This interview was done with Buddy (Trombone) from Less Than Jake in May 2003, just after ‘Anthem’ had been released, and when they played the Kentish Town Forum.
RN: So how come it took so long to finish this record?
Buddy: I think it’s basically because we took a lot longer to write it, and whatever. When we first started writing it – not last fall but the fall before that – we thought that we were going to get done and record it in the spring, and that’s what we were telling people so it would been out sooner, but by the time we actually got around to it it was the next fall, you know so..! And then yeah after you’ve recorded it takes a while for it to come out, for the ball to get rolling, and then actually push it out. It was actually suppossed to come out in April too originally, but then it got pushed back to. So yeah it was suppossed to come out in the middle of April but it got pushed back again! But that’s how it works the bureaucracy dammit! (laughs)
RN: So how come you decided to go to Warner?
Buddy: Well basically the A&R guy there, our A&R guy there, the artist rep person, was the same guy that was at Capitol and he moved over to Warner Brothers and… and we were entertaining the idea of trying to go over to a major label anyway just to go for it one more time, just to get a bit more press, a bit more radio, try and get more fans you know. You can only get so much publicity out of Fat you know what I mean? It was fun being on Fat though we love those guys and they did everything that they said they were going to do, but they can’t do anymore than that. So yeah if we’re ever going to do it, we’ve got one more chance kind of thing! So we figured we’d just go for it.
RN: So have you done anything cool with the layout, inlay or whatever with the extra cash you have?
Buddy: Umm well, not in the same way that we did with Borders [in the US it had like a twirly thing on the back - it's pretty cool], but we definetly did something cool on this record. Vinny came up with the idea of sending his lyrics to fifteen different artists and had them interpret the lyrics in to a painting or whatever it was, and it came out really awesome, we just got them back the other day cause we got them because the first people that pre-ordered the record, the first 2,000 people or something, got signed ones and we got the boxes of CD covers the other day and it was the first time we’d got to see them! And it came out awesome though!
RN: So are you happy with how the record turned out in general then?
Buddy: I think so yeah. I think it’s the best thing we’ve done, but then you always do and you’re not like, ‘oh this one sucks I can’t believe we did this’! It’s definetly one of the favourite albums that we’ve done.
RN: So is the single an indication of what the album sounds like?
Buddy: Not really actually. The albums actually pretty varied it’s got a lot of different sounds to it. So the single’s not neccessarily the best song on the record, which is kind of weird… But yeah I don’t know whether you read Kerrang!
RN: No I don’t read it!
Buddy: Oh excuse me (laughs)! But yeah anyways we had an interview with us and they did a review of the record, and they reviewed the record and they gave us a good review, but then they reviewed the single they slammed. Sonically what it sounds like, that’s what the rest of the album sounds like, you know what I mean, but musically it’s pretty varied, I mean there’s a reggae song and there’s a full like slow downed song and stuff.
RN: Cause yeah the other strange thing about the single is that there aren’t any horns on it?!?
Buddy: Well actually yeah what’s weird about that is that there were actually horns on that song and then we took them off for the radio, but they’re still on for the record, but yeah they’re off for the radio side of it because… you’ve just got to kind of pick your battles with that kind of stuff, and the radio department felt that as our first single it was a good idea to take them off because there isn’t anything like that on the radio right now, so it wasn’t going to get played, maybe, and we didn’t want to hurt any of our chances, so we were like ‘fuck it do whatever’. We left them on the record, which is weird though because if you hear it on the radio and then you guy the record then you’re going to hear something different!
RN: So you did like a self censorship thing?
Buddy: Yeah sort of. It’s a little wacky.
RN: Are you not worried about any kind of backlash to that? The Johnny Quests of the world?
Buddy: Ahh (shrugs shoulder) ahh, I don’t care anymore. As long as we’re happy with what we’re doing, you know what I mean! You can’t be a sellout, to use the cliched word or whatever, as long as you, as long as you’re making all the deciscions still, and like I said you pick and choose your battles, you know what I mean! The label has good points on a lot of stuff so you have to work with them too, and that was how we screwed ourselves on Capitol because we were always working against them and fighting everything, and you can’t do that you’re a team you know! They’re not trying to fuck us over, they’re trying to help us out!
RN: Fair enough… OK did you record the album in Gainsville again?
Buddy: No actually out in LA, oh well we did the drums in New Orleans and then the rest of it was in LA.
RN: Yeah I just remembered you were in that huge beach house thing weren’t you!?!
Buddy: Yeah, yeah which was pretty cool. Yeah it was pretty crazy. But I mean it was definetly good because I mean it was different, because I mean if you’re in a studio sometimes it can turn out to be some cramped dark weird like, it gives you that almost like depressing vibe whereas this was down by the beach, and in the sun, with big windows and stuff, so all of that was just awesome!
[cue chris interjecting: This is Australian for piss]
Buddy: He’s just commenting on the Fosters tall boys!
RN: So are you happy with playing the same festival as Maiden?
Buddy: Well we’re not, not really, cause they’e playing the day before – it sucks! Because we’re playing a show the day before down in london so we can’t even go. But the bands that we are playing with are awesome! Like NOFX is going to be there! But Limp Bizkit is going to be there though which sucks!
RN: So were you considering cancelling the Astoria show to go see Maiden then?
Buddy: No I think that it’s better that we play a show! (laughs) We actually saw Iron Maiden before. Like when we were playing on the Warped tour they were playing in the same town, in New York, we got tickets to go see it, and like we called for a cab to come pick us up, and a limo came! So we showed up in a limo, and they had those little baby beers and we were chugging them on the way there, and then we got to the venue and pulled up right at the front of the club to the Iron Maiden show. It was fucking awesome! And when we went to the Kerrang! awards where we won that spirit of indpedence award or whatever Bruce Dickinson was there so we got to meet him. And his kid was like a fan of ours and wanted to get Roger’s autograph, and he was freaking out and we’re like ‘we wanna get your dads autograph’! (laughs) The generations collide.
RN: Was it weird getting that award?
Buddy: What like winning it, or the actual awards ceremony?!? Because the awards ceremony was awesome, it was crazy.
RN: Yeah but was it weird that you actually won it!
Buddy: Oh yaeh no it was totally weird beacuse that’s like the first thing we’ve ever won! And Billy from the Cult handed us the award, it was pretty crazy. And when you go there to the awards ceremony there are all these stars there, so we were just running around trying to get pictures, like Brian May was there, Rob Halford, it was like a metal graveyard…
RN: Yeah it’s the only thing they can do now.
Buddy: Yeah just go down to the awards ceremonies. Every table, every table had a slew of alcohol, and the even had Absinthe, which makes you hallucinate and stuff, so it got a little dangerous that night.
RN: So did you do the New Found Glory tour thing for the reason that you signed to Warner?
Buddy: Yeah kinda. I mean that tour was awesome, but there were like 6,000 people every night who had never heard of us before so, hopefully, that’s the plan! Not that I really want ten year old girls walking around trying to look like Roger!
RN: So you’re basically not wanting to rest on your laurels?
Buddy: Sort of. I mean look at bands like All – who used to be the descendents – they can’t rest on their laurels they’re amazing muscians, and they still tour, but they only play to like a hundred people a night! At some point you can’t rest on your laurels. I mean our goal as a band originally was to play to as many as people as possible too. I mean that’s why you start to be a band, it’s to get your music out there. It’s so that you can get everyone who you want to hear it, hear it. So if you get on the radio, and get all the other crap that goes along with that more people hear your music. But I know it sucks for all the people that heard it first, and the personal side of it is kind of lost, but yeah it’s been ten years of trying to get people to listen to it!
RN: So is that why you play three Astoria shows instead of one Brixton Academy one?
Buddy: Uh huh, I mean that, I think that’s a good idea. And yeah I think that’s what we’d do I think if we ever got to that kind of, like there has to be a judgement call of when you think you can play like a big venue, like a hockey arena or something, and it’d almost be better just to do two nights in a town and play like at the smaller venue. And I mean money ways it’s better too because you don’t have to pay for as much shit as you do when you have to rent out the whole big stadium and stuff there’s much more cost attached to it so you can keep the ticket prices down, and do some other cool stuff as well, but it does mean that the tour is twice as long though! (laughs)
RN: It’s more fun though as well!
Buddy: It’s definetly more fun for the show, and we definetly had to work a little harder on that Good Charlotte, New Found Glory tour cause the kids were that much further away and we had like half and hour to play, and so you have to try and amp people up in half an hour when they’re standing further away. It’s kind of hard! (laughs)
RN: So have you bought back the Pez heads that the kid made you back for this tour?
Buddy: No you can’t, you can’t overuse them!
RN: So are you trying to get away from the Pez connection?!?
Buddy: Oh no, no, it’s still a passion of Roger and Vinnie’s, not my passion… I’m more into the Simpsons.
RN: Oh yeah that’s what you find cool about the UK that there’s so much Simpsons stuff here!
Buddy: Oh yeah there is entirely too much Simpsons stuff here. It’s not cool though, well it is, but it’s not, it’s dangerous for my bank account, I want to buy everything and try and stuff it in my bags. Leave my clothes here and just put simpsons stuff there!
RN: So that’s what you’d want people to bring if they were bringing you stuff?!?
Buddy: Oh yeah definetly, if they’re going to bring me anything bring me Simpsons things, that and coffee!
RN: Oh do you hate the coffee in this country?
Buddy: Oh no I just love coffee, if they were gong to bring me a present then they could bring me that! (laughs) Plus.. wait, let’s think what else they could bring me, they could bring me a new snowboard…
RN: Oh so are you into snowboarding then?
Buddy: I’m into a lot of things. (laughs)
RN: OK well what are you into outside of the band?
Buddy: Well I play other stuff besides trombone, so I’m into that too, I like playing drums and playing guitar, and stuff, and I do that for a lot of the time that I’m home. My wife. I’m into my wife!
RN: Cause yeah you didn’t come out on the last tour?
Buddy: Oh yeah well that was because of my wrist, you see that scar right there, well you won’t actually be able to see that one the recording, but I had this really weird surgery because one of my bones was messed up. It was really messed up because we weren’t like, we didn’t know how long it was going to heal, but I came through so it’s all good, and that’s the only tour I’ve ever missed it sucked! And of course it was the only tour where we’ve playing to 80,000 people at Reading!
[cue end of tape]
RN: Yeah apparently this dictaphone is like an old style dictaphone so I can’t get new tapes for it so we’re currently re-recording over AFI…
Buddy: Sorry Davey! You just have to reuse the tape until they wither!
RN: So how come you choose American bands to come out with you?
Buddy: Well the Teen Idols are really good friends of ours and so are the Pietasters actually, and we were just trying to think of bands that would be cool to bring over here. And we’ve played a few shows with Allister but we’ve never toured with them! But we were looking for a British band because we’ve toured with like Capdown and with [spunge] and… yeah!
RN: Well I guess Capdown are probably almost too big to be supporting you!
Buddy: Yeah, yeah I think that might have been an issue, I think that we were going to ask them, but it was going to cost us far too much to take them out with us, they’re worth too much money! So are they all huge over here?!?
RN: Yeah like they’re playing the Astoria and stuff.