Roger Manganelli

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Roger Manganelli

Roger Manganelli is the bassist/vocalist to Less Than Jake aswell as the lead vocalist/guitarist to Rehasher.

Sources: Concert Livewire; Punk News; Band Nation; Driven Far Off; QRO Mag;



Roger: For starters they drink at a younger age so inevitably they’re a little rowdier.


JR: Cause Aaron Barrett* signed off on the publishing. He sued us because he said that we ripped off “Sell Out” Roger: So we had to wait until it, like, settled in court so we could figure it out. I mean, we’re friends and everything, but when it comes to money… *Aaron Barrett is the lead singer of Reel Big Fish.


Roger: [laughs] Yeah, there’s a lot more bands, a lot more stages, a lot more really bad haircuts.


Roger: I was super, crazy little! Yeah, like my dad's a guitar player and my uncle was in bands when I was growing up. I sat behind a drum set when I was like six years old. I started taking piano lessons when I was like nine. So, like I've been around music my whole, entire, entire life.


Roger: They have internet now on tour.


Roger: That was our tenth Warped Tour, it’s out of control, we’ve played six full Warped Tours and partial Warped Tours, Australia Warped Tour, European Warped Tour, bits and pieces of US Warped Tours. We’re like those hookers that have been around so long that they don’t even have pimps anymore. Actually it’s really organized, we hadn’t been on it in three years, the whole thing, and it seems really on, not only the bands and stuff but the crew has done it so many times that they didn’t screw anything up.


Roger: I don't pay much attention to what is popular to be honest. It's a never ending cycle - style comes in and out of style - I try not to get caught up in all of that, and just listen to stuff i like, and play what I like; popularity is overrated.


Roger: It’s a little more freedom, sort of, but it’s more work, too, to keep up with all the little things. It’s kinda worth it, I guess; nobody really buys CDs so it really doesn’t matter.


Roger: Well no I think it goes a long way with people who are actually fans of the band. I understand that people who do buy the records are stoked when it’s something that has some value and some thought and actually looks cool. Hopefully slowly that will start to get people motivated to buy vinyl again. Not only does it sound better but you get more of an experience with the artwork and stuff and the lyric sheet in your hand rather than on your computer screen. There’s something more intimate about that. I think slowly but surely vinyl will continue to kind of hold steady even with people not buying CDs anymore.


Roger: But really, a punk rock kid is the same all over the world, it’s the same dress code, everyone’s wearing chucks, it’s the same skull tattoo, it’s the same look, and everyone’s happy to be there. Our fans are the same everywhere.


Roger: Umm.. I had a lot of different phases when I was younger. When I was really little, I liked a lot of stuff like, Iron Maiden, Kiss, and Def Leppard and like Aerosmith. Stuff like that. That's what I grew up on in the '70s you know. Metal like Slayer and Metallica and then I got into punk rock and metal when I was in junior high. like The Descendents and like Operation Ivy and you know.. that whole era of stuff.


Roger: You know it’s always a good time people are energetic and it’s awesome. Totally excited.


Roger: I think that we still do what the song is asking for; you can't really control what kind of songs come out while writing,, so if the songs needs horns, we'll do some horns, if not, then that's ok too. We really don't think too much about what our fans want us to write, we just try to stay true to what is best for the song.


Roger: Uhh.. You know.. I'm really picky and I don't actually like very many bands. The only like new band that I really like is System of A Down. I think they are amazing! It's good stuff. It's aggressive and unpredictable and I love it!!


Roger: Yeah, it’s really not that rad.


Roger: The press girl’s not that cool (chuckles) but that’s all. I’m just kidding! (Press girl making mean face). I’m just kidding! I just like that face…that gasp.


Roger: Buddy’s my main influence. Buddy: I wear boxers, Roger wears boxer briefs.


Roger: Yeah, our bunks are right across from each other so sometimes we sing each other to sleep at night. It’s lovely, you should check it out.


Roger: Let's see.. Chris and Vinnie knew each other in high school and were in bands and then moved to Gainesville, Florida for college. I moved to Gainesville, Florida for college. And then Chris had a party and I told him I played guitar. Which I played guitar at that time. And he said you should come and play guitar then I went to practice with a guitar and then they're like, "Oh, by the way, we're going to be kicking out our bass player - would you mind playing bass?" I said OK. So I went out and bought a bass and that was in '92. And that's how it started. Then we started getting into the horn player thing. Shuffled a few horn players over the years but it's been the same main four guys the whole time.


Roger: It's all right,, they seem to be backing the new record, and aside from the typical major label red tape - where it takes forever to get things done - I think Warner is still into the band.


Roger: Yeah, we are at the ass end of a tour another four shows or so.


Roger: Umm.. I couldn't tell you! I don't really know what the secret is. I've never been in any other situation. For us, we just really try to really deliver when we play and make that the focal point of what's going on. And then there's the live show. We try to be really good to our fans in the way of musically by having things up. Fans that have been fans of our records will always have something to relate and not have a record that is completely different ever, but also not doing the same thing over and over and over again. Trying to have a steady change on what kind of music we're writing and stuff like that. I think touring is the key to it. We've always been a touring based band. We play a lot, a lot of shows and that's what keeps us fresh in peoples' minds.


Roger: It’s totally cool you know. We go out there and put our best foot forward and we play songs we’ve played before, and that feels like we know what’s going to happen. The crowd is going to react to it or they’re not going to react to it. If we went out there and played all new songs it would be lame.


Roger: It was awesome! A lot of fun, good fans, good shows. We toured with Reel Big Fish and when we tour together things seem to be awesome so no complaints


Roger: It seems that way – it’s kind of weird how things are with music these days. You’re not really touring for the record anymore ‘cause no one buys the record. Everything’s downloaded and all that kind of stuff. We have the new songs but we’re still just touring because we’d be on tour anyway, ya know what I mean. So yeah we’re still touring in support of the new record but the new record is kind of supporting us sort of


Roger: See.. that's a tough question 'cause I went to a lot of really small shows for bands that nobody knew who they really were 'cause that's the kind of thing that I grew up on - was like going to clubs and stuff. The first like real, real concert that I went to was U2 at the Orange Bowl in Miami for the Joshua Tree Tour. I think it was in '87? Something like that. Yeah... I think that was it. We were way up in the nosebleeds and Bono was like this big! (Roger shows thumb and index finger really close) (all laugh) But, that's what I thought a concert was at that point - really huge. Everything else was more like a rehearsal or you know.. club shows. Like oh, that's nothing - 500 kids. It doesn't seem that weird. I've played in front of 500 kids at my piano recitals and I didn't think it was a big deal.


Roger: Yeah, I don't know. It was awesome. It's a great feeling. I don't really know. It's built up so slowly that I can't even tell you when it actually went over the threshold of 500 kids or 1000 kids or 2000 kids or whatever - but we've stood it all. We've played with 80,000 kids at these festivals in Europe and we've played to eight kids, you know? It feels great. It feels great every time. As long as there's somebody out there singing or jumping around making an idiot out of themselves just as much as we are, then we think it's ok.


Roger: We ran into a mall, and ran throogh the song and then some overzealous security guy at the mall thought he'd impress his boss with an arrest. It was dumb, the cops really didn't wanna arrest chris, but it was the mall security guy that was really was being an asshole and so Chris was detained, and booked. It was a pain in the ass, but at least we got him out with enough time to finish the video.


Roger: It’s complicated. It kind of has different phases. It will be like Chris [Demakes, guitarist/singer] or I will have a song idea and Vinnie Fiorello [drummer/lyricist] will write lyrics that go with that song idea or Vinnie will just have words that he wrote down and we’ll take that and sort of mold it into a song. I mean it kind of happens in different ways and not everyone is always involved, and sometimes everyone is involved it just depends. There’s no like formula for writing songs at least not in our band. It’s pretty much however it comes apart and falls apart and everything if it feels right it feels right the song is the ultimate guide. Am I being too hippie for you?


Roger: I also have been producing/recording more and more, and that takes time, too. But that's what i always wanted to do, work on music,, so it's not a bad thing.


Roger: That is true to a degree; I usually have songs ideas demoed out, and I will pass them off to vinnie, and he will focus on the lyrics. Then we all get together, work out the nuts and bolts of the song, kick around some changes and everyone is involved in the finishing touches. Chris will do the same, bring in a song idea, and we'll all throw in ideas and the songs just evolve. Some songs change very little from the initial conception, (like a new song called "In-dependence Day") and others really go through many arrangement changes/lyric changes, (like "Still Life")


QRO: How many Pez dispensers do you have? Roger: Well over 800 at this point.


Roger: Well it’s been the same members of the band since ‘92 with the exception of one horn player. So it’s been the four of us since the beginning of the band and then we’ve had some different horn players but JR’s the new guy and he’s been in the band for eight years so it hasn’t been that drastic.


Roger: Oh! I think just having the opportunity to be on yet another major label again after being on Capitol in the late '90s and then going to an indie label and coming back.. and now we're on Warner Brothers. Just having those kind of oppurtunities is pretty awesome. Because there are bands that struggle their whole entire life time to just like you know.. "oh, we just want to be on the radio - we want to be on a major label. That's all we really want." We've had the chance to do that twice. I think that's pretty amazing.


Roger: No I don’t collect stem variations – the different colored bottom part – cause you can have one Pez dispenser that has a head and there will be the same head but the bottom will have a different color. I don’t collect those at all so mine are all different Pez dispensary heads, because the head is really the most collectible part. I’m trying to give you lessons on Pez dispensers… How dare you suggest I collect stem variations? Are they all duplicates? NO THEY’RE NOT DUPLICATES! That would be cheating.


Roger: I think it's different in the way of how they handle stuff. I don't think they were really trying to. They wouldn't want us on it if they didn't like our music, you know what I'm saying? They obviously want us to create what we create and then they do what they're going to do. It's more things like interviews and more videos and photo shoots.. things like that with a major label kind of brings to the table. Which I may or may not be into - but it's a cool chance.


Roger: Yeah! There's one that we'll be supposedly filming when we get back from Europe. Not really sure exactly what's going to happen or anything in the video 'cause Vinnie and I had like a great idea for the video and they basically said that they would have to spend way too much money on it so.. there you go. They don't want to pay for the special effects that we were talking about. It's a bummer though. It would have been good. (laughs)


Roger: I have 800 Mickey mice. I just love Mickey Mouse, I have 800 of them, it’s awesome


Roger: Umm.. I don't know! It's kind of um.. a little more.. it's more in the darks of being really singy songy. It's nothing super blazing fast. There's not any super slow reggae kind of thing that we've done before. It's not like that. It's sort of in the tempo and sort of really poppy and really catchy. There's some really good stuff. There are some songs I'm really excited about. It's always been melody based I think. When we did our last record, we wrote like 32 songs and they ended coming out on two separate CDs. And this time we didn't really do that! We kind of just took 15 ideas and used those as the focal point and then we wrote around those and just improved on those 14 and kept bringing things in and out of those songs as opposed to having a whole bunch of songs. Whether that's better or not, I don't know. It definitely seems a bit more focused. We don't have a bunch of extra songs or anything like that. When is was time to actually record, we have everything pretty well sorted and that was cool. There's definitely some good stuff on there.


Roger: Well, because you’re guaranteed to see Buddy make some funny faces, you’re guaranteed that Chris will say something that is sort of out of line or inappropriate, and I’m gonna play a bunch of fuckin’ really fast bass licks, it’s gonna be great.


Roger: I’m a Back in Black guy. I can’t help it man. I see both sides of that fence. It’s a tough one.


Roger: It depends.. A song is melody and lyrics and the music, you know? For our band, Vinnie the drummer writes like 95% of the lyrics so he's the main songwriter if you want to look at it that way. But he doesn't write any chords or melodies or any of that kind of stuff. So, it's kind of hard to split up or dissect a song that way, you know? On this record.. it's pretty fair, you know, pretty even between myself and Chris.. Actually JR and I. JR's the first song writer outside of Chris, Vinnie or I to like actually sit down and reword a song for the record. So he's becoming like a bigger part of that sort of thing. I don't know. It just depends. I definitely write a bunch of them! (laughs)


Roger: Yeah “Does the Lion City Still Roar?” Actually I saw it on Fuse today, it was awesome. Steven played it today. Download that bad boy.


Roger: Hmm.. I don't know. I like playing at home because sleeping at home after the show is a bonus. That's really nice. I'd have to say I really like playing Japan. There's just a different level of respect or something that goes on with the fans. They're just completely animalistic and going crazy during the show and then in between songs like as soon as a song stops, it's silent 'cause they want to hear what you have to say so they can try and understand what you're saying. It's really awesome - it's great. Even in the UK and London - places like that, fans are just rabid and go completely crazy and it's always fun. I'd have to say Tokyo and London are pretty awesome


Roger: God I seem that crazy then, is that what you’re saying?


Roger: To some degree everyone is involved ya know what I mean. Chris doesn’t really do that much, he’s the lead singer he’s allowed to do whatever he wants. He’s that guy. I kind of deal with all the audio stuff and Buddy [Schaub, trombonist] deals with all the video stuff and [Peter] JR [Wasilewiski, saxophonist] deals with all the online stuff and Vinnie deals with everything else and we have a great publicist named Rey [Roldan] he totally does what we need him to do. It’s a different world but a lot of bands are doing it and you know it’s a way to stay on a smooth track not to have any kind of weird outside voices.


Roger: I think the best show is every night. I don't know every night we pretty much have the best show. We don't really have bad shows. The only thing that would contribute to a bad show is if nobody showed up. But, people do show up - so I can't really say. We did this tour in Australia and it was like a.. we were playing way out in Perth - you know, like in the middle of nowhere, the most remote city on the planet! But, we had a day off before that, so our booking agent got us to play at this tiny, tiny town north of Perth. It was a tiny club show, tiny PA, no baracade, like less then 200 kids and it was completely insaine! It was awesome! And then the next night we were playing in Perth and it was like 700 kids but the show just wasn't as awesome, you know? So it doesn't really ever matter where it is. I don't know. It wasn't a bad show! (laughs)


Roger: Uh no – that would be dangerous because they’re in my bedroom. People could get hurt. But no, I made shelves and it takes up a giant wall.


Roger: Um, I would add probably a little bit of salt, and I like anything that has ginger in it, so I would put a little ginger into Warped Tour and it would be PERFECT


Roger:I think everyone can take different things from the lyrics, so it's up to you if you feel there is a theme,, to me , it's obviously LTJ lyrics and so it's always sort of dark, yet positive at the same time. I think the lyrics usually have some sort of light at the end of the tunnel ideal going on


Roger: No, not anyone in the band. No, not really. We don't get that. There was one time where we played a show and we were playing at Sunlight Convention Center or something and they just had no idea what they were doing security wise. Kids were dancing and stuff and kicking stuff on the stage and this security guy had no idea on what to do so he just pushes this kid right off the stage and he just falls and breaks his leg in like a second! There's been some stories like that. Faulty employees, I called it. (laughs) You have no idea what to expect. Sometimes we'll play a college show and we'll just show up and start doing our thing and security's like stop, no moshing, no crowd surfing, no circle pits or whatever. Well, why did you have us play here? Don't you know that's what we do? Haven't you ever heard of us before? That's what we do! We get people excited, get them running around! They're going to jump around! That's what we're trying to do!! (laughs) Get some energy flowing between us.


Roger:I don't think its odd. I think these days, with the internet and DVDs with every CD, fans want more content, so you give it to them! I always loved watching the making of videos of bands that i like , so we thought that our fans wanna know some of our behind the scene stuff.


Roger: [talking about pez dispensers] Psychedelic Eye from the 60’s. Look it up nerds.


Roger: Yeah, and then they get kicked out and then I got to go bail them out and then the security guards are having a fit and then we have to send our tour manager to talk to whoever's running security. Ahh, it's crazy. Crazy times!


Roger: On a single tour.. Hmm.. Probably more than five. Cause when we first started, we had a really old van. It was a '79 Chevy. It was like the kind of thing where we'd pull over and get gas and it'd need two quarts of oil every time. That kind of thing. It'd break down pretty frequently. We have bad luck with vans. It's some sort of curse. But, then we got another one after that and that one was good to us for many years.


Roger: Nobody cares. So anymore Warped Tour questions?


Roger: It does a little bit of both I think it depends on the band. On a band that is enormously huge like Metallica it definitely hurts cause people are just going to download their stuff-period. But a smaller band maybe that hasn’t sold anything but has been able to have some good shows and get some fans out because of their MySpace or whatever you know what I mean. Using the Internet as a tool to promote the band is awesome. My sisters’ band doesn’t have a CD or whatever but they constantly pull 100 kids at their shows because they promote heavily on the internet and they stay in touch with their fans that way so it can be either or. For Less Than Jake we’re right in the middle. We definitely get a lot of paths to talk about the band, and interviews, and stuff for sale, and you know what I mean MySpace’s and Facebook’s all that kind of stuff there’s a presence there that definitely helps the band. But at the same time I know we’re one of the bands that is a victim of a lot of downloading so there you go.


Roger: Yeah, we're kind of like a rock band with a horn section and high energy. That is how I do say it when I meet people who have no idea who we are. Well, it's like fast reggae and a lot of singing and harmonies. There's a lot of jumping and sweating involved. There's a lot of exchanged energy. A high energy level kind of thing. I really don't like bands who stand around and stare at their shoes and don't really have anything to say.


Roger: Yeah, we got out of our major label stuff and we’re just doing our own thing.


Roger: New bands..old bands - whatever. It's kind of weird. I guess I stay out of the loop on new bands, younger bands an who's getting signed or how many records this band is making. Persoanlly I don't care about things like that. I like melodies and lyrics and songs and energy. Isn't that what's it all about?


Roger: It hasn’t really been set in stone either way for the time being it’s just Less Than Jake releases but it doesn’t mean it won’t ever have another band. We’ll just have to see where that one leads.


Roger: i'm stoked that we have such hard core fans but I've never thought about it. It's been there all along,, and I think we are really lucky. I think all of the singles, and picture diskc, and toys and that sort of stuff has kept the collectors out there stoked.

Roger: It’s exciting to play new songs live, we’ve been playing “Summon Monsters” and that’s on the new record it’s fast and got some fun fast quick bass licks that are fun to play so that’s a fun one to play live. Been getting off on that lately, and I think “Conviction Notice” is super solid live and the horn line is great. It’s fun to play new songs.


Roger: Umm…last two cds… Bouncing Souls Gold Album and I bought System of a Down Steal This Album…


Roger: It’s a great way to pick up chicks cause they were making Rufinol Pez tablets for a while in Gainesville you could – never mind erase that part. Pez is rad.


Roger: This place called Common Grounds that used to be called the Covered Dish. We’ve been playing there over the last thirteen years so that feels the most home-ish. [some background chatter] Yeah the old room moved to where the Covered Dish used to be, the old room is a club that’s called 1982 that my friend owns. That’s a cool little club. That’s more where I go to hangout than Common Grounds. Common Grounds is kind of hectic and that kind of thing but yeah it’s the same owner as it was from the little place.


Roger: We’re playing like three songs and the old stuff that everyone wants to hear too. We can’t play just all brand new songs you got to mix it up a little.


Roger: The new Metallica. The new Metallica record is pretty rockin’ I’ve been listening to that. I’ve been listening to the Josie and the Pussycats Soundtrack on repeat since about 2003. Les Paul the guitar player, Les Paul and Mary Ford – check that out, it’s good stuff. I’m like really picky. I don’t like very many new bands. I feel like I’m in trouble, not naming the hottest five bands out right now. Actually I heard a pretty good Hillary Duff song the other day, I was impressed. It was catchy. It was good pop.


Roger: We will be hanging out for an extended amount of time in Europe. From November 1st until the end of our lives, it’s a very long tour. We’re playing the Fest on Halloween, which is my birthday in Florida – in Gainesville. We’re playing the Fest, my other band, Rehasher, is playing the Fest and we’re just going to be taking a little bit of time to breathe in January and probably be out on the road again pretty soon in the states. We’re doing some international stuff Australia, Japan, South America – that’s going on but nothing going on in the states quite yet.


Roger: All right, cool. Thank you. Oh great, it ends on me saying I liked a Hillary Duff song. I was hoping for something else after that. Make something up, something… to be or not to be – anything.

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Last modified on 29 June 2013, at 18:46