Laying music is about moments. A collection of great moments defines an amazing record. An avalanche of powerful moments tumbles into an engaging live show. The moment when band and fan become one and the same, the moment of interaction, is the type of moment that lasts forever.
Twenty years into its pioneering journey, Gainesville, Fla., natives Less Than Jake – comprised of lyricist/drummer Vinnie Fiorello, vocalist/guitarist Chris DeMakes, vocalist/bassist Roger Manganelli, saxophonist Peter "JR" Wasilewski, and trombonist Buddy Schaub – have had their fair share of moments. For a band obsessed with interacting with its fans, both online and after shows; for a band that is so concerned with making sure the fan gets the perfect experience, with well-known hijinks in every live performance; for a band with seemingly unlimited creativity in the form of physical products, from custom-made cereal boxes to unique vinyl packaging; and for a band that is so passionate when writing new music, 20 years begins to seem like an even longer amount of time. A lot of moments add up over two decades – teenagers grow into men over two decades – dare we say, things change?
Ever-adapting to the constant change in an unsure music industry, Less Than Jake is still making cannonball-sized splashes in the deep end while many of its peers timidly eye shallow waters. With the release of Greetings And Salutations this sentiment is as true as ever. The twelve-track release recorded at The Moathouse in Gainesville and produced by Less Than Jake's own Roger Lima, includes both limited edition EP's Season's Greetings and Greetings From Less Than Jake plus two unreleased songs.
The twelve tracks are pure unfiltered LTJ, Sunny ska mixed with barn-burner punk rock, more intended to get long-time fans and first-time listeners warmed up and moshing in their living rooms and singing along to every lyric. Keeping its signature mix of punk roots and horn-driven melodies, songs like "A Return To Headphones" and "Finer Points of Forgiveness" take the best of old-school Less Than Jake and put on a fresh coat of paint for an amped-up listening experience.
Drummer Vinnie Fiorello puts the release into perspective "We had been writing music in short creative bursts for the last year but looking back at all the songs they wound up more of a cohesive thought, following the moods of the seasons of the year, from the winter through the summer. Greetings And Salutations is as much moody and tense as it is casual and laid back…"
Greetings And Salutations is the follow up to 2010's TV/EP and the band's last full-length, 2008's GNV FLA and is being released in Europe and the UK via Rude Records on October 16th. With the rest of the year of worldwide touring ahead, the group is still following through on its mission to please the fan, wherever the fan may be. More so than many bands that have been doing this for so long, Less Than Jake continues to provide output that loyal fans love. From a 16-minute EP of TV theme show cover songs to re-releases of their classic back catalog to live shows of genre staples Losing Streak or Hello Rockview in their entirety, Less Than Jake has done it all. Less Than Jake will continue to do it all.
"We're constantly pushing ourselves to come up with new ways to present the band," says Schaub, "whether it be within the writing of our songs, ideas for keeping our live shows fresh, coming up with crazy new merch ideas, or just coming up with the best joke in the van. Keeping your band new and innovative is the key to lasting around for more than a minute in the minds of fans."
As the release of Greetings And Salutations proves, this isn't a band content to rest on the laurels of past success. In fact, 2012 is more about pushing forward and breaking new ground, rather than contemplatively reflecting on the success of yesteryear. A constantly innovative force in the industry, DeMakes says the band has managed to stay around so long by staying true to themselves. "Twenty years of blood, sweat and beers," DeMakes says. "It's been a privilege and a pleasure. We have survived more trends than we can count and have managed, so far, to leave a legacy of music two decades long.
Reel Big Fish was one of the legions of Southern California ska-punk bands to edge into the mainstream following the mid-’90s success of No Doubt and Sublime. Like most of their peers, the band was distinguished by their hyperkinetic stage shows, juvenile humor, ironic covers of new wave pop songs, and metallic shards of ska. The group cultivated an underground following that broke into the mainstream in summer 1997, when their single “Sell Out” became a modern rock radio and MTV favorite. Their appearance in the movie “Baseketball” as the halftime band also gained them more fans and helped the bands popularity to grow. Still fronted by original lead singer and song writer Aaron Barrett, they continue releasing albums and touring relentlessly, playing more and more countries and bigger venues all over the world.
Reel Big Fish recorded its self-released debut album, “Everything Sucks”, in 1995. “Everything Sucks” became a word-of-mouth underground hit in ska-punk and college circles, which gave the band enough leverage to sign with the indie label Mojo Records. The label’s president, Jay Rifkin, and former Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila co-produced “Turn the Radio Off”, which marked Reel Big Fish’s first album for Mojo. “Turn the Radio Off” was unleashed in August 1996, and over the next year, the group continually toured in support of the album’s release, expanding their fan base all the while. In spring 1997, the single “Sell Out” began receiving heavy airplay from several influential modern rock stations in the U.S., which soon translated into MTV support for the song’s quirky video. By summer, the song had become a moderate modern rock hit, and the album had charted in the Top 100.
A rock band with punk energy and pop reggae grooves, Baltimore's BALLYHOO! are a fun, fan-loving powerhouse. These road dogs have tirelessly toured coast-to-coast taking their music to the people. Between the road and the studio, BALLYHOO! have crafted a sound distinctly their own; fresh, fun, and embodied by the soul of the party lifestyle. Lead singer and guitarist, Howi Spangler, has a reputation for mixing slick lyrics with his smooth but powerful voice. Drummer Donald Spangler lays out the hard-hitting beats. Scott Vandrey layers in the finishing touches to the band's signature sound on keys. The guys recently welcomed Nick Lucera as their new bass player.
BALLYHOO! released their 5th studio album Pineapple Grenade on June 25th 2013. It broke through the Billboard Top 200 at #189 as well as reaching #4 Billboard Heatseekers and #5 at iTunes Alternative charts.
The album features "No Good," produced by Rome Ramirez (Sublime with Rome) and mixed by Paul Leary (U2, Sublime); while the first single "Run" saw an early radio add from KRAB Bakersfield and early radio spins by KROQ Los Angeles, WHFS Baltimore, KTCL Denver, and KCXX Riverside among others. Alongside the album release, BALLYHOO! co-headlined the 2013 Summer Sickness Tour with Authority Zero and special guests Versus The World. Pineapple Grenade is the band's follow-up to the 2011 LAW Records release of "Daydreams," which debuted at #1 on the iTunes Reggae Charts and #4 on Amazon.
BALLYHOO!'s unique yet melodic blend of genres, along with their hardcore devotion to the road and their fans have pitched them into snowballing success. The band has performed with a myriad of national touring acts; 311, Slightly Stoopid, SOJA, The Dirty Heads, Matisyahu, and more. Tour highlights include the 2011 311 Pow Wow Festival, the 2012 and 2013 311 Caribbean Cruise, Bamboozle 2012, 2012 Charm City Music Festival, 2013 Cali Roots Festival & the entire 2012 Vans Warped Tour. In 2011, after concluding the Last Calls and Liabilities tour with respected contemporaries, Pepper, they were honored with being included on the ever-popular Hollister Holiday Playlist. They were listed on MTV's Top 100 Bands to Watch and even featured 2 downloadable songs on the popular video game ROCK BAND.