Less Than Jake

Less Than Jake

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Ended: Active



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Buddy Shaub's touring schedule with Less Than Jake sometimes gets the better of him - but he's taking it all in his stride. The affable trombonist reveals he recently ended another taxing stint on the road with his fellow Floridian ska-punkers, barely leaving time to water the plants and check the mail before heading out again.

Buddy Shaub:
"I was basically only home long enough to plug myself into the wall and recharge my battery," laughs a fast-talking Shaub in an adenoidal voice eerily similar to Steve Buscemi's ill-fated Tony Blundetto character in the TV drama The Sopranos.

Less Than Jake's constant state of flux has seen them tour both Europe and the US twice in 2006, with more American dates planned prior to upcoming visits to Australia via Japan to promote their latest album In With The Out Crowd.

The veteran Gainesville quintet are no strangers to Australian shores, having visited several times since their inception in 1992, most recently in late 2005 and most memorably in 1999 as part of the one-off Australian version of the Warped tour.

Buddy Shaub:
"That was actually a really fun tour for us," recalls Shaub. "We crammed ourselves into a little RV and fared better than a lot of other bands who were on communal buses and would then camp with tents. That Warped tour in Australia was very similar to the US one except there was a lot more ska going on back then which was popular at the time."

Back then, LTJ inadvertently struck a chord with mid-90s ska revivalists on the back of their unavoidably catchy 1997 album Losing Streak, a minor hit.

Buddy Shaub:
"It was all kind of a blur because we had just started touring and everything was new and exciting and we were sleeping on people's floors," says Shaub. "It was definitely a different time than it is now. As far as that style of music being popular I suppose they were kind of the glory days for our band in that respect."

Despite getting caught up in the ska-pop hysteria at the time, Shaub insists that across a 15-year career the band has traditionally remained unswayed by passing trends and fickle fashions.

Buddy Shaub:
"I think we've fared pretty well because a lot of those bands that were popular at the time have died off now and we're still kicking it out here," he says. "We've managed to stay out of that pigeon-hole of being just a ska-punk band or whatever because I think we play a bunch of different styles of music. Our goal has always been to play to as many people as we possibly can. We never had an idea that we'd sell out if we played to too many people. I want to play to a million people every night but I think the fact that we never really hit it huge kind of does save your band in terms of longevity too.

Buddy Shaub:
"Once you get really big and go up the only place you can go is down and sometimes that tears bands apart too. I think everything for us was a just a steady progression from day one. It's always been baby steps so we were always comfortable in our own shoes. We never really had that awkward moment of not knowing what was next. We've kept ourselves grounded with our fans and touring."

Shaub concedes it would be nice to revisit, albeit briefly, those halcyon neo-ska days.

Buddy Shaub:
"I do sometimes hear little influences from that world in other people's music but I don't know if it's in the mainstream," he muses. "It's due for another turn around the block I would think, you know, everything kind of happens in cycles. I think our next record might have a little bit more of that ska sound on it. We've been thinking that way lately because Losing Streak's ten year reunion will happen when we're on this tour so we've been going back and rehearsing all of that album. While we were doing that we thought 'wow, we should write more songs like this!'."

For the moment, Less Than Jake are busy promoting In With The Out Crowd, produced by Howard Benson who worked with the band almost a decade ago.

Buddy Shaub:
"It was definitely interesting working with him now as opposed to last time in '98 because back then he didn't have any break-out songs by anyone," says Shaub. "I think we got him back on his feet, we were on a major label at the time and he was all excited to work with us. Pro Tools was just starting to get used and he was kind of learning how to do all that stuff on our record which was pretty funny. Over the last ten years he's pretty much mastered it.

Buddy Shaub:
"He flew in to Gainesville back then whereas this time we went to him and the quality of the recording was far superior to what he had a long time ago. But it kills me, the whole time we did our record in '98 he was wearing his sweat pants and an oversized Philadelphia Eagles football jersey literally every day and we were all taking bets on whether he'd be wearing that again. When we got out there sure enough he was wearing the exact same outfit. We couldn't believe it!"



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