Less Than Jake - The People's History of Less Than Jake (Cover Artwork)

Less Than Jake

The People's History of Less Than Jake (2004)

Fueled By Ramen

"We're not a one-hit wonder, we're a ten-year failure."

This is Less Than Jake's first venture into the world of DVD. This release compiles lots of live performances over the history of the band. While this particular DVD is certainly flawed in some respects, it is still one of the better music DVDs I've had the pleasure of watching.

The disc itself is split into five different sections as follows: The Here and Now, The History, Avante Tarde, The Photos, and Extras. Most of the material on the disc is from Borders and Boundaries or earlier. There is a little bit of Anthem represented here as well, but it's easily avoided for all the haters out there as the DVD thankfully includes chapter stops (something sorely lacking in a lot of band's DVDs).

The Here and Now: Here you will find a live show from London. The audio/video quality on this show is incredible, but unfortunately it's not the full show. And to pour salt on that wound, they split up all the songs from this show with a mock interview done by Chris in costume. It's not as funny as the band would like it to be, but it's easily skipped by just going to the next chapter.

There's also a live show from Rhode Island that runs about 35 minutes. The video quality on this isn't quite as good as the London show, but at least it's the full show (and not interrupted by the mock interview).

Finally, there's "A Year in the Life of...". This section is a little weird. It's comrpised of live performances set to demo versions of "Plastic Cup Politics" and "Short Fuse Burning" and a live version of "All My Best Friends Are Metalheads." While it's interesting to hear these versions, the videos are just a little weird and makes me wonder why they didn't just include some more live performances in their place. Also, these videos are mixed with more of the mock interview footage.

The History:Here you will find many performances from over the years of varying audio/video quality. Almost all of the videos are single camera static shots from pretty far away, which can get a little on the boring side. But there are a LOT of performances here, many of which are songs they don't play often anymore, such as "Big," "Time And A Half/Econolodged," and "Dopeman."

Avant Tarde: This section is really just pointless. It's about 20 minutes of home videos featuring Chris and JR screwing around in costume. It's nowhere near as funny as the band would like it to be, but it got a couple laughs out of me.

On a personal note, this section also includes a bit with Chris coming on stage and doing a song with Zebrahead (though the song is unfortunately not included). It was cool to see because that was actually my first Less Than Jake show. Go me!

The Photos: This is a 3-minute slide show set to some classic Less Than Jake. Pretty straightforward and nothing too special to be honest.

Extras: The only thing of substance here is the "Gainesville Rock City" video. It would have been nice if some of their other videos had been included, but I can only assume there's rights issues involved. At any rate, you'll also find plugs for several of Fueled By Ramen's bands as well as Vinnie shamelessly plugging his new toy company, Monkey Vs. Robot.

Also included on the disc are band commentaries with Roger, Vinnie, and Buddy, and a "momentary" featuring JR and his mom. Both are included on The Here And Now and Avant Tarde. Neither are all that interesting and largely consist of the participants watching the video and laughing. Occasionally something of interest is said, but no one was really prepared to do these. I applaud the intentions here, but not the effort.

So there you have it. This is one of the better music DVDs I've watched, but the mock interview stuff should have been put in its own section with the Avant Tarde, in my opinion. I also would have liked to see the full London show. But overall, there's over 2 hours of live footage here to satisfy even the most hardened Less Than Jake fan, and I can only hope there will be more DVDs from these guys in the future.