After getting a planned vacation sadly washed out by a tropical storm off the coast of Florida and with him hanging back after hours at his tattoo shop, Less Than Jake drummer Vinnie Fiorello talks to me about the band’s October Australian tour, their love for our country, their 25th anniversary, seeing countless genres come and go, and how he thinks his band have endured for so long.
This 25-anniversary tour you’re doing in Australia in October makes me feel a little old. I mean, I’m only 22, but I’ve listened to you guys since I was like 12 so that must feel like a lifetime for you guys.
You know, it doesn’t feel that long, but it doesn’t feel like a blink of an eye. I’d be shitting you if I told you it felt like it was yesterday. Every inch of my knees, legs, arms and back feel like they’ve been on tour forever. It feels like we really worked at it and really enjoyed it. When I think about my life, I think about and remember so much more of Less Than Jake being a part of it than I can without the band, if that makes any sense?
No, I get you. I mean, I can’t pretend to understand that kind of band commitment. In terms of the years gone by, you’re 43, right?
Yep, sure am!
So well over half of your life has been seen through the lenses of this band. It’s such a cliche, but you’ve been in LTJ more than people get years for murder.
Dude, I’ve been in the band longer than I was married! [Laughs]. The band and I have joked about it before but we’ve seen more genres of music become popular and die out while we’ve been in this band. Like, that sports-fan, Americana rock of Three Doors Down – we saw that rise and fall. We saw the rise and fall of grunge in our time. We saw the rise of rap-rock and the fall of it. All the stages of pop-punk; the shiny rapper stage; the awkward rapper stage, as well as the rise of our own ska-punk and then the fall of it – we’ve lived through those genres, both up and down.
See, when you put it like that, that sounds even longer than it is. Of course, genres come and go, but what do you think has helped maintain Less Than Jake’s 25-year career.
You know what, I can’t really say why people come to it, but I can say that for us continuing, it would be because we have a brotherhood among the five of us that keeps us progressing. The fact that we can still be creative and write music and keep our fans happy. Without either of those factors – having chemistry with ourselves, having it with the crowd, with the drive to write music and tour – then the death of Less Than Jake would most likely happen.
I also think that just having the right deals to put your music into new ears. For instance, I first heard Less Than Jake on the Tony Hawk’s Underground 2 soundtrack. Do you think such things like that, among other digital media avenues, has helped ensure that the band exists beyond the 90’s and 2000’s?
Sure man. I think that whatever the reason was, whether it was radio station coverage, that game, our many Warped Tour appearances, Less Than Jake has existed in many people’s lives, even for a brief time, we’ve provided a soundtrack for them. Which is very cool. And that we’d be fools if we didn’t appreciate such things in our band. People talk to us all about their times in high school and college, that’s important to us because when those kids stole their parent’s car for friends or parties and they listened to our songs all the way, those stories are us being a part of other people’s adventures. Dude, that’s just amazing to me. On a daily basis, I’m so thankful that we’ve had that happen.
And not every band can have that impact, as well. Another thing that helps is having lots of music. So this Australian tour will see a bit of everything, yes? Everything from ‘Pezcore’ to the newer ‘Sound The Alarm’ EP, correct?
We’ll even be going from the pre-‘Pezcore’ stuff, with the ‘Losers, Kings, and Things We Don’t Understand’ EP and all the way up ‘Sound The Alarm’. We’ll be sprinkling a bit of everything over these Aussie shows. It can be hard, as sometimes people wanna hear ‘Malt Liquor Tastes Better When You’ve Got Problems’ but they’d be the only person that would be truly stoked about seeing that song. So you’ve gotta think about the wider audience and not just one person. What we do is that we make the core set list – you know, the obvious ones – and then we add in the songs that don’t normally get played live and we rotate them out for other songs.
Well, look if you guys play a few extra songs from ‘Anthems’, I’ll be stoked, personally.
It’s usually an ‘Anthems’ heavy set, so you’re in luck man!
Fuck yeah! Finally Vinnie, as a softball wrap-up question, what things are you personally most looking forward to when you get here?
Well, number one, a great flat white! To be honest with you Alex, Australia has always presented Less Than Jake with enough people and fans that love showing up – and we love going there. I am also very familiar with a lot of Australian cities that I know where to get super comfortable. Like, the best places to go get coffee, the cool street art in certain Sydney and Melbourne alleyways. I can go through my regiment of the cool things to do and see in your cities and I know that there’ll be plenty of people at these shows, all wanting to have a good time with us. All of the other stuff, that just floats away, my man.
OCTOBER 19th – THE PRINCE, MELBOURNE THURSDAY
OCTOBER 21st – THE GOV, ADELAIDE SATURDAY
OCTOBER 22nd – THE TIVOLI, BRISBANE SUNDAY
OCTOBER 24th – THE CAMBRIDGE HOTEL, NEWCASTLE TUESDAY
OCTOBER 25th – METRO THEATRE, SYDNEY WEDNESDAY