Chris DemakesFat Wreck Chords
By Bobby Gorman on October 3rd, 2014 at E-mail
In anticipation of their upcoming Canadian tour that kicks off October 9th in Vancouver, BC – Chris Demake of Gainesville’s famed ska-punk band Less Than Jake did a quick little e-mail interview with us telling us exactly what it is about Canada that gets him excited for the tour.
Plus, he easily gives the best description of The Fest I’ve seen for a while.
To describe this upcoming tour, Roger said that “America’s Hat is a great place to eat poutine” – is that all Canada really is to you? French fries and gravy? That cuts me deep guys, real deep.
I told him to mention hockey and moose hunting. That’s really all he said? What an idiot.
What’s your favourite type of poutine and why do you think it hasn’t really crossed the border into Canada’s shorts (AKA: America)?
Ok, this is really bad. I dont eat poutine. I like my fries crisp, not soggy. Great. Now i’m the asshole 🙂
This is your first Canadian tour in four years, other than having the always glorious Big D opening, what will you do to make up for leaving us behind for the past four years?
We are going to play better than we played last time we were there. We all started drinking again. Last time we were sober and angry. We are a ska-punk band. The anger angle didnt work so well!
Back in August you guys had the opportunity to tour Russia and visited the Red Square, when you posted photos of it, it was described as something you thought you’d never get the chance to see. What was it like to finally see it?
Well, if you grew up in the 80’s amid tensions between the former soviet union and the u.s., it seemed unfathomable that i would ever touch foot on their soil. Super cool experience.
Are there any other landmarks that you still need to see? In Canada first and then globally?
Yes, too many to count. For starters, there are hundreds of state parks and lakes i would like to visit in canada.
Having toured for over 20 years now, you guys have seen the world many times over. Thinking non-music related, what are some of the highlights that you’ve been fortunate enough to experience?
Being able to travel the world for free and have friends in over 100 plus countries. People, I otherwise would have never had the opportunity to meet.
Out of those 20 years of touring, you guys have spent over a year of that on the Warped Tour. This summer marked your 365th day on the tour spread over eight stints on the tour. Do you find it surreal that you’ve spent a year of your life on that punk rock circus?
I find it more disturbing than surreal! It is testament to the fact that we are one of the hardest touring bands out there.
What did you do to celebrate?
Lots of family and friends. Oh, and we made ltj 365 warped tour t shirts for all 1200 people on the tour.
Over the years that tour has evolved drastically – was there a change in vibe this summer compared to the first time you played it back in 1997?
Only the fact that we keep getting older and the kids keep getting younger. Other than that, the vibe hasnt changed much to be honest.
Is it weird that there’s now legacy Acts, like yourselves, on the tour?
Not weird at all. The tour is 20 years old. It was bound to happen. Somebody had to get old. Luckily for us, we still get invited back to play.
What do you think it is that has enabled you to last so long that you’ve now become the legacy act?
We never stopped being a functioning band in all of our 22 years. We constantly tour and release new music. We have the same 4 guys in the band since day one and our sax player has been with the band for 15 years now. Oh, and along the way, we wrote a couple of decent tunes.
At what point in your career did you introduce the t-shirt cannon?
That was our sax player jr’s idea. Probably early 2000’s.
This Canadian tour will cumulate with a short run straight down south to bring you to Florida for The Fest 13 – at Pre Fest you are doing Losing Streak in its entirety. Why that album?
Because the whole record is 16 songs in under 30 minutes. It was the easiest record in our repertoire to learn!
This will my fourth time at The Fest but first time seeing you guys play it – how does a hometown show compare to your regular show?
It’s great. Tons of friends and family. It’s always sure to be a party every time.
Over the years you’ve done countless festivals – Warped Tour for a year, Groezrock, PouzzaFest, Bamboozle and I’m sure there’s hundreds more. What makes The Fest stand out amongst all of them?
Inebriation. I have never seen concert goers as wasted as Fest. People throw down hard.
Going back to Losing Streak, when I finally got my hands on the album (sadly well after it was released, for some reason it didn’t spark my interest when it was released a week before my 9th birthday), I was in Japan and found a UK import from Golf Records which was a double album of Losing Streak and Hello Rockview. You guys have a detailed list of all of your releases on your site but there’s still the odd one that surprises me – what’s your favourite rare release you have put out into the world?
We did a 7 inch record of our song “rock and roll pizzeria” that came in a hand screened ltj pizza box. Pretty cool.
You guys said that your Greetings from Less Than Jake digital EP was your 287th release, how accurate is that number??
If you say so!!
Last year you guys released See The Light, after a series of EPs – and five years since your full length GNV FLA – does it feel good to be supporting a full length again?
Yes. See the light is our best record since, um, the one before it. That one was good too.
Roger said that The Greetings and Salutations EPs were written as singles, not with a full picture in mind. How does that change the way you write?
Sometimes full albums have an overall theme that isnt present when you are writing one song at a time. Other than that, not much.
You returned to Fat for the Greetings and Salutations compilation that combined the last two Sleep It off digital EPs. Before that it had been 12 years since working with Fat on 2000’s Borders and Boundaries, why did you decide to rejoin them?
Fat Mike took us out to a $100 a plate restaurant and got us really drunk. When we woke up the next day, we were back on fat. Zing!!!!
What does that mean for Sleep It Off Records?
Not a thing. Sleep It Off is a vehicle by which we can release LTJ stuff whenever we want. It’s the best of both worlds.
I’ve heard rumours of a second TV/EP release, is that true? Can you tell us anything about it?
We are kicking around some ideas now. That’s about all there is to say at the moment. We do want to do another one for sure. The first one was a lot of fun!
Finally, what’s it like seeing Vinnie without his beard for the first time since 2008?
I shed a few tears. He looks like he could go back to high school. He had to get a security escort out of the mall the other day because young girls were trying to rip off his clothes. Tough life.
Any final thoughts you’d like to add?
Thanks to all our Canadian fans for always supporting LTJ. Can’t wait for this tour. See you soon!