“[Starbucks is] the McDonalds of coffee, you always know what you’re getting no matter where you are. The Starbucks in Roswell tastes just like the Starbucks in New York City, and the Starbucks in London tastes just like the Starbucks in Tokyo,” he explains.
Armed with a pair of drumsticks, a savvy business sense and a way with his words, Fiorello is indeed at the very creative center of the band that’s still kicking after 14 strong years. He’s also taken on other business endeavors along the way, starting the independent record label Fueled By Ramen (home to Panic! At the Disco and the Academy is..) as well as a toy company called Mokey Vs. Robot. With that much on his plate no wonder the man needs fuel to get him through each day.
Based out of Gainesville, Fla., Fiorello along with bandmates Chris Demakes (vocals, guitars), Roger Manganelli (bass, vocals), JR Wasilewski (saxophone) and Buddy Schaub (trombone) have been on the road, promoting their first release since 2004’s B is for B-sides.
Recorded in 18 days in a Los Angeles studio, the bands upcoming album, In With the Out Crowd—originally titled The Precise Dismantling of Family and Friends—contains 12 tracks that lyrically shows the band in reflective state of life, and musically, it takes a departure from the ska-infused pop punk the band built its reputation on.
“[The album] takes a good hard look at who I am as a person writing the lyrics and who my friends are, what they are thinking, how they are living their life and how my family lives their life,” Fiorello says.
Though some critics may pen the album as being more mature, he says it’s not about maturing, it’s just about progressing as a band.
“There is certainly a departure from the classic Less Than Jake sound but no matter how far it gets out, we always pull it back in with songs that sound like our band very much,” he says. “A record is a snapshot of who the band is at that moment of writing and recording it. Unless you listen to the same music over and over again it has to change. I’m not the same person I was back [when we started]. I’ve experienced different things.”
As the band continues to experience life and grow, what hasn’t changed, however, is the band’s status in the music industry.
“We are never the flavor of the month,” Fiorello says with a chuckle. “It’s kind of a joke amongst our band.”
Hence, the title of the bands album.
“In With the Out Crowd are the kids that don’t have the super tight pants on or the studs on their clothes, or whatever the flavor of the month is that people latch on to. The kids that like us, the fans that like us are just regular people. In With the Out Crowd is everyone else that’s not in that 1 percent of cool.”
Less Than Jake may joke about the fact they’ve never been the flavor of the month, but if you think about it, most trends hit big and die fast. At least the band can pride itself on the fact that they’ve maintained a steady and honest career, rather than just being a name of the past.
So, what does Fiorello believe Less Than Jake’s secret to be?
“Well, I don’t have a crystal ball or anything. Do we write pop songs? Yeah, we do cause writing pop songs are fun and catchy. We don’t play garage rock and we don’t play urban hip-hop,” he begins. “I‘d like to think that we are just regular people and we try to respect people that respect us, but who knows what it really is.”
Ultimately, it’s just about trying your hardest, Fiorello stresses.
“Write the songs that mean the most to you without thinking about anyone else at any point in time. You have to think, I want to write the songs that I want to write about. And it has to come from the heart.”
Less Than Jake’s EP Absolution For Idiots will be released on April 4 and In With the Out Crowd will be released on May 23. For more information, visit www.lessthanjake.com.