As a lifelong Less Than Jake fan, it was truly a dream come true, having the opportunity to interview none other than, Peter 'JR' Wasilewski. One-fifth of the Gainesville, Ska Punk Gods, JR sat down to discuss lockdown, legacy and the band's coming of age. You guys have been on a fantastic journey together over the years, touring the world far and wide. Is there a specific tour that stands out to you guys as your coming of age? "I think there were a couple of important tours for us as a band; Caffeine Nation tour with Descedents in 1996, a tour we did with Bad Religion in 2002 and probably the first tour we did with Reel Big Fish in 2007. All were fun and we grew a lot as a band during and after those tours."
Are there any artists or bands you'd credit with helping you get to where you are today? "Descendents, ALL, Iron Maiden, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Snuff are all huge influences on our music."
"That said which bands or musicians have been the best to support you on tour?" "We love The Skints, Masked Intruder, Punchline, Mest, and Keep Flying are all pretty great. I mean we’ve had a lot of bands support us over the years: Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Yellowcard, New Found Glory, The Story So Far. We have been blessed to be surrounded by such great acts."
What's the best piece of advice you've received from a fellow musical professional? "Realize what your strengths are and focus on those. Don’t try to be something you’re not."
In thirty/forty years time, how do you think LTJ will be remembered? "I try not to think about legacy while I’m still doing it so, hopefully, the memory we leave would be positive and fun."
COVID-19 has obviously wreaked havoc on tours across the world, disrupting thousands of music events. How have you guys been spending lockdown and what are you missing most from pre-lockdown? "It’s actually not very different than being off tour for us. The only difference is the length of time between performances lol. We’ve been discussing new ways to present ideas to our fans and trying to work through them all.
It’s been interesting because it’s forced creative people to be creative again. Watching what others are doing (or aren’t doing) is interesting, too. Not fun at all but I am learning a lot about people. "
What songs are getting you through isolation? "Lots of death metal."
If you could give one message to the world during these unprecedented times, what would that message be? "Value what is really important in life and learn to recognize what those things are." Once again, I cannot thank JR enough for taking the time to talk to EarBuds.Blog. For anyone wishing to get a better insight into JR's life during lockdown be sure to watch his Instagram stories, where you can even find the perfect lasagne recipe!
As a massive fan of Less Than Jake, I had to throw a video in here somewhere! Give a listen to one of my favourite LTJ tracks below!
Keep up to date with Peter 'JR' Wasilewski on social media: