One of the senior bands at Warped Tour, Less Than Jake is also one of the only bands appearing who can actually claim to be punk rock. Saxophonist Peter “J.R.” Wasilewski speaks to MXDWN about the futures of Less Than Jake and Warped Tour.
You guys still have a lot of the actual tour ahead of you, how do you prepare for something like that?
You don’t. I don’t think you can ever be prepared for the Warped Tour. You just got to do it. It’s like when people have a baby and throw him in the pool to see if he sinks or swims, that’s how this works.
Is it equally traumatizing?
It doesn’t hurt as much as it used to because I know kind of what is going to happen, but you never truly know and the elements are different day to day.
I want to know why you guys decided to do the cover of Animaniacs?
We did a whole EP of TV songs. We took a lot of 2010 off. So we were sitting around watching TV and decided to do a whole cover EP of TV songs and commercials. No one had done it, so we figured it would be fun. We just call it the TV EP, and one of our favorite shows is Animaniacs. That and Spongebob and That ’70s Show. A bunch of different stuff.
That must have been fun to make.
It was interesting. We weren’t sitting around in the studio worrying about the damned guitar riff; you just play it.
How many years have you been going to Warped Tour? Not even playing, but just as a kid when you would come to see the show?
I think ’96 was the first I was at. It’s been a while.
And what would you say is the craziest thing you’ve seen over all of those years?
In ’99, when Eminem played in New York, he got pelted by water bottles.
I heard about that.
In 2006, Fat Mike from NOFX cut my hair off on stage. That was fun. Things happen all of the time and you don’t really think about it because it’s a tour, ya know? Plus most of the really crazy things that happened I was probably too drunk to remember anyway.
I know what you mean. Do you guys have a new album coming out?
We have a new EP available. It’s available only on the Warped Tour and our website, LessThanJake.com. It’s called Greetings From Less Than Jake. 5 songs for 5 bucks, you can’t beat that. We’re playing a couple of those songs on the tour.
How many Warped Tours have you played so far?
This is our tenth year. Twelfth if you count Australian and European Warped Tours.
And I don’t.
Then 10 domestic.
Music on the Warped Tour has never been homeostatic. You would be a good candidate to predict what the Warped Tour will look like in 10 years from now.
I don’t know, man. Considering the amount of laptops I see around here, I doubt there will be a lot of people actually playing guitars.
I want to see J.R. on a digital guitar with gray hair.
It’s hard to say. It’s crazy just to see where it is now from 10 years ago. It’s crazy to see where it’s going to go, but Kevin is a smart guy and he’s always kept it fresh and what is in the now, and hey, I’m not in the now. A lot of these bands, their music deserves to exist regardless of what my personal opinion is of them. A lot of people felt the same way about our music when we started, like, “Those guys suck!” Those people probably still feel the same way.
Who knows if in 10 years Asking Alexandria is going to be headlining Warped Tour?
I hope so. Maybe they will take us our on tour with them.
What would you say is your favorite year of the tour?
2009 is my favorite. It was us, Bad Religion, NOFX, Against Me for a little bit of it… it was just fun. A lot of friends were there and I don’t know if that will even happen again. It was always hold a special place in my heart.
I know you guys have a lot of side projects. Do you have any collaborations coming up?
We’re kind of like a magician; we just let things appear.
That’s a good analogy. What are you excited about after this tour?
Yeah, I’m going to take a two month nap. As long as the Warped Tour is, I’m going to take that long of a nap.
So far have you seen anyone perform that you like but didn’t expect to like?
I haven’t watched a lot of band. We haven’t gotten to the point of, “Oh, a have lots of free time, so I’m going to go see these bands.” The only band I have seen was a band called The Bots, and they were great. There is also a band called Bad Rabbits out here that is probably the best band on the Warped Tour. And people just don’t know about them, but they will.
I love Bad Rabbits. They are the type of band you expect to be headlining festivals like Warped Tour in the future.
I hope so. If all is right in the world, at least.
What kind of music do you listen to when your hungover or coming down?
Classical. Mozart of Beethoven or Bach.
That sounds like good rebound listening.
Yeah, it’s such an audio assault out here all day that music you don’t here out here is nice. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but with this stuff coming at me all day, I just need a little change.
I feel that. Thanks so much for having a word with me; it’s been really enlightening.
Photos by Dave Gatson