Interview: Less Than Jake

By Ashley Partridge

Less Than Jake are finally releasing their first live album, ‘Live from Astoria’, a full recording of their April 29th 2001 show from London. They’ll be putting out on the 15th anniversary of the gig, which just so happens to be the same day they play Groezrock.  I spoke to the band’s drummer/lyricist, Vinnie, to ask about the record.

Why have you chosen a set from London Astoria in 2001 as the basis for a live album?

We played a three show residency there. That particular show was the first show was the last night. Each one of those shows were sold out. That was something we were blown away by. We sold out three Londons shows. We just happened to have some stuff to record with so we thought ‘why not?’

The UK and, in particular, London, just seems to have a great vibe for the band. Even to this day, the UK is still passionate about the band and we’re still passionate about the fans that come to see us play. As a thank you, it’s like ‘here’s this live record’ because it was from a special period in time.

A lot of those people are still fans and we’re fans of the venue. It has a place for them in their memories in better and cooler times. A lot of those people went on to university or got real jobs and started families. This is just a really cool time capsule that we weren’t meaning to do but just took the opportunity.

We used the opportunity to record it without any real thought as to what we’d do with it. So when it came time to do the live thing, we didn’t want to do something now, so we looked back into the time capsule.

The thing about the record is that what you hear is what was recorded. There’s no studio trickery. There’s mistakes and joking, everything that goes into a Less Than Jake show is there. It’s a moment in time that we’re putting out on vinyl. We’re thankful for London and for the memories.

What do you remember from the gig?

Man, I just remember how loud it was. Every song; you hear it. It’s maximum volume going over the PA. I remember playing those shows and it being loud and hot. It was a very cool moment.

Were there any other shows you considered for the live treatment?

There were a lot of contenders but this was the one.

Would you consider doing more of them?

Maybe, we’ll see how it goes with this before we look at that type of material but we have a lot of it. We have different phases of the band; from when we first started to where we are now. We’ll put this out and we’ll see how it’s greeted.

What are some of your favourite live albums?

I only have one live album that I listen to…maybe two. The Descendents’ “Liveage!” is one of them and the other is, not so much an album but releases of songs, but Iron Maiden always does a great job.

Looking back, does 2001 seem like a totally different Less Than Jake?

I can only speak for myself in that but it’s been the blink of an eye. It doesn’t feel like it’s been 15 years, it feels like yesterday. I feel the same. I feel exactly the same. The only thing that’s different now is that the things I’m passionate about, I’m more passionate about.

Such as?

Music, art, family, friends, travelling. As you get older, you start to prioritise the things that mean the most to you. You get a finite time inbetween the shit you’re responsible for. You priroitise the things you want to allow into your free time or personal space.

Is it a juggling act?

It’s always been a juggling act but now it’s just a bit more because I have a daughter and other things that I do.

Are you the super cool punk dad?

She’s 4 so I’m still just dad.

The ‘Live from Astoria’ vinyl release will coincide with a short, post-Groezrock, UK tour which kicks off May 2nd at the Kingston Hippodrome.

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