Less Than Jake might not look the same as they did when you first started listening to them.
“We have less hair and we’re fatter,” laughed Chris Demakes, singer and guitarist for the band.
But in the 20 years Less Than Jake has been together, Demakes said, fewer things have changed than stayed the same.
The five members still maintain a rigorous touring schedule and work hard to maintain their career in the band, but they tour differently now. There are wives and kids involved these days.
“Instead of kissing the dog or the cat and getting in the van and leaving for nine months … we go for two weeks or a month now,” said Demakes, who turns 39 in September.
They’ve never even canceled a show. They’ve missed funerals and birthdays, and they’ve gone on stage with strep throat.
“The people that are there to pay money to see you play, they don’t give a s--t,” Demakes said. “They paid money to see you play and they want to see you play.”
And luckily for their Gainesville fans, new and old, the band is at it again.
Less Than Jake will be getting up to their old tricks Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 at High Dive as part of their 20th anniversary tour.
Demakes said the band is putting together a unique set list for each night, so the shows will be different. In total, they’ll play about 45 of their raucous ska-punk anthems.
“Every show we play is a surprise,” Demakes said. “If it isn’t fun we’ll make it fun.”
To make it even more fun for a few fans, Less Than Jake is participating in a ticket giveaway with the Alligator.
Two pairs of tickets will be given away for each show. To enter, tweet @AlligatorAvenue and @LessThanJake.
Gainesville pop-punk four-piece The Upside will open for Less Than Jake on Aug. 31.
Singer and guitarist Jason Small, 27, said he’s excited to play with a band that’s had an influence on him from a young age.
“It was a dream of ours to play with a couple of the bands that we’ve listened to for years,” he said.
Small advised newcomers to Gainesville’s music scene to show up early, to stake out a good spot in the crowd and to see local acts.
“For any show in town, the local scene really needs people to come early and stay late,” he said.
Demakes, who studied telecommunications at UF until he left to tour with Less Than Jake, encouraged new students to explore campus and the city as much as possible.
“Don’t be sheltered,” he said. “Go check out some random club on campus. Just immerse yourself, there’s so much to do here.”
If you’re a longtime fan and you’re coming to the Gainesville shows, he said, grab a new friend and introduce him or her to the band.
“They can think we’re the ugliest dudes in the world, and not like a single song we play,” Demakes said, “but they’ll still have fun and they’ll still laugh at least once.”