Less Than Jake: soundtrack to teenage ennui and beyond

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Less Than Jake to play Saskatoon at Louis’ on Oct. 12

The funny thing about comfort zones is that they are usually anything but. On one hand, I craved the familiarity, the animal-esque routines of eat and sleep that I peppered with school and skateboard. It was an obvious rut, the same ones I tried to avoid as I attempted, for the thousandth time, to backside kickflip over the curb in the parking lot across the street from Bowman.

But my routines were anything but comfortable. School was an hour-long bus-ride in the winter and an even longer walk when I wasn’t up to my ankles in slush. Work was worse. Shackled to a fast food dishpit for hours at a time, my hands were typically too soggy to even hold a cigarette during the evening lull. Greased caked in every crevice, it wasn’t exactly super-happy-fun-times.

Yet, for all my mewling, I stayed for over a year. Chalk it up to not knowing any better, but sometimes the thought of donning a dress shirt and a tie and finding a new job is far more terrifying than heading back to that place where every deep-fryer knows your name.

Thankfully, escape comes in many different forms: Mine came from a friend who was employed at a different fast food restaurant. Not a far stretch in terms of learning anything new, but it was closer to home. The kicker, however, was that we were allowed to listen to punk rock during our shifts. Whoa!

At this point I listened to a lot of Black Flag and a whole lot of nothing else. Here, the cooks all listened to pop-punk: bands like The Ataris, 30 Foot Fall and Bad Religion. Not exactly my favourites, but it was a nice way to whittle away the time while we tended to burns on our hands and faces.

One band in particular always stuck out during this time: Less Than Jake had just released their album Hello Rockview, and, with songs about boredom and ennui, it quickly became the soundtrack to dunking chicken and fries into the fryer.

That jump for a comfort zone had instilled a sense of restlessness in me though. That job only lasted a few more weeks before I was off to the next exercise in discomfort.

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Featured image via Flickr user alawgrrl