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Less Than Jake Interview

Recently I talked to Buddy of Less Than Jake while he was getting ready for the show on tour with the Suicide Machines, Pollen, and One Man Army. Here is what he had to say:

Less Than Jake Interview

Question: If you could change one thing about your life or band, what would it be?

Buddy: Its hard to say, because I just got married, I'm in a band that's doing really well, and I've got really cool pets. I don't know what I'd change; I don't know what I would give up. Well you kind of stumped me with that question. I think if I could change anything, we wouldn't be a pussy band, we would be like Iron Maiden, we would all have sex, drugs, and rock and roll all the time.... My whole life would be different, how is that? Rather than being the solid upstanding guy that I am.

Q: Which of your CD's is your favorite?

Buddy: The new one that you don't have yet, because basically if your in a band, pretty much what your working on at the time is your favorite, because its what your doing. Everything has been around for so long ... I really still like "Pezcore" because that was our last did it in three days album. I really like the way the new one has come out, I used to like "Hello Rockview" but I still have a lot of problems with how the horn sounded on that and stuff like that. I like a lot of the songs off that and "Losing Streak".

Question: Usually does recording a new album take a while or does it go pretty quick?

Buddy: That has progressively gotten longer and longer, like I said, "Pezcore" took us three days and we recorded it in someone's house. "Losing Streak" took a little bit longer, like four to five weeks, so it has jumped up quite a bit, and then for "hello Rockview" we were kind of under pressure.... we got back from the SKA Against Racism Tour and we had to go into the studio and pretty much write songs while we were in there too. It was really rushed but it still took us four or five weeks. It was pretty much May and June of 1998 and we went right on the Warped Tour right after that. This last one took entirely too long. We were supposed to take six weeks but then it ended up being eight weeks because we ran into some problems. The tape machine broke and we didn't want to get new computers. We were trying to do everything analogue and it just took so much longer to get things right. You can fix things with a computer if you want, but we wanted to get the reality of the tape.

Question: What do you like the must about being in a band?

Buddy:The drugs. No just kidding. Being able to play music every night. Vinnie and Chris, the reason they keep disappearing is that their wives are here. The hardest thing is being away from them. Being in a different place where people know the lyrics to your songs, having fun while you're playing music. That's the best thing in the world for someone who likes to play music. That is what I think is the best thing about being in a band. That I get to play music every night and I get paid for it.

Question: What is your favorite place to tour?

Buddy:I really liked Australia. We went to Japan once, but that was a crazy weird ride, it was like a five day thing that's just a big blur to me right now. It was really weird, I've never been somewhere like that where you are so much of a minority all of the sudden. The bullet trains.... I mean that was just crazy. I think Australia was really fun, all of the people were really laid-back ...It was really cool.

Question: Who is someone that you look up to?

Buddy:The people in ALL/Descendants. They have done things right since the 80's and they haven't done anything wrong yet. We based a lot of our ethics on not nessicarily ALL but we end up trying to do that same kind of stuff that they do. They have their own studio, their own tee-shirt press, they do everything themselves. They have people that work for them, but they are like a self-contained machine. They are really up on what's going on with their band all the time. They are cool people and amazing musicians. So those guys are like my idols in every respect.

Question: What is your opinion on Napster?

Buddy:Mixed. I think that it's just getting flushed out. Mp3's, Napster, and everything to do with computer music is going to be flushed out within the next five years as far as working out a way to get music out to people over the internet. Pretty soon, you can do it now; you can just scan someone else's CD. It is like when tapes came out. It used to be vinyl and the companies got all scared when they made the tape because people could tape someone else's record but you wouldn't have the artwork and other stuff. That is kind of how it is now, all of the sudden you can tape CD's. It's like, wow what's going on? Pretty soon no one is going to buy stuff and all the record companies got worried, and everybody got worried, but they are going to have a way to regulate it. Pretty soon they aren't going to be any record stores, that's who should be worried, because you burn the CD, you download the artwork, and you have the same thing as the stores. It is kind of sketchy though as a musician though because it could be really easy to get screwed over. I am supporting the idea of it, I'm supporting the technology behind being able to get music that way and it is easy access to stuff. We have actually been working with Napster on some stuff, I guess from a band stand point, we are pro Napster. We have a whole truckload of stickers for this tour that we got from them. They made stickers that you have a big "Less Than Jake" but then there is a little tiny side of it that says Napster and on the back it has Napster information on it, you know. We are actually talking with them about doing something with them in the future like with the new album. Like there will be on song that people can download off Napster and you can get a free coupon to go get the CD or something like that. You can get some of the music for free, but it inspires people to go buy the CD. It's kind of weird.

Question: What are some of the bands that you like to tour with?

Buddy:We have been on tour with the Suicide Machines a bunch of times and they are really cool to get along with. The band ALL- we did some tours with them. Snuff, we just toured with in England. They are getting old, but they were still fun to hang around with. Enemy 330 was cool. The list could go on for miles. The Impossibles were good on this tour- those guys were cool.

Question: What did you think of the dates that you did on the Warped Tour?

Buddy:It was like deja vu. We did the whole thing last year, and the two previous years we did the East and West Coast. It was kind of weird not being on it this year because we kept hearing stuff about the Warped Tour. Our friends from Hot Water Music were on it and we would get reports from them. We kept getting reports and knew it still existed but we weren't on it. Doing the four last shows was amazing. Everyone else was just dead from touring for six weeks. It's a brutal tour to be on, all day out in the sun every day. It was like being in a circus. Every day you play on this huge mammoth stage in this moving circus with all the buses. You are usually in the middle of no where so you are just at the show all day. It kind of gets grueling by the end of the tour. People that are going to the show- it's like their one time to hang out at the show so everyone is really excited and by the end of the year, everyone is like "oh god, I'm so over this." We came breezing in the last four days and we were all like "yeah". We were all excited and refreshed. All of the other bands were kind of dead. We had already been out on tour for two weeks but it was different being on the Warped Tour. It was pretty cool just doing those four shows.

Question: What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you during a concert?

Buddy:Well this tour actually something odd happened. Early on, one of Chris's friends-this really big guy was on stage. He took off his shirt and was just jumping around and was pretty silly. I was laughing and still trying to play. I was at this one part where I was putting my slide out and his hand comes up and hits my hand. My slide came out and flew into the crowd. It like hit the barricade. I was like "Nooo". I had to go out there and get it. Than was kind of embarrassing. That is like the typical trombone person boner move. It probably looked like I fucked up though; it looked like I was just an idiot. Pete actually did the same thing the other night. He was trying to be cool during the encore and he was trying to make these really deep notes and he dropped the slide. He was like "Naaa". He had to go get it. We were all crashing everything for the grand finale.

Question: What was the first concert you went to?

Buddy:Wow. It could have been a Nine Inch Nails concert. I'm going to take a guess that I saw something before that. I had to have seen something before that. It was in Melbourne, Florida. It was pretty cheesy.

Question: What is you favorite movie??

Buddy:That's a rough question right there. I'm a pretty big movie connoisseur so I'm running through thousands of movies in my head right now trying to pick one that would be my favorite. The Kids in the Hall made a really good movie called "Braincandy". "The Simpsons" are actually coming out with a movie in the future. Matt Groening has announced that he will make a movie, so that will inevitably be my favorite movie when that finally comes out unless they totally bone it somehow, but hopefully they won't. "Fats Times At Ridgemont High", and 80's movie you can go through all of those, "Weird Science", "The Breakfast Club", "Sixteen Candles", all of those movies.

Question: Whose idea was it on the "Hello Rockview" album for the cartoons in the booklet?

Buddy:That was my idea, everything was my idea. No, that was Vinnie's. Vinnie came up with the whole idea to make it like a comic book.

Question: What do you think of the term "Selling-out"?

Buddy:I think that it is over used and over played. I think that the only way to sell out is to sell yourself out basically. Like if you are doing something that you don't agree with. You have to be behind what you are doing in order for it to be right. It doesn't really matter what other people's opinions are. Someone is always going to say that you are doing something wrong because someone is going to be different that you. As long as you feel that what you are doing as a band or a person is what's right then you aren't selling yourself out. That's all that is important. As long as all the people in a band agree with or believe in what you are doing then you are not selling out. If you are doing something that you don't agree with because other people are telling you to do it- that's selling out.

Question: What was your first show with Less Than Jake like?

Buddy:I don't know if I remember that show. I'm trying to remember where the first show was. It's likely that it was at the Hard Rock, but I'm trying to remember. There had to be a first one. I remember that the day of the show No Fraud was in town. I don't remember the actual show. The guys were like "yeah, come over, we'll drink a few beers and No Fraud- this band from south Florida is gonna be in town". I remember pulling up to go hang out with the guys and this huge fire truck was at their apartment complex. There was this huge fire and flames were coming out of their apartment and they were all sitting outside. They were like "our apartment burned down today". I was like "what?!" They were all trying to get their stuff out of the apartment because it was just happening. The people next door moved out and they left a box on the stove while it was on, but the electricity was off, so when the new neighbors turned on the electricity the whole apartment went up. So that's what happened the first show. I'm sure we went out and played and I messed up some things, but the place that we played didn't burn down though, so that's good. It wasn't that consistent of a night. I probably got drunk.

Question: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start a band?

Buddy:Don't. There are too many already. No I'm just kidding. What you should do is write a bunch of songs, learn how to play your instruments, not in this order, record those songs as soon as you possibly have enough money or skills to do so and then get them on as many compilation CD's as you can so you can get your music out. Then tour, tour, tour, tour, tour. That's the way to be in a band. Don't send out your demo's to label's and try to get signed and rich and famous. Than doesn't work. Basically you just have to try to get shows and play to as many people as you can and practice. Get good at your instruments and play them a lot.

Question: Why is Less Than Jake leaving Capitol Records?

Buddy:When we signed on to Capitol Records it was to get distribution and get our record in as many stores as possible. They held up to that and started distributing and we met a bunch of people from that label and we build up a lot or relationships and everything was going good and then the president of Capitol got canned and the new president cleaned house, so the label was pretty much completely different people and everyone was worried about their jobs. No one would go out on a limb for us or anything like that we weren't getting a lot of radio play or publicity and that wasn't really happening for us and the label is kind of sinking as well because they don't have any major acts. The whole label was sinking and then companies like AOL started buying portions of Capitol so we weren't going to get what we wanted and we had a shot at getting out so we went to Fat Wreck Chords. They really work at getting their acts out like radio play and promotion stuff like that.

You can get Less Than Jake's new album "Borders and Boundaries" sometime in October. Sample the new album at www.fatwreck.com- Less Than Jake's new label

Buddy from Less Than Jake