and pin).
Less Than Jake returned to major label status with their next album Anthem, releasing the 2003 LP on Warner Bros./Sire Records. It featured hit singles in both the US and the UK, with "She's Gonna Break Soon" (which spent a couple weeks on TRL), "The Science Of Selling Yourself Short" (#37 Hot 100), and "The Brightest Bulb Has Burned Out" featuring Billy Bragg (UK Top 40). Actress Alexis Bledel, known for her role as Rory Gilmore on Gilmore Girls appeared in the video for She's Gonna Break Soon, where she played the unnamed subject of the song, an angst teen girl who has a nervous breakdown, and destroys her bedroom over the course the song. After spending time touring on the Warped Tour and gaining support from Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard, and Bang Tango, the band released B Is for B-sides in July 2004. The album comprised tracks that didn't make Anthem's final cut. The DVD retrospective The People's History of Less Than Jake appeared a month later, featuring both professional and bootleg recordings of the band. The band also held the opening spot on the main stage during the Projekt Revolution tour in the summer of 2004 with Linkin Park, Snoop Dogg, and The Used before taking a long break to write their next record.
After spending the majoirty of 2005 writing and recording, the band opened 2006 with a bang, going on a full U.S. and Europe tour with Catch 22, A Wilhelm Scream, The Loved Ones, The New Mexican Disaster Squad, Rock-n-Roll Soldiers, Damone, Dropkick Murphys, and Far From Finished. In April 2006, the band released its four-song Absolution for Idiots and Addicts (EP), with their next full-length, In with the Out Crowd, following a month later on Sire Records. The album was also issued in a limited edition that came in a leather-bound case complete with bonus multimedia discs that contained a plethora of music videos, bonus tracks and an elaborate photo gallery.
In February 2007, Less Than Jake played six shows in Florida that each featured the band playing one of their albums in its entirety, plus b-sides and rarities. They played at three venues with each venue featuring two shows to be recorded for a possible DVD release. The records performed were Borders and Boundaries, Pezcore, Losing Streak, Anthem, Hello Rockview, and In with the Out Crowd. They then did the same in London, United Kingdom, in September 2007, playing at the Mean Fiddler for 6 nights in a row.
On 21 May 2007, after much speculation, Vinnie Fiorello announced on his blog that the band had asked and granted their release from their contract with Sire Records and Warner Brothers. Following this split, the band released five high quality (MP3, 320kbit/s), DRM-free, unedited recordings of their live shows, taken directly from the mixing console at each show. These recordings are being released for sale on the band's website via Snocap. During 6 Albums / 6 Shows / 6 Nights in London, Chris stated that Less Than Jake's new record label was Cooking Vinyl in the UK and Europe.
In the summer 2007, Less Than Jake embarked on a North American tour co-headlining with Reel Big Fish, featuring support from Streetlight Manifesto and Against All Authority. During the shows, the band held a spoof of The Price is Right, quizing the contestants, having them play a few games from the shows, and giving prizes to the winners. The band reunited with Reel Big Fish and Streetlight Manifesto for a Japan and Australia in December 2007.
On January 8, 2008, after speculation that the next Less Than Jake record could be released on Fat Wreck Chords or Victory Records, CMJ reported that the band was starting their own label, named Sleep It Off Records, the name taken from the title of a song from the B is for B-sides record. The purpose of the new label is to release the band's forthcoming album in summer 2008 and to reissue their back catalog. Reissues of Goodbye Blue And White, Pezcore, Losers, Kings And Things We Don't Understand, and the DVD Peoples History Of Less Than Jake were released on March 18th. The reissues include new artworks and bonus DVDs.
Upon talking about their new album, Vinnie mentioned his desire to "combine third wave ska and pop punk in each song," hinting at a possible return to the band's older sound. He also had the following to say:
“ When you are in a pop punk band in your 16th year, sometimes you don't fit in the modern music industry. You need to be a shiny new penny. We didn't feel like the rest of our years as a band should fit in that narrow parameter. ... All I do know is that we're writing songs now and they seem to have the spirit of a tempo in mind, all very speedy but once we hit the record button they may be slower. ”
In a March 2008 press release pertaining to Vinnie's new record label Paper + Plastick, Vinnie stated that the band was currently in Chicago recording their new album, slated for a June 24, 2008 release date.
On 20 April Vinnie announced via his blog that the new album, recorded at Atlas Studios in Chicago, is totally finished. On April 23 Vinnie revealed the title of the album would be GNV FLA (an abbreviation of the band's hometown of Gainesville, Florida). Even though the band has played shows since the album's recording, Less Than Jake has not played any of the new songs after deciding to hold off until this summer when they will be playing on the Shout It Out Loud Two tour. Less Than Jake is currently locked in with Goldfinger, Big D and the Kids Table, Mustard Plug, Suburban Legends, and Westbound Train on various dates. Also, the band will head back over to Europe in August to play some festivals and has booked a couple west coast dates with Rancid for September.
Vinnie and his friend John Janick started up the independent record label Fueled by Ramen, which Vinnie has recently left. On May 13, 2008, Vinnie will launch his new indie label, called Paper + Plastick. In the press release, Vinnie stated the inspiration for the name; "If you think about it, prints and books are the paper side, while vinyl records and toys are the plastic side. It’s a simple and to-the-point concept." The label is currently slated to release new albums; a concept album from Andrew Dost, The Landmines debut album, and the final release from The Explosion.
Vinnie also owns a toy company called Wünderland War, originally called Monkey VS Robot. The name was changed due to legal issues. Vinnie has also started a second toy company with a friend called Symptoms. Many of these toys have featured in art books and shows.
Roger has a side-project called Rehasher, who have recorded an album Off Key Melodies on Gainesville based record label No Idea Records. He plays guitar (not bass) for Rehasher, and is also their lead singer. JR was featured playing saxophone in the last track from the album.
JR composes his own solo music on top of working with a promoting company called the CT Mafia. He contributed one track to the Drive-Thru Records tribute to Bob Dylan, under the name "The Stay at Home Joneses" which also featured secondary vocals by Roger.
In 1996, Vinnie, Chris, and Roger served as backup musicians for Asian Man Records owner Mike Park in The Bruce Lee Band (former sax player Derron also provided horns on some of the tracks).
Buddy is involved in a side band called PB&J; in which he provides the bass, vocals and occasional trombone, as well as the bands Black Ice that he plays all instruments for and another band called Coffee Project.
Chris has been recording his own solo music while not working with Less Than Jake.
Former bassist Shaun Grief joined hardcore punk band Victim Youth out of Fort Myers, FL in 2007. The band's first album is expected sometime in 2008.
Personnel Current members
Chris Demakes - guitar, lead vocals
Roger Manganelli - bass, lead vocals, second guitar (occasionally live and while recording)
Vinnie Fiorello - drums, lyrics
Buddy "Goldfinger" Schaub - trombone (plays bass guitar when Manganelli plays second guitar at concerts)
Peter "JR" Wasilewski - saxophone, background vocals
Shaun Grief - bass
Jessica Mills - alto saxophone
Derron Nuhfer - tenor and baritone saxophones
Pete Anna - alto trombone
Lars Nylander (from Skankin' Pickle) - valve trombone
Vinny Nobile (from Pilfers) - trombone
Chris Rhodes (from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones) - trombone
Cut Chemist- turntables
Kel Mitchell - lead singer ("We're All Dudes")
Billy Bragg - lead singer ("The Brightest Bulb Has Burned Out")
Heather Tabor (from Teen Idols - backup vocals ("Look What Happened")
Talib Kweli - guest rapping (live version of "The Science of Selling Yourself Short")
Discography Studio albums
1995 Losers, Kings, and Things We Don't Understand
1996 Losing Streak
1997 Greased (Repress 2000)
1998 Hello Rockview
2000 Borders & Boundaries
2004 B is for B-sides
2006 In with the Out Crowd
2008 GNV FLA Sleep It Off (US)
1999 "History of a Boring Town"
2000 "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads"
2001 "Gainesville Rock City"
2003 "She's Gonna Break Soon"
2003 "The Science Of Selling Yourself Short"
2006 "Overrated (Everything Is) / A Still Life Franchise" (double A-side)
2006 "The Rest of My Life / Don't Fall Asleep On The Subway (double A-Side)
2006 "P. S. Shock The World"