Formed in 1992, legendary five-piece ska punk band Less Than Jake is comprised of Chris DeMakes, Roger Lima, Vinnie Fiorello, Buddy Schaub and Peter “JR” Wasilewski. Since their inception, the band has released eight albums to widespread, international success. We chatted with DeMakes about all things music and travel at Vans Warped Tour.
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Read the interview highlights below, or listen to SCP Radio’s full-length podcast:
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Chris Remmers: We have a short time so I’ll just dive right into this bad boy. This is obviously not your first time here at Warped Tour.
Chris DeMakes: It’s not our first rodeo.
CR: It’s not your first rodeo. So, what’s it always like coming to an event like this? What’s your preparation for traveling and just getting here?
CD: I actually was running in 95-degree weather in Florida at about three in the afternoon, the hottest time of the day, to condition myself for this tour.
CR: Like jog?
CD: Jog, yeah. I’m wearing a polyester suite out here. Now, today the weather is lovely. It actually feels almost like fall our here today. But, every other day has been really humid and hot.
So, I’ve prepared myself physically. Mentally, I’m crazy so I didn’t prepare there. And, here I am. Warped Tour is great.
CR: This is absolutely a great venue. What’s it like to actually get out on stage at Warped Tour, as opposed to other venues in the northeast region?
CD: Well, I’ve always maintained that when you’re in the theaters and the inside venues, clubs, after doing that for a month you want to be doing festivals. When you’re out here doing festivals for two months you want to be back inside. I like the both. They both have their own merits.
CR: Is there anywhere around here that you guys have ventured out after the show? Anything you look forward to about coming to Warped Tour specifically, besides just playing?
CD: For here in Jones Beach? Yeah, I mean we have tons of family and friends in this area. So, it’s always like a homecoming. We know so many people over the years that have moved to this area, moved to New York City. So, it’s always great.
© JV Little
CR: What’s the travel going to be like when you guys are heading up there? Are you working on music or are you just focused on the next venue?
CD: Yeah, we do writing sessions on our bus as we’re working on a new record right now. Tonight, when we leave here it will probably be about midnight and I’ll be asleep. So, you know, wake up in Hartford.
CR: So, any other shows coming up in the near future that are off the Warped Tour scene?
CD: Yeah, we’re going to Mexico City in late August. We’ve got a big ska festival we’re playing there. And, then we do our fifth annual Less Than Jake Wake N Bake weekend, which is in Gainesville, Florida. Labor Day we do three days of insane, fan-filled activities. Then, we’re going back to Europe and England in October. So, it’s going to be awesome. We’re doing the Fireball Whiskey Tour. You can imagine what that’s going to be like.
© Kasper Christensen
CR: Have you ever been there before?
CD: Yes, yes. Many times! For some reason they love us in Croatia [too]. Go figure. I’m not even being facetious. They like us in Croatia. First time we played there it was like 600 kids crammed into this small club, going completely berzerk.
CR: What’s the key difference between playing out there and playing here in the States?
CD: You don’t know what’s on a sandwich there. You don’t know if it’s mayonnaise or what the hell that is.
CR: [If] you’re going to France you’re getting mayonnaise and French fries.
CD: Yeah, here you kind of know what you’re getting. Like, you’re going to stay away from a gas station sandwich if you don’t like mayonnaise.
CR: That’s amazing! So, is there anything that you and the band have as kind of a ritual before you play? Or, do you just do your own thing to get ready?
CD: Yeah, we kind of all do our own thing. I warm up my voice a little bit, do some stretching.
CR: See this is why we love doing these interviews.
CD: Yeah, you get a little insight into what goes on.
CR: Absolutely! The fans love it. We love it.
CD: Everyone has their thing, that’s my thing.
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For more on Less Than Jake and Warped Tour:
Cover photo © Nicole Kibert