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Less Than Jake is an American ska punk band from Gainesville, Florida. Originally formed in 1992 as a power pop trio, the band evolved into a hybrid of third-wave ska and punk rock, with added elements of modern rock and even metal. To date, the group has released seven original full-length albums and countless more singles and compilations. The current lineup comprises guitarist/vocalist Chris Demakes, bassist/vocalist Roger Manganelli, drummer/lyricist Vinnie Fiorello, trombonist Buddy Schaub, and saxophonist JR.

Origins:
Vocalist and guitarist Chris Demakes and drummer Vinnie Fiorello led a local band named Good Grief with bassist Shaun Grief while attending high school in Port Charlotte, Florida. Good Grief broke up when Chris moved north to attend the University of Florida at Gainesville, Florida, and Vinnie followed suit to pursue college and (more important) further musical endeavors with Chris, already with song ideas in mind. With Shaun now as their roadie, they needed to find a replacement bassist. Says Fiorello,

"We decided before we tried to get a bass player we'd zero in on a name for the "band" - to either (A) - make it seem like we had out shit together or (B) - make ourselves feel better. I think it was (B) or maybe it was just so I could write it over and over again on notebook paper during my anthropology class."

They decided to name the band after the dog Vinnie's family had owned while growing up in New Jersey. An 80lbs. pit bull, the pet was treated far more generously by his parents than, indeed, Vinnie himself was. With its own spot on the couch and takeout food ordered specifically to feed it, most everything else in the house was dubbed as being "less than Jake." A replacement bassist was found in the form of Roger Manganelli, a guitarist who picked up the bass just prior to joining the band. Between 1993 and 1994 the group added their first horn player, Jessica Mills, and soon after came trombone player Buddy Schaub. Right before their first tour, however, Schaub traveled to Europe with friends, so saxophonist Derron Nuhfer filled in for shows during his absence.
With various 7" releases under their belt, Less than Jake debuted in 1994 with the album Pezcore, originally on Dill Records. The CD contained 21-tracks, the last two of which were punk covers of theme songs which are omitted from the album on the current version, reissued through Asian Man Records. The title of the album stemmed from Roger and Vinnie's unexplained fondness for PEZ candy, clearly apparent in their reportedly sizable Pez dispenser collections. This love for Pez is so intense that they chose Pezcore, partly as homage to their obsession, and partly as parody of the way in which many bands are described as [something]-core (starting with hardcore). Ever since, Pez dispenser motifs have been a common feature of Less Than Jake's merchandise.
In 1995, Losers, Kings and Things We Don't Understand and Greased followed on No Idea Records, the latter being an 8-song album of cover songs from the movie Grease. The release of Greased brought upon a legal battle with Paramount Pictures and Universal Music Group, who own the rights to the film and song respectively. Fortunately, a deal was reached, and the album was once again available for purchase.

Commercial Growth:
1996's Losing Streak, released on Capitol Records, was Less Than Jake's major label debut. The album was full of the band's wry, fast-paced brand of ska-punk anthems, producing such fan favorites as "Johnny Quest Thinks We're Sellouts," "Jen Doesn't Like Me Anymore," and "Automatic". Upon the album's completion, saxophonist Jessica Mills left to pursue teaching, and was replaced by ex-Slapstick trombonist Pete Anna. Around this time, Vinnie Fiorello also started his own record label, Fueled by Ramen, with friend John Janick as a means to find and promote up-and-coming bands that he himself would want to hear.
Hello Rockview followed in 1998, and included such staple songs as "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads" and "Help Save the Youth of America from Exploding". The band even spawned a minor college radio hit with "History of a Boring Town."
In the fall of 2000, the band released Borders & Boundaries on Fat Wreck Chords, as well as landing the opening spot on Bon Jovi's North American tour. While neither as commercially successful or musically appreciated as previous releases, the album was a display of significant growth for the band, showcasing much more mature music than the band had ever shown before. Still, the album provided fans with two instant hits in "Look What Happened (The Last Time)" and their hometown anthem, "Gainesville Rock City." Shortly after the album's release, Derron Nuhfer left the band (going on to join Gunmoll and later on Escape Grace), and Less Than Jake found a replacement in the ashes of another ska band, this time ex-Spring Heeled Jack U.S.A. saxophonist, Pete Wasilewski. To avoid the confusion provided by having two Peters within the band, the second Pete Wasilewski was dubbed JR (as in 'Peter Junior'). He still goes by JR even following the departure of the first Pete after the 2001 Warped Tour.
In 2002, Less Than Jake released Goodbye Blue and White. Having issued more 7" and limited-edition vinyl releases than most people can keep track of, the band compiled some of their favorite tracks on one record, and named in honor of their original tour van.
Anthem followed in 2003 for Sire Records. It featured hit singles in both the US and the UK, with "She's Gonna Break Soon" (TRL), "The Science Of Selling Yourself Short" (#37 Hot 100), and "The Brightest Bulb Has Burned Out" featuring Billy Bragg (UK Top 40). Actress Alexis Bledel, known for her role as Rory Gilmore on Gilmore Girls appeared in the video for She's Gonna Break Soon, where she played the unnamed subject of the song, an angst teen girl who has a nervous breakdown, and destroys her bedroom over the course the song. B Is for B-sides was released the following year, and comprised tracks that did not make it to Anthem's final cut. The DVD retrospective People's History of Less Than Jake appeared a month later.

Recent Activity:
In April 2006, the band released its four-song Absolution for Idiots and Addicts (EP), with their next full-length, In with the Out Crowd, following a month later on Warner Bros. Records. The album was also issued in a limited edition that came in a leather-bound case complete with bonus multimedia discs that contained a plethora of music videos, bonus tracks and an elaborate photo gallery.
In February 2007, Less Than Jake played six shows in Florida that each featured the band playing one of their albums in its entirety, plus b-sides and rarities. They played at three venues with each venue featuring two shows to be recorded for a future DVD release. The records performed were Borders and Boundaries, Pezcore, Losing Streak, Anthem, Hello Rockview, and In with the Out Crowd. They then did the same in London, United Kingdom, in September 2007, playing at the Mean Fiddler for 6 nights in a row.
In Summer 2007, Less Than Jake embarked on a North American tour with Reel Big Fish, featuring support from Streetlight Manifesto and Against All Authority. Against All Authority was not included on the final leg of the tour.
On the 21st of May after much speculation, Vinnie Fiorello announced on his blog that the band has been released from their contract with Sire Records and Warner Brothers. Following this split, the band has begun releasing high quality (MP3, 320kbit/s), DRM-free, unedited recordings of their live shows, taken directly of the mixing console at each show. These recordings are being released for sale on the band's website via Snocap.

Side Projects:
Vinnie and his friend John Janick started up the independent record label Fueled by Ramen.
Vinnie also owns a toy company called Wnderland War, originally called Monkey VS Robot. The name was changed due to legal issues. Vinnie has also started a second toy company with a friend called Symptoms. Many of these toys have featured in art books and shows.
Roger has a side-project called Rehasher, who have recorded an album Off Key Melodies on Gainesville based record label No Idea Records. He plays guitar (not bass) for Rehasher, and is also their lead singer. JR was featured playing saxophone in the last track from the album.
JR composes his own solo music on top of working with a promoting company called the CT Mafia. He contributed one track to the Drive-Thru Records tribute to Bob Dylan, under the name "The Stay at Home Joneses" which also featured secondary vocals by Roger.
The members of Less Than Jake also served as backup musicians for Asian Man Records owner Mike Park in the Bruce Lee Band.
Buddy is involved in a side band called PB&J; in which he provides the bass, vocals and occasional trombone, as well as the band's Black Ice that he plays all instruments for and another band called Coffee Project.

Misconceptions and Rumours:
Contrary to popular belief, Less Than Jake have never covered The Proclaimers' iconic hit "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". Drummer, lyricist and band spokesman Vinnie has joked that it is the band's 'most downloaded song', despite the fact that they have never recorded their own version of it. The version fans are downloading could be by the British ska punk group Spunge. It also may have been mistaken for a cover by Down By Law.
Another popular but untrue myth is "Liquor Store" was not written by them, but by Reel Big Fish. This originated from a show in Minneapolis (which was later played in its entirety on the band's website), in which Chris declared they couldn't play the song, untruthfully adding that they didn't write it, Reel Big Fish did. This was most likely a reference to Reel Big Fish having a hit song titled "Beer."
According to Chris, the second barrier at the Reading and Leeds Festivals were put in place to stop circle pits such as the one caused by Less Than Jake at the 2002 Leeds festival. In fact, the second barrier was requested by Pearl Jam as a condition they would headline the Festival.
It has been reported that Less Than Jake have a long running feud with ska punk band Goldfinger though they have never commented. Members of Goldfinger gave their side of the story in an interview published in UK zine More Noise and Other Disturbances.
In 2006, with the release of In With the Out Crowd, many fans thought that New Found Glory's lead singer was a guest vocalist on the song Mostly Memories, however this was not true.

Members:
-Chris Demakes.
-Roger Manganelli.
-Vinnie Fiorello.
-Buddy Schaub.
-Peter "JR" Wasilewski.
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