Still Kicking After 20 Years


Warped In Reverse - Episode #11

Interview by Cosmic-A (Monica Demattei) | Transcription by Tyler Peckham

Original photography by Jodie Cunningham

Less Than Jake has been on the scene since the early 90’s, making them one of the most withstanding bands in the Ska and Punk genres. The Florida-raised band has grown from teenagers to adults and as they mature, so does their music. The band has continued to put out hits within their two decades of popularity, including their new EP, Sound the Alarm. Less Than Jake is comprised of Chris DeMakes on guitar and vocals, Roger Lima on vocals and bass, Vinnie Fiorello on drums and lyrics, Buddy Schaub on trombone, and Peter “JR” Wasilewski on saxophone.

This is Monica with Tour Press Force and I’m here with:

I’m JR and I play in Less Than Jake.

“JR” Wasilewski – Pomona Warped Tour 2016

So you guys have been on the scene for at least 20 years, tell me a little bit about how it has changed?

The only real change is the advent of IPhones, because years ago people didn’t spend time capturing the moment, they lived it. Now it seems like everyone wants to SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Friendster. They all want that so that’s the difference.

So are you seeing less interaction between you and your fans?

No, the interaction is about the same, but you just see a lot of phones. People experiencing it through a 3 by 5 screen, you didn’t used to see that. If you look at other countries, they don’t do that, it’s very much an American phenomenon.

How many times have you been out at Warped Tour?

Infinity this year, plus one.

Are the fans any different?

Not really, it’s just the new youth generation. Kids are weird like kids were weird when we were kids. I think out here people just are cool with being themselves, they don’t really feel the need to feel bad trying to express their true identity. It’s very accepting out here, very forgiving. I think that’s why Warped Tour has lasted as long as it’s lasted.

YouTube | Bomb Drop — Less Than Jake (Official Music Video)

What have you hoped to accomplish in your music? Avoiding real work. I’ve really avoided a real job for 25 years and I’d like to keep avoiding it for at least another 10. I don’t know if I’ll ever really retire, but working is definitely not in the plans.

How often do you have to be on tour to sustain?

We’re on tour about six months a year, but it depends on the year.

You say you don’t have to work, but tell it like it is for up and coming artists, the effort that has to go in to make it happen.

It’s tough. I think that a lot of people in bands are afraid to fail, so they take failures as setbacks instead of just learning from their mistakes. Maybe they don’t give it enough time or maybe they concentrate too much on their look over their music or they don’t think enough about their merch. There is a lot of different factors, each band is different so I think the only advice I can give to a band that is young is don’t be afraid to fail, because that's the only failure if you keep doing it. And invest in yourself, because the people I know that are the most successful are the ones that took a chance on themselves. And you’ve gotta give it time, have a little patience. I think that’s hard when you’re young, in you’re late teens early 20s.

What’s a reasonable time period as far as getting started and recognized?

Like I said, each band is different. It’s up to you. How much do you believe in yourself? How much do you want it? Who do you surround yourself with? I don’t have an answer for that question. That’s up to the individual to answer that, not me.

Is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans?

Thank you. If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have been able to not have a real job for the last 25 years, so thank you.

After Vans Warped Tour, the band put out their seven song EP Sound the Alarm!, their first release with Pure Noise Records, which is now available for sale in both digital and vinyl.

The band is also currently on tour with Pepper through late May, with a Chandler, AZ date this week on March 18 - Pot of Gold Music Festival. Check Less Than Jake's upcoming tour dates.

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