Interview: A CL Holiday Auction winner talks to Less Than Jake

The ska-punk band hits town as part of Vans Warped Tour on July 25.

click to enlarge Less Than Jake - Jodi Photography
Jodi Photography
Less Than Jake

Amid the music-related items in CL’s annual Holiday Auction to benefit The Children’s Home, ‘Interview Your Favorite Band’ has been a much-bid-upon contender. Last year’s winner took the opportunity to interview Patrick Wilson in honor of the actor/musician’s appearance with his brothers in The Wilson Van for a charity concert in downtown St. Pete, while a few years before that, our winner chatted with bassist Rick Burch of Jimmy Eat World for their stop at The Ritz that year.

This year, the winner, Dylan Thomas, reached out with only one band in mind: Less Than Jake, which landed in town with Vans Warped Tour on July 25. Though the concert fell outside of the item's expiration date (which was in May), we’re pretty accommodating, not to mention happy to promote a Florida-bred ska-punk outfit with more than two decades of playing to their credit.

After making some arrangements – Less Than Jake was entirely amenable to the idea behind the interview and both sides agreed upon an email exchange – the questions were fired off, and answers received earlier this week. Check them out after the jump...

Less Than Jake is backing an eighth studio album, 2013’s See the Light. Vans Warped Tour hits Vinoy Park in St. Petersburg on Fri., July 25. Tickets here.

First thing’s first, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer a few questions for me! It’s much appreciated. Now, how's your millionth run on the Warped Tour treating you so far? I know you guys are pretty excited about playing your 365th show on the tour this year.

Chris Demakes: The tour has been awesome as always! We have been making new fans along the way as well as seeing lots of familiar faces.

Any bands you'd recommend people see when the tour stops here in St. Petersburg on July 25? Teenage Bottlerocket's right below you guys on my extremely short list of bands to see.

Yeah, Bottlerocket, of course … check out the Protomen, Mixtapes and Four Year Strong!

And just because we're on the topic of the Warped Tour, Less Than Jake always brings some interesting on-stage antics out on the road... What does this summer have in store? More mid-song Mohawk haircuts for fans?

Well, a magician never tells you his tricks ahead of time, but you pretty much nailed it. There will definitely be lots of shenanigans.

Switching gears a bit... You guys have a new record called See The Light out now and [bassist/vocalist] Roger [Lima] handled all of the recording and production for it. What was it like having him turning knobs and pushing buttons on a full-length LTJ record for the first time?

Not weird at all. Roger has been recording our bands demos for years and also produced our last 3 EPs. It was business as usual. See the Light came out great.

Speaking of new music, you also have a 7" single out for the song “Do The Math,” which appears on See The Light. I've wanted to know ever since I first flipped the 7" over, how the hell did “Connect The Dots” not make the cut for the album? It's a great song!

Well, thanks for saying that! It’s a great song, but at the end of the day, we all felt it was better left off the album.

I suppose it’s worth noting that both See The Light and the 7” for “Do The Math” were released through Fat Wreck Chords. What made you decide to return to Fat after all these years for a new full-length release?

Fat Mike (record label owner guy) took us out and got all of us really, really drunk. The next day, we woke up and we were back on Fat Wreck Chords!

Now that we’re talking about Fat, the label’s been putting out a lot of reissues of great, old records lately… In fact, they just released a boxed set containing completely remixed and remastered versions of the first 3 Strung Out full-lengths. Have you guys considered doing the same with some of your old records? Losing Streak is my favorite album of yours but I feel like it would benefit from a sonic overhaul.

We have re-released most of our back catalogue, Losing Streak included. We haven’t re-mixed the record. It’s an interesting idea that we have thought about, but... in doing so, you change the essence and spirit of that recording. Could it sonically sound better? Sure. However, there was a reason why it was created the way it was. That was who we were creatively as a band and as people at that time. With that said, it just doesn’t seem necessary.

Aside from being known for his bass playing and singing in Less Than Jake, Roger’s also very well known for his massive PEZ collection. Any guesses as to how much his collection may be worth? And do you think he’d be willing to part with it at the right price?

No and no!!

Well, I think that’s all the burning questions I have for you guys! Once again, thank you for taking time out of your day to answer my dumb questions; It means a lot to me. Anything else you’d like to say before we wrap this up?

Thanks for the interview! See you in St. Pete!