Vinnie Fiorello is an American drummer, lyricist and a founding member of the ska punk band Less Than Jake. As a child, Fiorello's family owned a dog named Jake who was "treated like a king" according to the band's website FAQ page. As a result, everything in the house became "Less Than Jake", spawning the band's name. Fiorello is known to be a collector of Pez dispensers, as is his Less Than Jake bandmate Roger Manganelli. Fiorello grew up in New Jersey but moved to Gainesville, Florida at the age of 16. As a result, almost every Less Than Jake album has a reference to New Jersey. Though his drumming style does not reflect it, Fiorello was influenced by Dave Lombardo of Slayer. It was his idea to record two Slayer cover versions and to release a 7". These two songs are found on the rarities collection Goodbye Blue and White. As the lyricist, Fiorello is generally regarded as the symbolic frontman for the band, despite being the drummer, and is usually the subject of any interviews with the band as it was he and Chris Demakes, the band's guitarist, who founded the band at the University of Florida in 1992.
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Hey guys, Vinnie with Less Than Jake here! You can find me on Twitter at @LessThanVinnie, and the band at @LessThanJake. Instagram is @fiorellovinnie and the band is @LessThanJake there, too. Make sure to check us out!
I'm here with /u/courtiebabe420, live from Riot Fest Chicago, and I'm ready to get started. So, Ask Me Anything!
EDIT: Alright guys - that's it. I've gotta prepare for our show in a bit! Thanks for hanging out, and don't forget to check us out online!
It seems like for a while after In With the Out Crowd first came out you guys didn't really like it and often made fun it at shows, rarely playing songs off of it. I've noticed though that more recently it seems like LTJ has been more supportive of the album? Do you feel this is accurate, could you maybe talk through how your feelings about that album have changed or not changed over the years?
With In With the Out Crowd, it was a tough record because of Warner Brothers and the band being at odds. Warner Brothers wanted a very radio heavy record, and it put us in a very odd position of saying "Well it either has to be this way or the record will be shelved or put on hold." So we kind of pushed through knowing that was there, so it put us at odds with the label.
So I think the the songs on the album are good, but the production was flawed. After the frustration with the record and the label and how that played out, after that subsided, we can do those songs live and move on from how it happened in the past. I think we kind of reconciled the past, and now we can do good songs that sort of had this bad vibe attached to it.
Do you realize how much easier my life would be if it wasn't for your band??
Ha ha ha Sorry??
vinnie! this is brandon from bumpin uglies, i did that acoustic cover of science that you guys shared on your facebook. what do we have to do to get on tour with you guys? i make an excellent egg white omelette.
Well, I like a nice egg white omelette. But usually we just tour with friends. If we look for other bands, than we look for a larger pool. But right now we just do it with people we know and have know for a while. Going on tour with us is not so complicated, but just have to go through the larger pool of things first. Then we'll open it more.
I love the cover that you did, though. That was awesome!
I could ask a million questions Vinnie. I'll start with this...did you ever get the $500 for the damage to your bus in Detroit?
We never got it from Jay Frenzal, but we we will be seeing him in Australia in a few weeks, and I will be asking for $500 promptly.
Don't really have a question since we sleep next to one another? but we love you and thank you for believing in our band. <3
ha ha I love you back.
Hey Vinnie! Does Johnny Quest still think you guys are sellouts, or is he over it now?
I think the idea of Johnny Quest definitely would think that we did and do things all wrong. But the real Johnny Quest, the guy specifically for the song, he actually works for a large advertising agency so he's actually a bit more corporate than we ever were to be honest. So, he's actually okay with it.
We saw him about 5 years after that song, and had a laugh about it.
Did Mark Hoppus sing a line on 'Rest of my Life?' I swear I hear his voice after the first chorus.
He didn't actually. But he helped write the song and shape the song. But his voice is no where near on there!
Any idea when the HD TV/EP will be released and what sort of tracks we can look forward to??
We're just going through some tracks for consideration now. You probably won't see it until Spring or Summer, maybe?
You've been with the band since the start. How have you and the band managed to stay together for so long and make the music you love?
How do you see the band progressing with the changing style in the music scene?
I think that with any bands, there's sort of a push and a pull amongst 5 individual personalities. The glue that holds everything together is the chemistry amongst all of us. On stage there's that chemistry and sort of holds true on and off - as 5 individuals that chemistry holds us together.
Being in a band this long, you have to learn how to listen to everybody else. Less Than Jake is not just one person's head space, it's a collective head space. That's just an unglamorous thing to say about it, but that's a given for everybody. It's always a push and pull with everybody else, it can never be just one sole vision.
I've loved Less Than Jake since I was a kid and I finally got to see y'all in New Orleans last year. Blew my mind, thank you for that, it was one of the best shows I've ever been to. My question is, what song or songs have y'all been playing for so long that you just absolutely can't stand playing anymore but is so highly requested?
Ya know, we have this conversation before every tour. Chris comes in and says I wanna give Johnny Quest a break on this tour. And then JR goes well if you had gotten to see Johnny Cash and he didn't do Ring of Fire you would be bummed wouldn't you? So we always end up doing Johnny Quest.
That's a roundabout answer, but it's the best answer I have.
Hi vinne! So, ok a couple questions:
What's your favorite song from
Borders and boundaries (it's my favorite LTJ disc)?
Any chance you guys can break out kehoe at next year's wake and bake?
How long do you all plan to keep the wake and bake going? i absolutely love it!
1.) That would be Magnetic North. Favorite, for sure. I think with that song, it sorts of encapsulates what that record is about anyway. That happened while we were touring, when we were doing 3 weeks on, 2 weeks off, 3 weeks on, etc. It was once of those moments and one of those songs that describes the headspace of being gone a lot. Wanting to be home but pushing forward anyway.
2.) I love Kehoe. I love the song and I definitely think that we could definitely do it. We actually practiced that song at a sound check and it was actually pretty good.
3.) As long as people show up laughs. That's a pretty simple answer. It's a fun weekend, it's a long weekend for the band because there's a long lead up to it. There's stuff going on during the day, and then shows at night. It's a good headspace for us because it's great to meet fans during the shows that show up for us.
What is your favorite song on pezcore? If that's possible!
I would go with, um, One Last Cigarette would be. I'm gonna go with that, but even though it's part of - there's another song attached to it, called Short Ideas, but I like One Last Cigarette better than I like Short Ideas. That's my favorite on that record.
Who is the next band that you want to have open for you, and why is it definitely Bumpin Uglies?
Ha ha ha Actually the simple answer is we don't have any US tours planned for 2016, so maybe Bumpin Uglies?
Oh, here's another:
Who comes up with your merch ideas? You guys have the best damn merch I've ever seen from a band.
Collectively, ya know, it's something that we do. It all depends on what it is, but let's say JR was like we really should do an ice scraper for LESS THAN JAKE for the winter tour, that kind of sends me spinning trying to find an ice scraper.
The thing I love to do is find something that's rare and weird to put on the merch table. If someone says we should have this engraved grinder, then you go try to find someone who does engraved grinders, sometimes you find it and sometimes you don't. TO me, that's the chase of doing band merch - doing very rare and weird things. You have to have very odd things - you can't always do t-shirts.
How many LESS THAN JAKE t-shirts can you own? Honestly. I'm happy with my one METALLICA t-shirt.
Hey Vinnie. Long time fan, since the mid 90s when my parents moved us from NJ to Gville. LTJ was the only reason I looked forward to that move. I've seen you guys live about 20 times.
Anyway, what're some of your favorite things about Florida and why is this state so damn weird?
Also, come back to Tallahassee!
I'm convinced that state is weird because the sun bakes your brain. And you've got methamphetamine extremely cheap. So, mix those 2 together and it makes for a very weird state.
Favorite things about Florida... I'll go with Cuban food. Having the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean accessible. Having Cuban culture sort of really like ya know, mixed with old Southern culture together, being warm 9 months out of the year. All those things, for me, keep me happy in Florida.
hey Vinnie, big fan of the latest record See The Light, definitely glad i bought it at Warped 2014. has the songwriting process in the band changed (if at all) over the years? i've always been curious since you guys have been a band for so long. also, any plans on bringing a baritone sax player back into the band?
No plans for a Baritone to come back in, but I'm songwriting for See The Light, it was a very democratic process of writing.
We would sit around at able at our practice space and bounce riffs off of each other. Chris would come in with a riff, I would come in a riff, and JR would come in a riff. We would talk about which riffs would work - I would be like oh, this riff would work with this song.
It was a very, very democratic process. It was talked out much more than it was played out during the process. Everyone has their fingerprints on it, so to speak.
Any chance we'll ever see a vinyl rerelease for anthem?
Yes. AND, you'll see vinyl rereleases coming in through 2016.
Hey Vinnie! I've been listening to Less Than Jake for a couple of years now, and I've been wanting to know, did you ever find Mike Sinkovich?
Yes. And he's doing very well. And was flattered that there was a song about him.
Early on, we would have a lot of songs directly about people that were friends or non-friends, right? And it was a very odd thing to sort of - we did it on purpose, obviously, because those songs were about those people - but those songs are also about the idea of those people as well. It becomes a very odd thing after the fact, because people go that's now how or what happened, but we have to push and pull in the music to make it very general about that five minute conversation that we've had.
which ska band had the most members you've seen, and which ska band had the fewest? also which ska band had the worst ska-pun name?
Okay - worst ska-punk name was LUKE "SKA"WALKER. Second runner up would be ONE THOUSAND FLUSHES.
The most member change award goes to REEL BIG FISH and the least member change I would think goes to THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES.
Hi Vinnie. At what point should a band call it a day and quit? Not saying you should but a band I used to love once famously said that they would quit when it atopped being fun. They did. What would be the point where you no longer wanted to go on?
When, ya know, when the creative process runs dry is when it's time to go. So I think with Less Than Jake, doing the last record See The Light, we still had things to say musically and lyrically, and that energizes the band after 20 years.
I think once the creative process of everyone runs dry, it's time to hang it up and move on. What I'm saying is so subjective, because someone may say our creative process ran dry 20 years ago, but we're still pushing the boundary of what "our genre" is and we still have things to do and say as a band so we soldier on.
Hey Vinnie! So I'm just curious, what are your favorite songs to play? Or are there any songs you wish LTJ played more often but never seem to make the set list?
Fun to play would be Great American Sharp Shooter and All My Best Friends Are Metal Heads. And we actually just had our hometown shows, it's called A Wake And Bake Weekend. We played She's Going To Break Soon, and playing that was a lot of fun. I wished we played it more after this last weekend.
Firstly I wanna say a big thanks to you and the band. You guys were the first band I ever saw live - back in 2010 in London - and were a big part of me getting into Punk Rock and Ska.
Anyhow, my question is, who's your favourite band to tour with?
Favorite band to tour with would be THE DESCENDENTS just because the amount of love we have for the band and their music. THE DESCENDENTS were the first large band to take us on tour as well. It helped our band go from basement level up to club level.
Agghh, please bring She's Gonna Break Soon to the UK in 2016! It was so good at Wake and Bake!!
...Sorry to butt in!
It's entirely possible!
Have you guys ever listened to a band called Reel Big Fish? I think you guys would get along well and your music is rad. You guys should do a tour together!
Edit: my joke was not well received, but thanks for the answer!
Well, we've only been doing tours with Reel Big Fish, so I'm not sure if that's a joke or not.
Yea, they are real good friends of ours and we tour with them a bunch. And we are actually going to Japan and Australia with them a few weeks from now.
do you see acts that are duos or trios have an easier time touring because funds are split among fewer people? would it make sense logistically for a five-piece to split into two acts that just happen to always be on the same bill for the purposes of touring to double revenue?
Ya know, a duo is great, but how can you play ska punk music with two people? Unless it's just two horns - nah, it wouldn't work. You need more than two.
Loved seeing you guys last month in Southampton, UK and last year in Portsmouth. My question is - what's the most shocking thing you've witnessed while playing live?
That would be someone who had a prosthetic leg, took that leg off and threw it on stage at us.
Followed by a six-foot-three transvestite, jumping on stage with us, taking off her wig, and then proceeding to head bang and then jumping back off stage and disappearing.
What animal would you ride into battle?
A bear. A grizzly bear, in fact. Something with like cool metal and horns attached to it as well.
OR - Someone from GWAR.
Hey Vinnie, I fell in love with Less Than Jake and Ska Punk in general about a year ago. Any advice for someone who wants to start a ska band?
Just start it! I think that half the battle with anything is just having the idea, and then acting on that idea. I mean the beautiful thing about music is you don't really have to be great at it to do it.
I mean, if you're going there, that's what led me to my love and passion for punk rock. I listen to, but also I listen to it enough and love it enough that I though I could play it, even though I"m terrible at it. That's what made me love punk rock so much, is that as long as you have something to say you can play. And that having something to say can pull you through any misgivings you might have about song writing talent or musical skills.
Hey Vinnie! Big fan from Brazil. Still sad those guys from WROS Fest screwed up and I couldn't see you guys at São Paulo (I've seen you guys in Curitiba before.)
Recently I noticed you guys got some side projects - You've got your tattoo shop and your resin skulls business, Rog has rehasher and greenhorn, Buddy has coffee project.. So, how do you guys manage to have this side activities and still tour with the band? Are you planning to do less tours with LTJ?
How has parenthood affected you and Roger about touring?
And finally, WHEN THE FUCK ARE YOU COMING TO BRAZIL?
PS: Tell Rog I want a fucking rehasher T-shirt, but he doesn't seem to ship them to Brazil...
1) I think that you can do many projects and still be able to tour and be successful in a band. Just because you are in a band doesn't mean that that's all you have to do. And just because you are in a band doesn't mean that's solving all your creative wants and needs either. I think after 23 years, it's healthy to have a tattoo shop, or another band to write songs with to be creative with other people. You can bring those ideas back to LESS THAN JAKE and LESS THAN JAKE can push forward because you are exploring other things outside of it. We just had a offer for some Brazil shows in 2016, so maybe we'll see you! Maybe we won't.
2) It makes - having kids makes touring more complicated for meaning reasons. You know, you not only have to shorten specific tours so you're not gone for weeks and weeks and weeks at a time. But it also puts a spin on it where it has a sense of guilt at times. Because when you have a young child, that 2 week change that your're gone is immense. It not only adds that need to have shorter tours, but also adds this emotional distress at certain times by having kids and being a dad. An I think that LESS THAN JAKE - my daughter is 4 - we balanced it in the first few years she's been alive, we didn't do a lot of long tours. And when we did, I went home every 2 weeks to make sure everything was good and see her. I know the last thing we want to be (me and Rog) is an absentee father, so we do what we can to avoid that. Technically is leaps and bounds from when we first started, though, so having things like FaceTime, being able to see your son or daughter every day, multiple times a day, it lessens the blow of being gone.
Here's a serious question... whatever happened to Scared to Fart??
Ha ha ha That was one and done!
What's your favorite venue to play and why?
Jannus Landing, in St. Pete, FL.
It's an outside venue, and it was the first venue that we played a very big show. That was with the Bosstones back in 1994. So it has some really cool history for the band, but also just a really cool venue.
There's also a ceviche place like caddycorner from that, that's amazing.