Between 2011 and 2012 Less Than Jake – Chris DeMakes (lead vocals, guitar), Roger Manganelli (vocals, bass), Vinnie Fiorello (drums), Buddy Schaub (trombone) and Peter “JR” Wasilweski (saxophone) – a ska punk band from Gainesville, Florida, released two EPs. The two digitally downloadable albums were named Greetings From Less Than Jake and Seasons Greetings From Less Than Jake, respectively. Both EPs were released only on the band’s website.
In October of 2012, Less Than Jake released a compilation album called Greetings & Salutations as an LP. Greetings & Salutations combined the two EPs with the addition of two brand new songs, “Flag Holders Union” and “View from the Middle.”
“We didn’t release them to the general public,” said Chris DeMakes when I asked him what led to the decision to make a compilation album out of the two EPs. “We got with Mike from Fat Wreck Chords, and Mike was super stoked at putting the two out as one thing. We went ahead and did it, and now it’s available to the public.”
In a world where the majority of things are done digitally, it would seem like a brilliant idea to make music downloadable only. Then why are bands releasing physical copies of their music when they can do it all online at a much cheaper price?
“In a lot of ways it’s great and in a lot of ways it’s cool, but for me, it has no value to it anymore.” Said DeMakes.
Physical copies must gain exposure, however, and in the case of an album that’s compiled of songs that have been out for over a year, it’s tricky to promote that material.
Less Than Jake has no plans to promote the album. Instead, Greetings & Salutations will be a sort of holdover album until the release of their next full-length studio album, comprised of all new material.
“We’re going to be out touring this year. We have a bunch of tour dates lined up for the next couple months.” DeMakes said. “It won’t be a full promotion of a brand new record, though.”
Two tracks that are essential for old and new Less Than Jake fans are “Goodbye, Mr. Personality” and “The New Auld Lang Syne.” The two pieces flow with the smoothness that makes ska so recognizable and hit hard like we all expect a good punk band to do.
As we enter 2013, Less Than Jake are celebrating 20 years together as a band. In that time they’ve released seven studio albums and many live albums, compilations, and EPs.
The band shows no signs of wear and tear or slowing down any time in the near future.
“A lot of bands take time off and try other things,” said Demakes. “We’ve never taken a year off. We put new products out every year. We play shows every year. It’s just been what we do. We don’t think of it in terms of an age thing. “
Trying to not boast about their live performances, Chris had this to say about what a fan can expect at a Less Than Jake Concert:
“If you’re standing in a field watching us play at [Vans] Warped Tour, and you’re behind the soundboard and you can’t see us, you would have no idea that we were our age. We still have loads of energy, and I really think the band sounds better now than we ever have.”
Currently, Less Than Jake are recording a new studio album and at the same time balancing running their own label and releasing material with various side projects. All members of Less Than Jake are involved in producing and recording with other bands and some even have their own business ventures that keep them tied up when Less Than Jake are not touring.
“Right now we’re recording a tribute album. We’re recording four to six days a week. We have a bunch of shows coming up sporadically in the next couple of months.”
Less Than Jake are finishing up touring in the United States in March before they head out of the states to do a few overseas shows. In the meantime, all of us Less Than Jake fans who won’t be able to make it to a show will be anxiously awaiting the release of a brand new album with brand new songs.
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