Lifetime: A Hardcore Band With Heart
What’s a logical response to getting a friendly MySpace comment from New Jersey hardcore legends Lifetime? Well, peta2 was pretty much rendered speechless when that very event occurred a short while ago. After all, we are talking about a band that peta2 favorites Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy, Saves the Day, and Thursday all cite as major musical and life influences! Lifetime, who signed to Pete Wentz’s Decaydance Records last year, just released their first album in 10 years in February. The self-titled album was eagerly anticipated by both old and new fans, not to mention peta2, and we’re here to tell you that it was well worth the wait!
Vocalist Ari Katz and guitarist Dan Yemin were sweet enough to take time from their ridiculously busy schedules to talk with peta2 about … well, about everything from vegan desserts to their upcoming tour—which at one point will have them spanning 4,000 miles in just 11 days! Not only are these guys incredibly talented—you didn’t need us to tell you that—they most certainly know their stuff! So on that note, sit back and prepare to be completely schooled by Lifetime. After reading the fact-filled interview, be sure to take the Veg Pledge—the 100-plus animals you’ll save this year by doing so will greatly appreciate it!
How does it feel being back together, recording and playing live again?
Ari: It’s been awesome since we’ve gotten back together. It’s been great to be able to be in each other’s lives again, to travel and see a lot of old friends and play shows everywhere!
Dan: It just feels really amazing. I mean, it’s exciting to see old friends and a lot of new young kids. And somehow even though our lives are more complicated, being in Lifetime has become a lot less complicated.
What has the reception been like from the crowds at your shows?
Dan: It reminds me of going to shows 20 years ago and being like, “Holy shit. There’re bodies flying everywhere!” It’s crazy.
You’ve influenced so many bands, so much so that some have tattoos of your lyrics. How does it feel to know that your music has inspired and influenced other talented musicians?
Ari: To have an effect and be remembered and basically have your music last forever … I mean, that’s kind of what we always wanted, but none of us could have ever imagined this!
How important do you think it is to inspire others to get involved in animal rights?
Dan: I don’t think I can answer that question as Lifetime but only as an individual. For me, if not for punk and hardcore, I don’t know where else I would have been exposed to these ideas. Maybe I would have become a hippy or something, sitting around a drum circle and talking about how cute kittens are. It’s the scene that got me into vegetarianism and later veganism. We have the opportunity to speak in a public forum, and I feel at least some responsibility to pass that along.
How long have you guys been veg, and what was it that made you take on the lifestyle?
Ari: Well, having a baby was really big for me. My wife and I are raising her vegetarian, and the benefits I’ve seen for my daughter … she’s almost 2 and never sick!
Dan: For me it started when I was 20 or 21. The health benefits were pretty immediately obvious, and then veganism came along a couple of years later. I realized that I couldn’t separate the dairy and egg industries from the meat industry. I felt like I had no choice.
What are some of your favorite vegan snacks?
Dan: Vegan Treats is a bakery in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and they are making cupcakes for my wedding. The woman who runs it is from the punk scene, and she makes like 20 different kinds of cakes and cupcakes and these huge cinnamon buns! Anyone who says you can’t have good vegan desserts will be humiliated by her because everything is amazing!
What are your feelings on fur and the people who choose to wear it?
Dan: It’s disgusting. I start to get angry and my vocabulary diminishes a thousand-fold when I’m pissed off about something like fur, because it’s such a luxury item. It’s grotesque to dress yourself up in somebody else’s skin! As a civilization we’ve come so far, but in some ways we’re still pretty savage. Every time someone walks by me in a fur coat, I freeze up; I am kind of appalled and don’t know what to do with myself.
Do you think most people wear fur out of ignorance, or do you think they just don’t care?
Dan: I don’t know how you’re ignorant to the fact that it got peeled off an animal! Some people just don’t care about much of anything except themselves. I mean, look around—it’s a human affliction, that kind of selfishness.
Do you have any companion animals?
Dan: I will someday, when I get a little more domesticated. We talk about it all the time, but no one is home for 12 hours at a time. I love animals and would love to live with a dog, but I think it’s selfish to have a companion animal and not hang out with them as much as they need you to.
What’s up next for the band?
Dan: It’s just really exciting to be playing in Lifetime again. We’ve all got tons of other stuff going on—other bands that we’re working on, families, and work—but with all the free time we have, we’re going to tour as much as possible and get to as many cities as we can. We have a lot of circumstances that keep us from going on longer tours, but we’re going to do as much as we can because we love playing for kids and supporting this record.