If you claim you never had a ska phase, you're lying. Bands like Less Than Jake, especially in Florida, are an essential stopping point on the road to discovering your musical tastes. And while you may not have carved ska into your daily listening routine, the faint noise of horns is sure to bring back all sorts of warm and fuzzies. The ska world is currently being shaken up with Ryan Eldred from Catch 22, Chris DeMakes from Less Than Jake, and Jay Tea Turret from the Arrogant Sons of Bitches who are all hitting the road together and playing a different tune on the Ska Goes Solo tour.
Not only is Lake Worth lucky enough to be a stop on this mini-ska escapade, the Propaganda show on January 15, is shaping up to be the rowdiest on the tour. With tons of family members in the audience and opening sets from the Hard Richards and Askultura, this is guaranteed to be a sweaty and skank-worthy good time. Before these three pillars of ska roll into town to make us have a bunch of fun, they called us from the road and chatted about how the tour came about, what you can expect, and whether or not a hometown show is everything it's cracked up to be.
New Times: Can you tell me about how the idea for this tour came about?
Chris DeMakes: Yeah, it was Jay Tea's idea.
Jay Tea Turret: I tour down to Florida a lot. My parents live in Lake Worth, so I am always booking shows down there to visit my family and being a member of the Arrogant Sons Of Bitches, I have always been able to get ska shows. But I'm always by myself in my car and I'm lonely, and I figured, "Who else could do a solo show?" Ryan once told me he played solo, and I found a video of Chris playing a song called "Half in the Bag" on YouTube, and I called them both, and they both said yes, and now we're doing it.
Tell me a little about your sets on tour. Are you playing acoustic? Solo originals?
Ryan Eldred: A lot of new stuff from myself and Chris, but I am throwing a couple songs in.
Jay Tea: I don't play any ASOB songs unless the crowd is chanting for them because there are like gang vocals and I feel stupid if people don't sing along. A lot of people know the name of the band, but they don't really know the songs. I also do a lot of solo stuff and different covers and take requests from the crowd
Chris: Basically I wanted this thing to be separate from the band because Less Than Jake is still touring full time -- it never ended. So for me to go out and play those songs, it wouldn't be fun for me, and I have to have my band backing. And I wanted to be separate; I wanted to play my own stuff and I am doing some covers and then getting together with the guys and playing some songs at the end so it's a very cool show.
It looks like the tour is going through everybody's hometown. Does that mean lots of family and friends and sentimental gigs?
Jay Tea: Like I said my family lives in Lake Worth, so I am most excited for the show at Propaganda to be perfectly honest. My dad will bring all his golf buddies out to hear my scream obscenities over ska songs
Ryan: My family is also coming to the Lake Worth, show so I am really looking forward to that.
Chris: Gainesville is my home, and of course my band is from there. Hometown shows aren't always the greatest thing though because you have so many people that you know and it's hard to give everyone good face time so it's a little bit hectic sometimes, but it's going to be great. I'm looking forward to all of the Florida shows.
Chris, a big thing for Less Than Jake recently was the video for "My Money is On the Long Shot." What were you expecting going into that?
That's exactly what we hoped. It couldn't have turned out any better. It didn't cost us anything to put it together. All of our friends sent their clips in lip synching the song and a dear friend of ours wanted to edit it, put it together for free. It reached a lot of people so I think it came out really good.
Ryan, you have played in a lot of projects. Does it feel different stepping out and playing on your own?
Yeah, at first I was a little nervous to come out and do this. But that's to be expected. Jumping out there by yourself is way different than having a bunch of friends with you but I played some stuff at home and getting up there isn't really that much different. It's just a good time. I'm just out here to have some fun with these guys.
Ska Goes Solo. Wednesday, January 15, at Propaganda, 6 J Street in Lake Worth. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. 18 and older. With the Real Monsters, Askultura and the Hard Richards. Click here to purchase tickets. Call 561-547-7273, or visit the Propaganda Facebook page.