I finished school ten years ago, summer 2003. Ten years ago today (May 20) Less Than Jake released the album Anthem. I'm not going to review it or anything; its absolutely an important album to me musically, but its also the reason I pursued a career in the creative industry at all.
I was always 'good at art' as far as sailing through whatever the hell that GCSE course was at the time just by turning up and not being an idiot. Draw this, copy that, make some notes. But I never 'got it', and nobody even tried to help me get it. Education for me was literally a game of 'get through the next year, pass the tests, don't piss anyone off too badly'. My childhood reply to anyone who asked if would I be an 'artist' when I grew up was pretty much: "nah, you only get paid when you're dead. I want to buy video games now."
On May 20th 2003, the new Less Than Jake CD (!) came out. For each song there was an original 'exclusive' piece of artwork by 16 or more different 'underground' illustrators. Something kind of clicked when I saw that; this is a band who at the time was on a major record label and had people making great independent art that tied in with the music, it fit together perfectly. Of course I was exposed to a huge amount of album covers, posters and skateboards etc on a daily basis back then, but considering I had never opened Photoshop at that point it was way over my head in terms of how it was created. I looked at it as something very different to what I was mailing in with pens and pencils during the school day. These illustrations somehow helped me make a connection.
I looked up the website of every single artist that was credited; while I still had no idea how most of it was done, I thought in the future I probably could do that. Hey, maybe some day I will figure it out!
But in earnest, without making too much of a grandiose 'punk rock saved my life' statement, on the 10th anniversary of the album's release I would like to say thanks to Less Than Jake and especially Vinnie for being such an inspiration to my creativity at a time when I had absolutely none. Ten years later I'm making a living doing something i love. I'm pretty sure I owe a lot to May 20th 2003.
- "Welcome to the New South" by Jeff Soto
- "The Ghosts of Me And You" by Steve Vance
- "Look What Happened" by Wendy Ann Garbner
- "The Science of Selling Yourself Short" by Chip Wass
- "Short Fuse Burning" by Florenzio Zavala
- "Motown Never Sounded So Good" by Kurt Halsey Fredericksen
- "The Upwards War and the Down Turned Cycle" by Shepard Fairey
- "Escape From the A-Bomb House" by David Choe
- "Best Wishes to Your Black Lung" by Alison Zawacki
- "She's Gonna Break Soon" by Mitch O'Connell
- "That's Why They Call It a Union" by Peter Wonsowski
- "Plastic Cup Politics" by Scott Sinclair
- "The Brightest Bulb Has Burned Out" by Camille Rose Garcia
- "Screws Fall Out" by Speed Scott Hall (RIP)