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Less Than Jake: An Interview with Vinnie Fiorello

By Katy Wilkie

May 25, 2015

Hailing from Gainesville, Floirda, ska-punk pioneers Less Than Jake are celebrating their 23rd year as a band this year.  It all was jump-started with their debut full length album, Pezcore, which released in 1995.  Since then, Less Than Jake have been beating the odds of the music industry and have maintained their strong pull and relevancy in the ska-punk scene that they helped establish. Their music features humorous lyrics and uptempo beats, and with their energetic and fun personas, they’ve become a must see live act.

CLTure had the opportunity to catch up with Less Than Jake’s drummer and lyricist, Vinnie Fiorello to talk about their tour current tour, their secret to lasting in the scene, and the possibility of releasing new music. You can catch Less Than Jake on tour with ReelBigFish and Ballyhoo! at The Fillmore in Charlotte, NC on June 4th.

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Photo by Jodie Cunningham

CLTure: You just recently came off of a tour in the UK alongside Yellowcard and now you’re hitting the States with the second leg of the tour with Reel Big Fish. I’ve heard UK fans can get pretty rowdy at shows and while shows in the U.S. are fun, they are a bit more tame. How would you compare the difference in shows on US soil in comparison to the UK?

Vinnie Fiorello: I think it really depends on the city in both countries. London and Nottingham are infamous when it comes to crowd reaction but equal to Chicago or Anywhere in New Jersey. Lots of sweaty sing alongs in all of those cities.

CLTure: How does the band choose supporting acts for the tours? Does the band collectively agree on tour mates or is it based more on promoters suggestions?

VF: We really pick what we like and what fits stylistically. If we co headline, then we need to agree collectively between bands. It’s a fairly logical approach and easier in most cases than you’d expect.

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CLTure:You’ve toured pretty heavily off See The Light. How has that album cycle been treating you?

VF:It’s been the shit in the arm of energy that we needed 22 years in. We worked hard before, during, and after recording See The Light.

CLTure: On the flip side, Less Than Jake hasn’t released a full length since 2013’s See The Light. Are there any plans to get new music out in 2016?

VF: We plan to do a few singles then write for a full length. We will see how it goes; it’s pretty loose timeline wise currently.

CLTure: What have you been jamming to the most recently?

VF: A lot of reggae music – specifically The Skints and Western Standard Time. Also a lot of smaller bands in punk music. I run a free weekly digital subscription, so there’s a lot of music that cruises through my inbox.

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Pezcore celebrates its 20th anniversary this yea

CLTure: Pezcore celebrates its 20th anniversary this year; there have been re-releases of the album in the past with the 10th anniversary and again in 2008 with a live DVD. Are there any special plans for the 20th anniversary?

VF: We have a few things up our sleeves and will announce mid summer.

CLTure: Do you still get Pez dispensers thrown on stage?

VF: Yeah. That’s happens a decent amount and after all these years it’s still pretty cool.

CLTure: Less Than Jake has had a pretty steady following and has been around for an impressive 23 years, which is rare these days. To what would you contribute the band’s longevity?

VF: I think it’s a combination of bands chemistry and crowd chemistry. There’s a lot of energy exchanged between all of us, so that’s pretty wild to still continue after all these years.

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Nicole Kibert

CLTure: I saw you at last summer’s Warped Tour in Charlotte. As one of the only predominant sca/punk bands on the bill, your set stole the show for me because it was something completely different from the other bands I was checking out that day. What components come together for the band to put on such a musically pure and stellar set regardless of the setting?

VF :Like I said at this point, it is the chemistry among us on stage mixed with what the crowd is giving off. Warped was great for us because it had been a very heavy year musically from the festival so our set stood out just by the shift in genre during the day.

CLTure: You’ve been to Charlotte several times. Are there any local spots you like to try to get to when you come through the city?

VF: Anything BBQ related and we will chase it down to see if it lives up to the hype. We have a few friends here as well so it is a great time to catch up.

CLTure: What does the remainder of 2015 look like for Less Than Jake?

VF: We have the U.S. Run with ReelBigFish then UK and Europe in July and August. Our hometown festival Wake And Bake, then wrapping up with Japan and Australia.

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