Words from a Waldman: Johnny Minardi helps rank Less Than Jake’s discography

Good morning, reader. Johnny Minardi of Fueled By Ramen is an extremely hardworking and kind human. He started his own label (LLR Recordings) at eighteen-years-old, and later worked his way up to A&R at Fueled By Ramen, which at that point had grown into a huge success for “the scene”. After that FBR position, he had a two-year run at Equal Vision Records as A&R. In 2017, Johnny became the Senior Director of A&R at Fueled By Ramen/Roadrunner Records/Elektra Music Group.  In addition, and most importantly, he is a loving father, husband, and music (ESPECIALLY NU-METAL) fan. We spent some time together dissecting and proclaiming our constant allegiance to one of the best non nu-metal bands ever: Less Than Jake. We hope that you don’t think any less of us after reading this 100% subjective list.

Burn it to the ground:

  1. See The Light (2013)

JM: I saw Blink-182 at the Forum last night.

SW: Same! Blink-182 toured with Less Than Jake back in the day.

JM: Just as a disclaimer: I’ve always dreaded doing lists like this.

SW: Not same!

JM: See The Light is a great LTJ record.

SW: EVERY LTJ record is a great LTJ record.

JM: “Good Enough” is my jam.

SW: It definitely was.

JM: Good.

SW: Enough.

JM: Ok! Off to the liquor store…

  1. In With The Out Crowd (2006)

JM: Speaking of alcohol, this album is LTJ’s last major label release.

SW: And I have a bone to pick with humanity: THIS ALBUM IS SO FUCKING GOOD AND IT SHOULD HAVE GOTTEN MUCH MORE LOVE THAN IT DID.

JM: All the things that I say will someday fade away, but the message in these songs has kept me sane all along.

SW: Sane all along.

JM: What a song.

SW: That rhymed. P.S. Shock The World.

JM: Off to Florida!

  1. GNV FLA (2008)

SW: Didn’t you live in Florida for a while?

JM: Yes I did, and this record reminds me A LOT of that time period.

SW: I’m sorry? (pauses) Devil in my DNA.

JM: This one’s going to leave a bruise (pauses) Anyway, the art on this album is so dope. On an even doper (or “Dopeman” note), I believe that Less Than Jake may have among the first bands to leave a major and start its own label.

SW: Abandon ship.

JM: Does the lion city still roar?

  1. Pezcore (1995)

SW: You’re gonna hear me roar!

JM: Roar rhymes with Pezcore!

SW: Soar!

JM: Sore.

SW: Score. (pauses) I started listening to Less Than Jake shortly after this album came out.

JM: The songs on this record are STILL staples in LTJ’s live set.

SW: You’ve been “in bed” with this band for quite some time.

JM: Indeed. It’s quite hard to rank this album as only number five on this list, but I fucking love it.

SW: Five alive. It still rocks.

JM: (nods)

SW: Do you have any cool stories on why the band named a song after you?

JM: Johnny Minardi did NOT sell out at twelve.

  1. Borders & Boundaries (2000)

SW: Sell out with me, oh yea.

JM: Wrong band.

SW: Sorry.

JM: It’s cool.

SW: Not sorry.

JM: ANYWAY: Fat. Wreck. Chords.

SW: Look. What. Happened.

JM: Incredible songs. Incredible record. Incredible. Here’s a track that should have been bigger: “Malt Liquor Tastes Better When You’ve Got Problems.”

SW: I agree. Also, “Magnetic North” is such an incredible opener. THAT. BASS. TONE.

JM: Roger Lima’s bass playing is beyond unbelievable. Sometimes his bass lines are the standout hooks of LTJ songs. It’s unique and I love it.

SW: Girl, same. This is the anthem, throw all your hands up.

  1. Anthem (2003)

JM: Wrong band again.

SW: Sorry again.

JM: It’s cool again.

SW: Not sorry again.

JM: ANYWAY: LTJ took a lot of the right bands out on tour during this album’s cycle.

SW: Fall Out Boy. Punchline.

JM: August Premier. The Academy Is…

SW: FBR, bro.

JM: I like FBR.

SW: Girl, same. Like its follow up (#7 on this list), this album doesn’t get enough love.

JM: This record came out at a time that I was uprooting and moving across the country to work at Fueled By Ramen. It was a pivotal time for me and I have fond memories of this album’s release.

  1. Losing Streak (1996)

SW: Losing.

JM: Streak.

SW: It’s fitting that this album “lost” to…

  1. Hello Rockview (1998)

JM: Hello Rockview.

SW: HELLO, Rockview.

JM: Real talk: Less Than Jake is the best band I’ve ever heard with vocal melodies. Until I heard this record, I never heard two lead vocalists crush it in the singing department and do what this band did.

SW: I do not disagree. I ranked this album as my number two ska-punk record for Substream weeks ago: It certainly helped save the youth of America from exploding.

JM: Thank you, Less Than Jake. That was brutal to rank. One of my favorite catalogs ever.

Now for the even more brutal playlist featuring one track from each record:

That’s all we have to say about that. Thanks for reading and please celebrate weekends all year long.