• Fusion Shows Presale – Thursday, June 27 @ 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
• General Onsale – Friday, June 28 at 10:00 am
Less Than Jake
Although formed in 1992 as a power pop trio with heavy punk leanings, Less Than Jake steadily transformed into a ska-inspired punk band with the addition of a horn section. Vocalist/guitarist Chris Demakes, bassist Shaun, and drummer/lyricist Vinnie Fiorello formed the first incarnation of the group, which took root in Gainesville, Florida. After Shaun became the group’s roadie, however, he was replaced by bassist Roger Manganelli, who picked up the instrument just to join the band. During 1993-1994, the group added its first horn player, Jessica Mills, and soon after came trombone player Buddy Schaub. Right before their first tour, however, Schaub went to Europe with friends, so saxophonist Derron Nuhfer filled in for shows during his absence.
With various 7″ releases under their belt, Less Than Jake debuted in 1994 with the album Pezcore, on Dill Records. Losers, Kings & Things We Don’t Understand and Greased followed on No Idea, and the group signed with Capitol for its major-label debut, 1996’s Losing Streak. The album was full of the band’s wry, fast-paced brand of ska-punk anthems, producing such fan favorites as “Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts” and “Jen Doesn’t Like Me Anymore.” Upon the album’s completion, Jessica left to pursue teaching, and (ex-Slapstick trombonist) Pete came on board. Around this time, Fiorello also started his own record label, Fueled by Ramen, with friend John Janick. Hello Rockview followed in 1998, and spawned a minor college radio hit with “History of a Boring Town.” In fall 2000, the band released Borders & Boundaries on Fat Wreck, as well as landing the opening spot on Bon Jovi’s North American tour.
Nuhfer left the band after the album’s recording (and later went on to join Gunmoll), and Less Than Jake found his replacement in ex-Spring Heel Jack horn player Pete Wasilewski — though to avoid any name confusion within the band, the second Pete was dubbed JR, and remained JR even after the first Pete decided to leave soon after the 2001 Warped Tour. Over the years, Less Than Jake issued more 7″ and limited-edition vinyl releases than most people can keep track of, so the bandmembers compiled some of their favorite tracks on one record for 2002’s Goodbye Blue and White, named in honor of their original tour van. Anthem followed in 2003 on Sire; B Is for B-Sides was issued a year later, comprised of tracks that didn’t make it to Anthem’s final cut. The DVD retrospective People’s History of Less Than Jake appeared a month later. The four-song EP Absolution for Idiots and Addicts was released in April 2006, with their next full-length, In with the Out Crowd, following a month later. The latter album’s slicker, more pop-oriented nature received mixed reactions from fans. In 2007, Less Than Jake announced that they had left Warner Bros.; a year later, the group formed the Sleep It Off label and released GNV FLA, an album loosely based on (and dedicated to) their hometown. Their ninth album, See the Light, arrived in the fall of 2013. Their fondness for the EP format saw them release the seven-track Sound the Alarm in 2017. ~ John Bush, Rovi
Bowling For Soup
There’s a song on Bowling For Soup’s 2014 Greatest Hits Album (Songs People Actually Liked: Volume 1) – “20 Years, That’s A Lot Of Beers”, a lighthearted autobiographical sprint through all the things the band had achieved together in their first two decades. It’s a song full of fun and camaraderie, which sums up Bowling For Soup perfectly; they have always felt like your friends as well a band, and of course, they are the band you can wave to! Well, you can add a whole load more beers to that, because as the band approach their twenty fifth anniversary in the coming Summer of 2019, the world of Bowling For Soup is a very exciting place to be a part of. Natives of Denton, Texas – which may now hold the record for town or city named dropped in the most songs by any band ever thanks to “BFS,” Bowling For Soup’s unique brand of hooked filled pop punk music has gone all around the world and back again. Songs such as “High School Never Ends,” “Punk Rock 101,” “1985” and of course the Grammy nominated “Girl All The Bad Guys Want” resonate as much today as when they were written and are proving extremely popular in the modern streaming world.
Finding their niche back in the 1990’s would be tough when the musical climate was in serious shift. “We were just the stereotypical, small town guys with nothing else to do – starting a band to keep ourselves out of trouble” recalls frontman Jaret Reddick looking back. There was certainly no trend to follow, every other band seemed to be genre jumping to try and catch “the next big thing” without knowing what “the next big thing was,” leaving the members of Bowling For Soup with no option to just go out and have fun. Brought up on a heady diet of 80’s John Hughes Movies, LA Hair Metal, Steve Martin comedy routines (which spawned the band’s name) and hook laden punk rock, BFS hit the ground running on the simple blueprint – have a good time and pretty soon, everyone else will join in!
Bowling For Soup are a band who’ve moved with the times throughout a period of turbulence for the music industry. From their DIY roots, through to being on a major record label for many years (Jive Records) and onto setting up their own operation, they are a band who’ve found success in every way. The last decade has seen Bowling For Soup go on to form their own cottage industry, recording and releasing albums on their own terms. “We’re in control of everything now. If we decide we wanna do something, we just do it – we don’t need to ask anyone’s permission. It also makes you feel super proud when you do something yourself and it’s a success,” reveals Reddick. Being early adopters of fan funded music, the band have fan interaction to the next level with each project proving more and more rewarding and successful for both the band and their fan base.
The last couple of years have seen Bowling For Soup hit heights equal to when they first truly grabbed the world’s attention with Drunk Enough To Dance back in the early 2000’s. They returned to the UK with a bang in early 2016 with the huge “How About Another Round Tour” to wild acclaim. The success of that tour brought a new experience for the band with their first ever arena tour in the UK alongside Steel Panther in October of that year, winning rave reviews and proving without a doubt, that even on the largest of stages, a Bowling For Soup show is always intimate and always entertaining. Within days of the arena tour, the band released their most recent studio album Drunk Dynasty. The album was lauded by the fans and the music press on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean alike. If that wasn’t enough for one year, they still had time to release their inaugural Acoustic live album and DVD, Acoustic In A Freakin’ English Church.
Spring 2017 brought Bowling For Soup’s most high profile UK festival slot when they headlined the Fireball Stage at the May bank holiday weekend triple Slam Dunk Festival. They followed this up with the announcement of the return of The Get Happy Tour to the UK for the first time in over a decade. That tour, alongside The Aquabats and Get Happy alumni Army Of Freshmen, was to become Bowling For Soup’s biggest ever UK tour, culminating in the band’s biggest ever headline show at London’s Brixton Academy on the 17th of February 2018. That show was a magical evening that would later become their new live album and DVD (Older, Fatter, Still The Greatest Ever: Live From Brixton). Taking things back to the US for the Summer of 2018, Jaret, Gary and Chris, joined by new bassist Rob Felicetti, went back to their roots by taking part in the final cross country touring edition of the Vans Warped Tour, bringing in enormous crowds no matter what time of day they played on Warped’s revolving line up. The end of 2018 saw yet another first, returning to their home-away-from-home for their first ever UK tour in the holiday season, The Almost Christmas Tour.
Plans are in the works to celebrate their 25th anniversary in true Bowling For Soup style in the great state of Texas with full details soon to be announced. After that, there’s the small matter of their impending return to the UK’s Reading and Leeds Festivals, having not played there since 2003. In an industry that is ever evolving, Bowling For Soup are ready for their next chapter, armed with their infectious personality, they will always be Bowling For Soup you know and love. And let’s not forget, they’ll always be the band that waves back!