Less Than Jake returns home for three shows
Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 at 10:26 a.m.
If you asked Less Than Jake singer/guitarist Chris DeMakes in 1993 what he pictured himself doing in 2013, it might differ somewhat from what he and his bandmates have planned for the coming days and months.
'Wake and Bake with Less Than Jake'
What: Gainesville band performs three shows with opening acts including Red City Radio on Friday, and Ballyhoo! on Saturday and Sunday
When: 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 7:30 Aug. Sunday
Where: High Dive, 210 SE Second Ave.
“When you're in a band that's been around one or two years, you never think you're going to be around for 20 years,” he says.
But as the band prepares for its second annual “Wake and Bake with Less Than Jake,” celebrating its 21st year together as a group, the rollout for the new CD “See The Light” and a slew of national and international shows, DeMakes is not beating himself up for lack of foresight: “I pinch myself every day.”
Since forming in Gainesville in 1992, the influential ska-punk quintet has had its share of commercial success, releasing CDs as well as numerous EPs and singles as well as touring extensively. However, with three members of the band calling the city home, the group still sees itself as fundamentally a Gainesville band.
Although DeMakes no longer calls Gainesville home, three members of the band do, and the city figures prominently in the group's history and lyrics, particularly on 2008 album “GNV/FLA.” It was this history and a sense of community where members were setting down deeper roots that inspired the first “Wake and Bake” last year, according to drummer and songwriter Vinnie Fiorello.
“It was originally a celebration of family and friends coming together, and my daughter and [bassist/singer] Roger [Manganelli]'s son's first birthdays made it a family affair”
The weekend's events have since expanded from two to three days, with an additional concert as well as shows and activities. The band sees the festival as a way of giving back to the community, which last year drew fans from as far afield as the United Kingdom.
This year's schedule will include three performances by the group at High Dive: Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. (with support from Red City Radio and Protagonist on Friday, and Ballyhoo! and the Attack on Saturday) and Sunday at 5 p.m. with Ballyhoo! and Morning Fatty. In addition, the band is hosting a special “Garage sale/flea market” featuring rare Less Than Jake records from the member's own collections as well as stage props and memorabilia and a tailgate during halftime of the University of Florida's football season opener on Saturday. On Sunday Loosey's will host a special buffet brunch and a stripped-down acoustic performance featuring DeMakes and Manganelli along with Red City Radio beginning at 11 a.m.
For DeMakes it is important to pay tribute. “We just want to thank Gainesville,” the singer said. “We begin every show with 'Hi, we're Less Than Jake' from Gainesville, Florida,' and we'd be doing that even if none of us lived here anymore.”
The months following will take members about as far as one can get from the Gator City: in the run-up to the Nov. 12 release of their eighth CD, “See The Light,” produced by Manganelli in his Gainesville studio, the band is scheduled to tour Japan as well as South and Central America, followed by a U.S. tour with Fat Wreck Chords label-mates Masked Intruder and Anti-Flag beginning in November.
But through it all, and more than two decades later, the band is staying true to its roots while looking forwards. “Less Than Jake still sounds like Less Than Jake,” Fiorello said, “but we have to push the envelope. You can't keep looking over your shoulder.”
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.