Jail is a pretty strange place to resurrect a band but that's where Nate Lawler was
'residing' when he decided it was time to put back the pieces of his life. Perhaps a little perspective is needed...
It was early 2000, Lawler was young, successful, and the frontman/songwriter for the Orange County-based punk band Death on Wednesday. They were up-and-comers, touring with the likes of Social Distortion, Unwritten Law and Face To Face. The group was selling out decent-sized venues, had an active fan base and a couple of records under their belt. They were courted by all of the majors – Virgin, Capitol, Nitro to name but a few – but ended up going with an indie label on a handshake deal. Lawler wasn't fond of paperwork and as a result, he didn't see much paperwork in return. No royalty statements, no checks, nothing despite the fact their songs were used for TV, feature films, and video. The label ended up going bankrupt and Lawler went on a bender.
Lost in a fog of alcohol and drugs, Lawler went off the deep end for a spell. He even spent a little time in the slammer for his bad-boy behavior. But it was there where he found sobriety and rediscovered his passion for music. After a stint in rehab, Lawler put his life in order and resurrected Death on Wednesday after an eight-year hiatus. He also sued the defunct label for lost royalties and ownership of his masters. He whiffed on royalties, but got back his catalog. He's lucky and knows it.
“If I could do it all over again, sure I would do some things different. Who wouldn’t?” Lawler says today. “But that’s what life is about. Learning from the mistakes and growing as a person. Everything I’ve done and gone through – good and bad – have made me who I am today. I have no regrets.”
But that was then and this is now. Lawler tested the Death on Wednesday waters and has discovered a fierce loyal and growing fan base that not only remembered the band and their cool tunes, but have waited patiently for new material. Lawler's rebooted band includes Kevin Clark on bass; Hunter Zinkil on lead guitar and Joel Ronomoe on drums.
Lawler says he feels fortunate he and the band are getting a second chance.
“There were some really dark times that I went through and now to be on the other end of it really makes me appreciate the important things in life,” Lawler said. “Music is such a gift and a release for me, and I lost sight of that for a while. ”
Death on Wednesday now has a clear vision and are re-releasing material from their first two albums on Wes Geer's Chanl Records – a song a week – on Wednesdays. Each song will stream on their YouTube channel for 24 hours, after which fans can purchase on iTunes. Revenue from those songs will help fund the band's new album, appropriately titled No Regrets. No Regrets is scheduled for a fall release, with the first single (and Death on Wednesday’s first new song in years) ready in early May.
For more information about Death on Wednesday, visit the band's Facebook and Twitter pages:
Chanl Records/Wes Geer