Less Than Jake “still doing their thing”

Less Than Jake have become professionals over the years when it comes to touring and staying together as a band.  They have been a band for about 16 years and met in Gainesville while they were all attending the University of Florida.

Chris Demakes, a chiropractor by day and the lead singer and guitarist of Less Than Jake by night, said, “You’re bound to have arguments but everyone wants what’s best for the band, we all have the same goal.”

 “Lots of arguing. Lots of alcohol. It’s a love/hate thing sometimes,” Chris added.

On October 12, 2010, Less Than Jake released their latest album “TV/EP,” which is a compilation of television shows and commercials they remade, “ska”-style. They have been touring after the release of the album with bands such as Supervillians and Off With Their Heads and made it to the NorVa in Norfolk, Va. on Jan. 23.

Some of the tracks in “TV/EP” include the theme songs from iCarly, Scooby-Doo, Laverne and Shirley and Diff’rent Strokes and commercials for Toys “R” Us and Freecreditreport.com.

“It was just something silly that we kind of conjured up and decided to do,” he said. “We just had a blast making it. It’s really funny because it’s only 11 and a half minutes from start to finish, but there was a lot of work individually put into those songs to make them sound recognizable, we wanted to put a lot of effort in it.”

Chris said they went through dozens of theme songs and commercials before picking the 16 tracks that made it to the album. The tracks are labeled “Channel 1, Channel 2,” and so on, so each track is a fun surprise for the listener.

“We kind of know that people who listen to our band range from 18 – 30, so we wanted to represent different decades of TV shows to make it interesting and wacky,” Chris said.

Their large age gap with fans shows that Less Than Jake has managed to stay relevant throughout the years, and being possibly the first band to ever do an album like “TV/EP” keeps them ahead of their time.

Though Chris said they don’t keep up with the times, calling out his bleached blonde, mini mo-hawk, he said they just always stayed active and kept touring. “We try to beat bands to the punch, whether you like or hate the TV idea, we just try to do stuff that’s a little left – to – center.”

Chris said in a couple weeks Less Than Jake will be heading to Australia for the Sound Waves festival. Some bands at that festival will include Iron Maiden and Slayer.

One band/musician that Chris said he’d like to work with is Justin Bieber.

“We actually played a festival with Justin Bieber recently in March,” he said. When asked about how Bieber’s female fans were, he said it was reminiscent of the New Kids On The Block times and the Backstreet Boys times.

“As soon as those girls, you know, start smoking cigarettes, and they’re old enough to drive… they’ll have a new poster on their wall,” he said. “We’re definitely more of a dude’s band, which worked out in our favor. In the early days it kind of sucked because we were like, ‘I’m in this band, I’m 20 – years – old, where’s all the girls?’ It was 80 percent sweaty dudes.”

The loyalty of their male fans is another reason Chris believes Less Than Jake is still able to have a career. “Men, I believe, as music lovers are a little more loyal to a band. If they like you, they stick with you versus the 14/15 – year – old girl. A lot of times, when you’re not the cute band anymore they move on and they grow up.”

Another band-saver is their live performances. Less Than Jake knows how to connect with their audience. At the NorVa on Jan. 23, they kept the audience involved by constantly joking with them and bringing fans up on the stage.

“People continue to come see this band because we entertain you for an hour and a half. It’s not even about the songs anymore, it’s about what we say in between and how we make you feel,” he said. “We’re, I hate to use this word but, kind of like the ultimate party band.”

“There’s also something to be said about doing this for 18 years, we’ve been touring for 15 or 16 years,” he said.

And, touring over a decade has had its toll on the band. “Divorces, ill health, bad family relationships, missed reunions, missed birthdays, heartache, sadness, alcoholism,” he said, half joking and half serious. “You can always bitch about what you do no matter what you do. The only downfall is that you’re gone so much, but that’s also the best part.”

Less Than Jake’s experiences with touring and their ability to stay together throughout the years to do what they enjoy keep their fans intrigued and keeps Less Than Jake a prominent ska/punk band. “I don’t care how good the 21-22 – year -old band is, the kids on MTV, they don’t have 16 years of experience. You can’t fake that. That’s what I’m most proud of of the band, I think that’s why we stay relevant,” Chris said. “We just do out thing still.”

 *Originally published on AltDaily.com*

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