Hard Rock Band Lifer Discusses 18-Year Hiatus, Rush’s Alex Lifeson Producing Their Debut Album, New Single, & More

Full of surprises, loyalty, dedication, and a lot of rock n’ roll, Lifer has made a vast comeback, reuniting after 18 years. 

Formed at the height of the Y2K era in Wilkes-Barre, PA, Lifer began playing a mix of original material along with select covers. Quickly becoming loved and adorned by fans, they won MTV’s Ultimate Cover Band Contest in 2000, and quickly caught attention from several major labels. The group ultimately decided they would create their own music and tour as Lifer after signing with Republic/Universal Records. 

After pinpointing their heavy, unmistakable sound and landing a big time label, they had opportunities to work with top-tier musicians in the studio, such as the legendary Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson, who produced their album debut in late 2000. Before they knew it, they were hitting the road opening up for artists including Nickelback, Saliva, and Cold to name a few. The band quickly grew to stardom, and found themselves in the thick of the top modern hard rock ranks of that era.

In 2002, the group had songs featured on the Xbox video game, NHL 2002, one of which reached #5 on the Billboard Album Chart, and was soon classified as gold. Soon after, their guitarist and bassist Aaron Fink and Mark Klepaski would move on to play for other rising rock act, Breaking Benjamin.

In 2018, they reunited featuring original members Nick Coyle (vocals, synth), Fink (guitar, backing vocals), Tony Kruszka (drums), and added new bassist Mike Morgan. With their newest single, “Hate Me, Love Me,” from their upcoming five-song EP, the band surprises fans for their long awaited resurrection with new sounds, yet still blending it with their past sounds. Now, their lineup is the strongest yet, and their new tracks represent the sound they were working on amidst the pandemic. 

Excited for their upcoming release and new look on life, we had the chance to talk to the group about the new music, tour plans, writing process, and more.

So I see you guys are recently back together after an 18-year hiatus. What prompted the reunion?

Nick & I talked about doing an acoustic duo show together after all these years, and there was a lot of public interest in that right away, so we took that as a nod, and expanded it out to a full-blown band reunion. 

How has the direction of the music within the band changed and evolved since then, or did you just pick up where you left off?

Once we started writing we knew that our collective experience and musical maturation over the last 20 years was shaping the tunes differently. Tony was originally the DJ, but is now the drummer, so losing these textures naturally made a hole for some “electronica” elements to creep in. 

Your debut album was produced by Alex Lifeson of Rush. Tell me about that experience, and did you take any of those experiences with you into other recording projects?

Working with Alex was awesome. Great guy! Funny too! Our first record was all done on analog tape, so Alex made sure our performances were all gelling in the raw, and no tweaking was done afterwards. He also liked to add a twist to a song whenever possible. A musical left turn. 

With members also working in other bands like Cold and Earshot, has this helped the creative process or hindered it due to scheduling conflicts, etc.?

I think it has helped. It just sharpens your overall game and keeps you working and in shape musically. Because of Covid, there hasn’t been any scheduling conflicts yet… 

You’ve recently released “Hate Me, Love Me,” which is part of your upcoming five song EP. What was the influence and inspiration behind this single?

Nick wrote the lyrics for this one, but I will say we like to leave it up to the imagination of the listener. It gives them their own personal connection to the song, rather than be TOLD what it’s supposed to mean. 

Are there any overarching themes or motifs throughout the upcoming EP?

Not especially. We are just reaching for well-put together great hard rock songs. Period. 

How does the songwriting process work within the band?

Depends. Some more of band efforts that might come from a jam, others might be primarily written by one person.

What messages or feelings do you typically try to convey with your music? 

Musically, something you can rock out to a little, bob your head kinda thing. Smart, interesting lyrics and memorable vocal melodies. 

Are there any tour plans lined up for the latter half of the year, and if so where and when?

Just a few select dates so far. We would love to jump on a opening slot run with a bigger band to get the good word out! 

What does success as a band or an artist mean to you?

Obviously it would be awesome to get to place on the business end of things we have a great team in place and everybody could pay their bills with merch and shows. There is also a more existential plateau of being respected by your peers and having a dedicated, loyal fanbase that becomes “lifers” with the brand…pun intended!

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