In our ongoing series titled SKAROUND the World, in this edition we feature a band from Gainesville, Florida called Less Than Jake.
Back in ’96, I was in high school and my buddy Dave, (a.k.a. Little Davie), introduced me to Less Than Jake. I listened to their 1995 debut album, “Pezcore,” followed by “Losing Streak” (which is still my personal favorite of the LTJ albums). To be honest, they were a little different than what I had heard in ska.
Back in the day I mostly grew up on 2 Tone bands such as Madness, The Specials, English Beat, Bad Manners, The Selecter… you know, the Legends!
I was also getting into other 3rd wave bands such as Reel Big Fish and Buck-O-Nine.
LTJ was a little heavier than the others. Their sonic vision included a fusion of metal, punk mixed with ska. Not quite skacore, but enough to stand out as being a little different, and this was a good kind of different. It was so different that it led me to the Grandfathers of skacore, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, that’s another band I love… but that’s another story for another day.
PAVING THE WAY
“When you’re a pioneer, you have to be willing and ready to take a few arrows.”
“Losing Streak” and “Hello Rockview” were released by Capital Records, and garnered bigger crowds and national exposure for the band while still keeping the ska, punk, metal sound they’ve always had. Their follow up album, “Borders & Boundaries,” was released in 2000 on Fat Wreck Records and remains one of my favorites.
As time went on, they started to receive critical acclaim, it’s a distinction that’s always been well earned. Their 2003 release, “Anthem,” became their most commercially successful album, courtesy of the stellar singles, “She’s Gonna Break Soon” and “The Science Of Selling Yourself Short.”
In 2008, the band founded their own label – Sleep It Off Records – where they dropped their seventh album “GNV FLA.”
The band has stated they’d rather release EPs, so they independently delivered “Greetings From Less Than Jake” followed up by its counterpart album “Seasons Greetings From Less Than Jake.”
In addition to their eight studio albums, EPs, and compilations, they also gave us “Greased.” This was a very-very cool project.
“Greased” was nothing but covers from the John Travolta / Olivia Newton-John monster motion picture. It’s absolutely awesome, go find that gem if you haven’t.
LTJ has done it all, especially on the road. They’ve taken part on all the larger than life tours like The Vans Warped Tour and Punk Rock Bowling.
This band is so entertaining, I’ve even seen them on The Flogging Molly Cruise and when they toured with Reel Big Fish and Authority Zero.
The band has been a huge influence to me, I consider them still as one of the most energetic and exciting live shows on the planet. Even though I’m 40 now, I still get excited whenever they have a show I can take in.
Less Than Jake has put a smile on the faces of all their fans. It was recently announced that they will release a new album, December 11th titled “Silver Linings.”
This will be the band’s first venture with new drummer Matt Yonker following the departure of Vinnie Fiorello.
I can’t wait to hear the new stuff. Of course, when this pandemic is over and we are able to actually watch live music again, make sure you get your ass out to see this band. They are simply amazing and it’s always a killer time.
Go out and dance like crazy when we’re able to and make sure to grab the album December 11th!