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:
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: Ok! Off to the liquor store…
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!
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?
SW: You’re gonna hear me roar!
JM: Roar rhymes with Pezcore!
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.
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.
Borders & Boundaries (2000)
SW: Sell out with me, oh yea.
JM: Wrong band.
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.
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.
Losing Streak (1996)
SW: It’s fitting that this album “lost” to…
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.