The members of Late for Life live for rock and roll. You won’t even find them recording in the studio because they don’t have time. Playing live is what really gets them high and you might just catch them speeding down I-95 to get to their next venue. Time’s precious and the more shows they play, the happier they are. With over 15 scheduled shows in September, and an equally as full schedule for October, the band, comprised of five UM students, has made a quick name for themselves since their fall 2001 local debut. Since then, they’ve been concocting a special formula of brisk punk music that goes down well and hard in your system, just like the firm guzzling of your favorite whiskey or scotch. We caught up with the band members and had a chat after their Tuesday night show at Churchill’s Pub.
Q: What’s up with you guys saying at the show, “Late for Life supports Janet Reno?”
Nick Switzer (drummer): It was just something funny to do.
Drew Schimmenti (guitar, vocals): I guess it’s double funny because AAA [Against All Authority, punk rock band in audience] was here and they’re a very, very political band.
Q: What do you think of Janet Reno’s looks?
All (Whistling): She’s definitely hot.
Richard King (sax, vocals): Somebody asked me the other day, “Who would win in a fight between Mr. T and Janet Reno?” And I was like, well, if it were Janet Reno, a quadriplegic, Mr.T and Gary Coleman, then I think Janet Reno and the quadriplegic would win (everyone laughs).
Q: How would you define the music you play?
Nick: Late for Life, that’s my answer.
RK: I’ve always told people that we’re heavy punk with horns, with metal influence, but I dunno. I’d just call it punk with horns.
Q: Most of the punk movement today is all about politics, but you guys don’t seem to be about all of that. You seem more about just rocking out and having a good time.
RK: Extensively, we’re not about politics, but underneath . . .
DS: [Our songs] are about greed and humanity issues, commercialism, consumerism, stuff like that. We’re not trying to force any politics on anyone, it’s more about [writing] eye-opening material.
Q: OK, imagine that you’ve got a spaceship that’s programmed for a one-way trip to the sun, but the ship only has five seats in it. Who would fill those seats?
Justin Fischer (guitar, vocals): Carrot Top. No, wait. Lou Pearlman [owner of Trans Continental Records, the label that launched The Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, LFO and other horrible boy bands]. Lou Pearlman is much worse.
Nick: The Pope.
DS: Kirk Cameron, because I’m insanely jealous of him.
Neil Schimmenti (trombone, vocals): The owner of Club Q [local venue] (laughter). The guy’s an asshole.
RK: I’d have to say Walt Disney.
Neil: He’s dead.
JS: No way, man. His body is still frozen, you can still send that up.
RK: Well, then, is Mr. Rogers still alive? Yeah? Well he can go then.
Q: So what’s this I hear about a mattress being lit on fire last year at a frat party?
Everyone: (laughter) No comment. We’re not allowed to talk about that.
Q: Do you guys ever get discouraged when you’re working so hard, and you only have a small number of people come out to your shows. Then you look at a local band like New Found Glory, where they have hundreds of 15-year-olds jumping around and going crazy . . .
DS: Well, I’d say it’s disheartening, but we don’t want a bunch of 15-year-old teeny-bopper girls jumping around and screaming at our shows. We want people who will appreciate our music, and if we have to do that to 10-15 people groups at a time, then that’s what we’re gonna do. I’d rather grind it out this way.
Q: You guys have differing tastes in music. How did you work it out to create your own unique sound?
JS: I think the correct term is that we’ve all just bled into each other. You know, you’ve got this guy who listens to ska, the other listens to punk, and Switzer and I are total metal heads . . . then someone else [digs] jazz. And somehow it all kind of blends together into this thing called Late for Life.
Check out Late for Life and Underpaid Monday night at Fat Cats for only $2. The show kicks off at 10 p.m., but well drinks and beer are FREE from 8-10. 21+ only.
Kevin Dean can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org