Less Than Jake’s Vinnie Fiorello: Touring Ruins Relationships

Less Than Jake has been playing their upbeat, horn-infused style of ska-punk for 21 years, but I’m guessing many of you have no idea who they are. And others of you who do recall the name from back in the day probably wrote them off as your musical tastes evolved to appreciate acts like Barenaked Ladies, Nickelback, Slipknot, or Good Charlotte, depending on which letter represents your generation.

I stole borrowed Less Than Jake’s Losing Streak album from a friend in the summer of 1996, just before entering the ninth grade. I then stole borrowed that same friend’s Discman so I could listen to it on a loop. And I then suggested that same friend purchase another Losing Streak disc because his had been irreparably scratched by some asshole named “Me.” The point here? I’m a terrible friend.

But I’ve been a good fan to LTJ. I even gave them a shoutout in my high school yearbook because I was that goddamn cool in high school. The band is set to release their ninth studio album, See The Light, on November 12. I spoke with LTJ drummer and lyricist Vinnie Fiorello about it, as well as a few other things I’ve wanted to know for the past 17 years …

• How are your lyrics compiled and who edits them?
• Are your decisions as a band as money-based as other peoples’ job decisions?
• How long did it take to develop thick skin to brush off criticism?
• How does becoming a father change you?
• Why the hell don’t you play songs off of Losers, Kings, and Things We Don’t Understand? (Is hearing “24 Hours in Paramus” live ONE TIME before I die too much to ask for?)

Above all, if you think the interview sucks, I still got a copy of See The Light three weeks early. And for the record, it rocks. I’m listening to it right now. Again. For the 200th time.