Less Than Jake at 30 – Part 1: Pezcore

For the 30th anniversary of my all time favourite band Less Than Jake I thought I would it be fun to revisit each of their albums and share some memories from around the time of it’s release. 

There is a slight problem with that plan in that I only got into the band in 2000 and three of those records were released well before then. Particularly the album I’m revisiting first, Pezcore. The band’s debut full length was released in the US on Tuesday 22nd August 1995 on Dill Records, the predecessor to Asian Man Records, both run by Mike Park, formerly of San Jose, California ska band Skankin’ Pickle (we’ll come back to Mike later in this series).

On that day in my own life, I was 7 years old, living (shockingly) with my parents in Hamworthy, I was enjoying the last week or so of the Summer holidays before starting the final year of my first school the following month. My favourite things in the world were the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Sonic The Hedgehog (still are). This was still a year before the Spice Girls happened, so my music taste probably consisted of whatever my parents played and the theme tunes to my favourite TV programmes (genuinely, I had two cassette compilations of them).

It was around this time though that my friend had a German student staying with them who left behind a cassette labelled ‘Offspring – Smash’. We put it on and ran around the room in circles, not knowing what the hell it was, or what we were doing. I’m classing that as my first ever circle pit.

I finally came to own a copy of Pezcore on Saturday 28th December 2002. I remember this because it was my 15th birthday. I bought it on a venture into town with two of my best friends of the time, Jim and Phil. 

This version was the remaster put out by Golf Records in the UK for the band’s 10th anniversary. To this day I’ve still never heard the original master in full (maybe I should remedy that as part of this series). I think this version does a great job of capturing the spirit of the band’s live show.

I do believe the band have continually pushed their songwriting prowess with each new record, but listening to this today I was surprised to be reminded at how much of what’s at the core of their newer material can still be heard on this first outing.

In 2007 I got to see the album played live in full as part of their London residency. This would be the first and only time I’d hear many of these songs performed, whereas others are still included on most of their set lists today. In 2008 I bought the reissue with the updated artwork and bonus DVD of the Pezcore album show in Florida from Square Records in Wimborne. To date, I still don’t own this album on vinyl.

Favourite track: Short On Ideas/One Last Cigarette (does this count as one?)

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