Not many bands have the staying power to last for more than fifteen years, and even fewer have the mojo to establish a following like that of Less Than Jake. Originally pegged as a power-pop trio, the band has taken influence from a number of genres including ska, punk, post-grunge, and various others, developing a unique sound which has had no problem standing the test of time.
During their high school days in Port Charlotte, Florida, lead vocalist and guitarist Chris Demakes and drummer Vinnie Fiorello formed a young band by the name of Good Grief with their friend and bass player Shaun Grief. After high school, Grief headed off to college and the band folded, though Fiorello and Demakes continued to meet up regularly in order to write music.
Building momentum, they later paired up full-time while attending the University of Florida and set their sights on establishing an official name. After continually joking about how Fiorello’s dog Jake was always treated much better than the rest of the household, the name Less Than Jake became the band’s permanent label.
Roger Manganelli, initially a guitar player, was recruited and convinced to play bass. Taking cues from one of their greatest influences, the band SNUFF, the group added a horn section to complete their quartet, and started worked on trying to release their first album.
As with most bands, their beginnings were anything but spectacular. In fact, in 1993 the group took it upon themselves to hand-press all 300 copies of their initial seven-inch record, Smoke Spot. A few years later, their first full-length LP, Pezcore, was released with a title that pays homage to their fascination with Pez candy dispensers. The album featured classics like "My Very Own Flag" and "Liquor Store".
It wasn’t until 1997’s signing with Capitol records that the band would see some mainstream exposure. Their next album, Losing Streak, combined with their participation on the acclaimed Caffeine Nation Tour sent their popularity soaring, scoring them a stint on Billboard’s Heat-seekers chart.
Over the next ten years, the group continued to release albums and travel the globe, earning a massive fan base that spans over multiple nations. In 2007, Fiorello announced that the band had asked to be released from its contract with Warner Bros. and followed the announcement with the release of five high-quality MP3s that featured unedited live show recordings taken directly from the mixing console.
A year later, while most speculated that the next Less Than Jake album would be released on Victory Records or Fat Wreck Chords, the band surprised everyone by announcing that they’d started their own label, Sleep It Off Records.
Between recordings, each member actively pursues side projects both in and out of the music world. Fiorello owns two toy companies and a blossoming indie record label, Demakes records his own solo music, and the other members are busy recording and performing with other bands.
In September, the band gave word that they were aiming for an October release of their TV/EP that will consist of sixteen television theme songs performed in just thirteen minutes. Just one more quirky addition to Less Than Jake’s incredible resume, which just seems to keep growing year after year.