Less Than Jake – the band that has had more influence on my sound than any other band I’ve ever listened to – was the second interview of my Fake Famous career! I’ve hung out with the guys of Less Than Jake before and even had the massive opportunity to share the stage with them on multiple occasions, but never have I had the chance to sit down and picked their brains.
Sitting down with their singer Chris DeMakes, I instantly felt like old friends. It wasn’t even remotely formal and he seemed to genuinely enjoy just hanging out and going back and forth with us. Once again it was a solid mix of personal questions as well as ‘fan’ questions from Facebook.
A few hours before sitting down I got to watch them from the front of their stage, putting on one of the most energetic shows I’ve ever seen them pull off on the main stage of Warped Tour! I went into the interview hoping that I wouldn’t come off too much like a fan-girl, but let’s face it – these guys are the best.
C: Chris DeMakes
J: Josh (SIMGE)
J: So how’s Warped Tour treating you this year?
C: So far so good! Cannot complain.
J: We just interviewed the guys in Reel Big Fish who are obviously huge fans of you guys. On Warped, what other bands are you looking forward to seeing every day?
C: Well it’s about our 4th week out here now and we’ve seen just about anyone we’ve wanted to see. I mean we know a lot of people out here. New Found Glory guys, Reel Big Fish, Sum 41, The Interrupters – ya know, it’s been great. We know a lot more bands here then we did in 2014.
J: It’s like they brought back the “old days”
C: It’s cool cause a lot of those bands that used to play the Warped Tour haven’t played in many years. It’s cool – we’re starting to see some of the older fans, like over 25.
J: So how many Warped Tours have you been on now?
C: Many! Today we played our 391st show of Warped Tour! More than a year of my life was spent on a warped tour stage!
J: Would you change any of it?
C: I would change every bit of it, yes – haha!
J: How often do you have to wash the suit?
C: If you do poor man’s dry cleaning and take it immediately when you’re done…hang it outside…spray it with Downy Wrinkle release…it smells fine!
J: What’s the worst thing you’ve made Jimmy do, either on or off stage?
C: Probably make him make out with ugly chicks! That was a long time ago. Back in the day we used to haze him and we picked him some uuuugly ones. He loved it.
J: If you could tour with any band – live, dead, up and coming – who would it be?
C: Probably the first incarnation of Menudo! It would be great to travel back in time to 1984 and go back to Mexico City to open up for Menudo. They probably wouldn’t like us…
J: You guys ever prank each other?
C: Oh all the time!
J: Total opposite of Reel Big Fish then – they claim it’s how you end up hating each other. What do you guys do to each other?
C: Oh you know…buy vibrators and dildos. Leave them under people’s pillows in the bunk and have them mill around your head like ‘zzzzzzzz.’ Like ‘what the fuck is that? Son of a bitch – i got vibrated.’ then it goes to somebody else’s pillow, but it always eventually ends up back in yours. The best is when it ends up in your backpack and you go through security! They notice the batteries at the airport so they pull out this big long dildo and it’s like…yeah that’s me. You just gotta take it!
J: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve learned about each other? After all this time you’ve gotta know some crazy shit about each other
C: Our bass player’s feet are the worst smelling thing you’ve ever smelled in your life. He’s got dreadlocks running off the bottom of his feet.
K: We popped the secret that Aaron Barrett (Reel Big Fish) has a massive outie belly button!
C: Yeah it’s like the size of half a golf ball! It’s disturbing!
J: Post warped plans – What do you have going on?
C: We’ll be on the road all year! Going to England and Europe in October. Got some hometown shows in Gainesville. It’s our 5th anniversary of Wake and Bake so we’re doing that. We’re busy up until thanksgiving.
J: How do you guys tour all year without hating each other?
C: We’ve been doing it so long that we probably would have broke up in our 10th year if we hated each other. It’s been mostly the same four guys for 24 years. Our sax player JR is the new guy and has been with us for 17 years! At the end of the day, not to break it down to brass tax, but most bands are pussies. There’s gonna be drama, there’s gonna be bullshit – deal with it! We didn’t write the playbook on longevity in the band, but you see why bands break up. It’s pretty comical at times. A lot of people have other aspirations, but at the end of the day if this is what you wanna do, you gotta do it.
J: When you guys first started, did you ever think it would get this big?
C: No! We didn’t think it would last 4 or 5 years. It wasn’t even for fun, we basically were playing to our friends for a free case of beer. One gig led to another!
J: What’s your favorite tattoo that you’ve got on you?
C: I only have one! I have super dry skin and dermatitis and it looks like shit! This one’s 20 years old – I would have been covered with them like Nikki Sixx, but doesn’t look good! I don’t regret it though. It’s some art from our losing streak record.
J: If you had to get a mascot on your skin, who would it be?
C: I’d get the mascot from Iron Maiden – I wouldn’t even use my own band’s! Would totally get Eddie on my arm!
J: This one’s a bit more personal: You guys actually got me started into ska punk and got me wanting to be in a band. We’ve shared the stage a handful of times and it’s been some of the best gigs of my life! I’m looking forward to whatever it is you’ve got next. Is there an album in the works?
C: Yeah we’re working on a few new songs now! We’re gonna be on the road until the end of the year so we need to find a time to record them and put them together.
J: Thanks so much for hanging out, Chris!
C: Have a good one, guys!