Modern Life Is War

I think I was originally introduced to MLIW by my friends Andrew Dimaggio and/or Phil Jones.  They kept hounding me to check out this self-released 7″ from this band from IOWA, of all places!  One night they came over to this punk house where I lived called “the Calaveras House” in Concord, CA and played a CD-R version of the MLIW 7″.  I thought it sounded pretty alright, but was kind of distracted and wasn’t blown away.  They were going to be playing Sacramento, CA in the upcoming months, and doing a short west coast jaunt with Andrew’s band For The Crown… at least I think that’s how I remember it?  I remember heading up to Sacramento, CA to see MLIW play at West Coast Worldwide.  WCWW was run by Mike Hood (The Hoods, Victory Records), and Mikey did a good job of keeping that place open for years and years. The problem with WCWW was that shows were literally 10-15 people because Mikey was always willing to help out any touring band, and you know how hard it can be to get kids to come out to a show for a band they’ve never heard – especially in a smaller place like Sacramento.  That and Mikey always blasted that fucking air conditioner no matter what time of year, so it was like 45 degrees in there at all times! hahaha.  The deal was that it had tile floors… And if mist built up in there, kids would slide everywhere and get hurt. So it was for a reason.  Anyway, I always respected him for busting his ass to help anyone, no matter what, as long as they were respectful and thankful.  So that night was no different – there were probably 15 kids there that weren’t in bands, myself being one of them.  MLIW played and I was super impressed.  I remember telling my buddy, Zach Harlan, who was there with me, that I couldn’t believe how hard their vocalist, Jeff, went at it.  Just screaming his ass off, going all out at 150%.  There were 15 or less people in that room that night, and he didn’t give a fuck – he was going at it because he had something burning inside of him that had to get out.  I bought their self-released 7″ that night, and I think I probably chatted with the dudes in MLIW a little bit since there weren’t many people at the show. They seemed really down to earth. I really liked the stark, basic cut & paste layout of the 7″, and their whole small town vibe.  I loved that they had self-released their own 7″ and toured on it immediately – because no one would ever pay attention to a band from Iowa, and they knew it.  They knew they had to come to us.  But they didn’t sit around feeling sorry for themselves, they got the fuck out of Iowa because something was burning inside of them, they had to get out.  Over the next year or so, I kept up with MLIW and really liked their My Love, My Way LP when it came out on Martyr Records.  I was planning a big matinee show at the Danville Grange Hall, CA that summer, and they were touring through at the time, so I put them on it.  Back then I used to throw a lot of matinee type shows from 3pm-9pm at the Danville Grange, CA on Saturdays in the summer. We’d hang out, throw footballs around, and just have a good time.  They played that night and they were energetic as ever.  I remember hanging out afterwards, going swimming, and running around doing all sorts of weird shit with the MLIW dudes over at Phil Jones Dad’s house.  From that point on I always followed what they were doing.  Then they signed to Deathwish and released the Witness LP.  This LP was intense for me.  All of their small town vibe, aesthetic, and lyrics were something I had really latched on to.  I grew up in Oroville, CA, a small valley town of 12,000 people, and sometimes it felt like Wyoming or something.  We weren’t on any major freeways, or even highways really, and it was surprising I ever even found punk rock in that place.  All of the small town imagery on the Witness LP, combined with the lyrics and the somber music, it really took me back to my childhood growing up in that hick town, where you feel like no one understands you, like you’ll never get the fuck out of there.  I remember busting my ass in school, getting straight A’s, meanwhile taking care of my younger brother and sister and working a job throughout high school, because we were so fucking poor and I knew that would be my only way of ever getting out of there.  I didn’t want to be stuck there working at the cannery or working a trade job in a town that could never understand me.  That town had nothing for me, nothing to nourish my heart or my mind.  I left my house at age 17 and never looked back.  I’ve been on my own since that day, and had nothing to fall back on other than my own determination and work ethic.  The Witness LP brings out a lot of different emotions for me;  pride – that I was able to work hard and overcome a rough family life and get the fuck out of that situation; sadness – thinking about some of the things that happened back there; nostalgia – remembering my old friends, family, and surroundings; and maybe most powerfully – a sense of solidarity and isolation, a complex and eery feeling that is negative yet positive at the same time, a feeling that comes from growing up too fast, leaving your house forever when you’re 17, and taking care of yourself on your own for as long as you can remember.  To this day I can still sit here, just vibing out to this LP, picturing myself back there in Oroville sweating in the heat, just dreaming of getting out.

“The Outsiders (A.K.A. Hell Is For Heroes Part I)”:  So what the fuck are you going to do, kid?  Still rattling at the chains of the gates of the world…  But you can’t quite pretend.  Still tasting youth’s bitter exile here in your empty generation’s wasteland…  Where all the things that you’ve been clinging to are being ripped from your hands.  Restless soul this place will never be your home.  And if you wanna have it all…  You’ve gotta let it all go.  Before the adult world strings you up and skins your skinny bones clean to the bone.  ‘Cause all this time you’ve been searchin’ for something real.  And now the pressure is coming down on you.  You’ve gotta turn this despair inside out and turn it into your way out.  ‘Cause heaven knows you’re sinking and I know we’re much the same…  So cheers to our rebel hearts…  Not just another fuck you…  But a bedside love song for a chosen few.  We feel like we’ve been left in the wind to die in the dust…  With no one speaking to us…  So we are speaking up.  Throwing out our anchor against the fear.  Your revelation time is near.  So try and listen to the voice urging you on…  Saying…  This is it kid…  This is your last chance…  And this is the only way to glory…  And this is our last dance.

“Hair Raising Accounts Of Restless Ghosts (A.K.A. Hell Is For Heroes PartII)”:  I promised myself I wouldn’t lead you on.  So here it is confused and flawed.  As foolish as these words may seem.  As foolish as I may be.  See, I’m just a factory worker’s
son from a railroad town.  And yeah, I can feel the steel mills rust.  But I’ve been doing my time, and I’ve been thinking about  getting out.  I’m running fast the other way down
a narrow dead end road.  I know this won’t be the last time I sing, “These dreams will be my anchor.  These dreams will be the death of me.”  Through all this, I’ve been feeling like
I’m slowly burning out…  Nothing is all bad…  Nothing is quite right.  So I kept inking and screaming from my room…  The only way I know how to…  I’m calling out to you.  I’m calling out to you.  Nerves wrapped tight around my spine.  I’m past the point of caring what the rest of them think.  They’ve got the fear.  They’re holding back.  And this is for the go-for-broke common-muck few.  And this marks the end of an era and the start of something better.  What can we do when the war is all around?  The veins are constricting the pressure is coming down. What can we do when the war is all around?  The veins are constricting.  The pressure is coming down.  Everyone knows we’re living in a
world we just can’t trust.  Left in the wind to die in the dust…  So we spoke up.  Crazy, Ugly, Illegitimate…  Never again.  We are the symptom.  We are the torn in the side.  They scream ’til it hurts.  They can’t sleep.  I want to be one of them.  We try.  We bleed.  Endless.  Broken.  White.  Lines.  And we don’t care anymore.  I don’t give a fuck.  ‘Cause I’m one of them.  Our rebel hearts will turn restless ghosts.  They can never truly kill us and we will never truly die.

Modern Life Is War – “s/t” 7 “

The coolest copies of this 7″ are by far the first pressing copies that were self-released by the band on Modern Life Is War records.  I always love self-released DIY punk records, especially when it leads to success by the band and you can always look back and see how they built everything themselves.  500 on clear, 500 on black, and 50 “friends press” copies that were a mix of whatever vinyl they had on hand. Some are brown, some pink, some burgundy, etc. I used to own a brownish one, but I sold it last year before I took the photo. 

The first record shown in the main photo is a test pressing of the self-released version of this release on Modern Life Is War Records, out of 13 copies.  Next is the original clear vinyl out of 500 copies on MLIW Records.  Everything with the layout is super stark black and white, I really like that. 

After the first pressing, the MLIW guys teamed up with Big Joe from Lifeline Records in Chicago and the 7″ was repressed several times.  You can see that everything stayed almost exactly the same, except for the label name on the bottom of the back cover.  Funny story about me and Joe…  Joe and I used to keep in touch regarding trading records and stuff.  Mostly because he always wanted a couple Kill Your Idols records that I owned, haha.  But we had never met.  Oddly enough, one day Joe randomly found himself inside my house in California!  He had come out to California for some Redemption 87 reunion shows, and some of his friends from Chicago were playing the shows, I think they were called Wound  Up?  Anyway, he and one of our apparent mutual friends walked into a hang-out/party type thing at the Calaveras House (the punk house I mentioned above in Concord, CA), where I lived.  I was at work super late on some shitty system install till almost midnight, but apparently he had gotten to talking to some of the kids at the house and realized that this dude Kyle Whitlow that he knew actually lived at this house. So when I came home at midnight, he was there to greet me, introducing himself. I was so fucking confused why this dude who I’d been trading records with for years was in my house, greeting me at my door at midnight!  I was just happy he didn’t steal my Kill Your Idols LP’s that he wanted! haha, just kidding.  Joe is an awesome dude, and I was really psyched to meet him.

That weekend where I got to meet Joe was super fun.  Which reminds me of another cool thing about that weekend.  Linas Garsys (Malfunction Records, he’s done art for AFI, Nerve Agents, American Nightmare, etc) was also in town, and he slept over at the house for the weekend.  In exchange for giving him a place to crash, he painted me and my girlfriend Isa a custom painting of her and our dog, Amos.  He ran out of time and never finished it, so it is only half complete, but it looks kinda cool that way!  You can check it out in the photo above.  I thought it was super nice that he offered to do that for us.  To this day it hangs in my home and is one of my favorite things I own.  

Anyway, Joe went on to press many versions of this MLIW 7″.  There are tons of cool pressings. The red copy is a summer tour pressing out of 125, with this funny insert of a shirtless Tyler, MLIW drummer, after he’s apparently punched a hole in the wall? haha.  Only these 125 red copies had this funny insert, so it’s kind of cool to note here. 

When they were pressing the clear red vinyl copies, there were actually 8 copies that came out solid red and 4 copies that came out as a pink/white swirl.  At one point I even owned two copies of the solid red 7″ (only 8 exist!), and one copy of the pink swirl (only 4 exist!).  I bought my pink copy from Karl Hensel, drummer of Holding On, when he started managing Bridge Nine Records.  I sold all three of those rare records last year, but I was only able to find a photo of one red copy, but not the pink copy.

The green copy is a European Tour pressing, numbered out of 325, and has a special insert with green text.

The yellow copy is a Japanese tour pressing (!!) out of 150.  It has a special strip around it with some Japanese text on the front, tour dates on the back.  Even the back cover has song titles in Japenese. Pretty cool!  The white/black mix copy with white cover on the bottom row of the main photo was given away via a “raffle” by ordering stuff from Lifeline direct, I think there are 50 of those.  The blue copy was sold on the final MLIW Tour and packaged with an LP copy of the Midnight In America LP.  Over the years, MLIW just kept on growing, so Joe kept on pressing records to keep up with the band.  You’ll see below that he pressed a bunch of their LP’s as well. It’s great that they were able to maintain that local relationship with Joe, even as the band got a lot bigger.

This photo just compares all the different inserts used over the years.

Modern Life Is War / Kill Your Idols – “Split” 7″

Joe also pressed a live split 7″ between MLIW and Kill Your Idols (big surprise, he’s a super fan!).  You probably noticed the pink copy in the bottom right of the main 7″ photo at the top. I used to own a bunch more copies of this 7″, including a test pressing, but I sold them long ago.  I found a photo of the test and included it, but didn’t want to include all the individual pics of the regular pressings I sold on eBay.

Modern Life Is War – “My Love, My Way” LP

I was pumped on the My Love, My Way LP when it came out.  The artwork was done by this dude Chris Cannon, and he did an awesome job with it.  The LP is a gatefold layout with all of these rustic Americana type photos, along with some really classy looking typesets.  I felt like it was the perfect aesthetic for a band from Iowa.  I liked the layout so much, I ended up having Chris Cannon do the layout for the Killing The Dream 7″/CD a couple years later (if you’ve ever thought these two records looked similar, now you know why!).

The vinyl itself was cool too, especially the “rootbeer” vinyl.  It’s like a clear brown vinyl with black streaks in it, which matches the background of the layout pretty perfectly.  The limited pre-order color via the label (Martyr Records) was white vinyl, and the rootbeer was more numerous – It was ~300 on white, ~600 on rootbeer, give or take a few overages.

But the most limited color was clear gold vinyl, out of 100 copies.  This was a “friends only” pressing.  I wasn’t friend status, but I ended up getting a copy from Zack Nelson, the guitarist of In Control, right around the time I was doing the In Control 7″/CDEP on Rivalry.  I think I traded him a couple records that I had doubles.  I think it was a Lifetime – Hello Bastards LP and a Blood For Blood LP.  MLIW, In Control, and Holding On were all “buddy bands” type of deal, so it was natural that Zack had scored a copy or two of the gold vinyl copies.  Later Big Joe repressed the My Love, My Way LP on Lifeline, and did yellow/white swirl and brown/black swirl.  I had those, but sold them a while back. I also owned test pressings of the original Martyr Records release, as well as the Lifeline Records release, but I sold those too.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find photos of the tests, because I sold them privately (not on eBay), so I don’t think I ever took photos of them.

Here’s a photo showing the inside of the gatefold layout with cool antique photos.

Here’s a double-sided full color promo poster for the “My Love. My Way.”, put out by Martyr Records.  I remember being really impressed when I saw these, because I know they’re fucking expensive, and you could tell Steve Martyr was going all out with this release.

Modern Life Is War – “Witness” LP

Ah, the Witness LP.  As I said in the write-up at the top, this was an important record to me.  I can still just sit and vibe out to the mood and lyrics of this record. 

The gatefold layout features old photos of their hometown Marshalltown, Iowa, and it just makes you feel the band and everything around them that made them what they are… Especially if you’re from a small rural blue-collar town, like me.

I especially love the record release cover, sold at the show in Marshalltown, Iowa on September 23, 2005, which features photo copies of original newspaper clippings from the local Marshalltown newspaper. 

A close-up of a particular article from a local Marshalltown newspaper that was used on the record release cover.  It has a direct correlation to a song on the Witness record.   

“John And Jimmy”: “The neighbor boy is home from the war.  His father’s pride…  It spills across the factory floor.  And Jimmy, in the paper, I saw you…  Holding that gun, and I read the interview, about the 234 and the blood in the sand of an oil rich land.  While I was back home safe and clean.  John and Jimmy…  Say a prayer for us…  The passive sinners.  I bite my tongue.  I shake your hand.  Yeah, I’m still playing in that stupid band.  ‘Cause we all do what we gotta do, boys.  We’re all doing whatever we can.”

I thought this song was particularly mature and insightful.  While most punk bands would be fighting the sometimes oversimplified fight of “world peace” and “no war”, Jeff took an approach of writing about a personal situation where he felt conflicted.  Sure, as punks we’re all anti-war (me too!), especially when we see the negative effects of it all around us.  But at the same time, when you see the direct effects of that war on troops returning in your own community, despite all of your misgivings about why the fuck we are at war, sometimes a simple nod of empathy for “the troops” and inner reflection is in order.  Are we all just “passive sinners” in our plastic society, committing atrocities on a daily basis to the same collective degree as those at war?  Maybe we should pause a moment on all the judgemental stuff and take a look at our own lives as well.  Afterall, we’re all just doing whatever we can.  (Disclaimer: I am completely against war, our meddling in every world affair, and the constant trillions in defense spending.  But that’s why this song was particularly interesting to me, particularly the line “I bite my tongue. I shake your hand.”)

This record was released by Deathwish, but Joe at Lifeline Records was granted the vinyl rights.  I think that is awesome he was given the opportunity to maintain his ties throughout the entire life of the band.  It adds to their Midwest feel and local vibe (Iowa to Chicago connection).  He did a sweet job with this release too. The LP has a great gatefold cover, and all the vinyl colors are similar marble shades that changed just slightly with each pressing.  At the top left is a test pressing of the Witness LP. To the right of it was a pre-cover that was sold at Posi Numbers Fest 2005 with black vinyl and blank silver labels.  I love that MLIW crest logo that was used on the test and the pre-cover. It was the same crest from the cover of the My Love, My Way LP. 

Here’s a bright red copy, which is out of only approximately 12-15 copies or so!  The first pressing was 150 copies on blood red vinyl – that is, red vinyl with black mixed in it.  But a few copies didn’t get any black mixed in it, so 12-15 of them came out clear red. I got my clear red copy when I bought a bunch of stuff from a record trading buddy, Scott Roseberry. 

Close-up of the clear red copy.

This is a note that Joe put in my original pre-order for the blood red LP.  He’s referencing the Posi Numbers Fest at the big weird dome/soccer field (which coincidentally was the last Posi Numbers Fest ever).  He was there selling the Posi Press with black/crest cover and silver labels shown a few photos above.  We got a chance to hang out and catch up a little.  A few months later, the real release of Witness was ready to roll and my copies arrived at my doorstep with this little note in it.

The rest of the LPs are marbled pressings that Lifeline pressed over the years.  When laid out together, they all look so cool together.  They are: blood red out of 150, transparent dark blue tour pressing out of 100, blue/black marble out of 250, blue/white marble out of 1000, green marble 2nd press out of 500, purple vinyl 3rd press out of 500.

The two copies on the bottom left row in the main photo are a European release on Reflections Records.  The layout wasn’t quite as cool on the Euro release – it was a regular non-gatefold jacket, and had a printed insert instead.

One last thing about this album… This LP has a song that was hauntingly real for me, and will forever stick with me and tug at my heartstrings when I hear it.  I think Jeff probably wrote this song about his bandmates, or at the least, his community of friends in punk that he grew up with.  I can identify with that meaning, too, but that isn’t what it always reminds me of…  Actually this song came to me at a particularly big crossroads in my life…  Substitute “sometimes the boys…” with “girl” and change the seven year span in the song from “16 to 23” to “21 to 28” and you get the drift.  A seven year relationship of any kind can apply here, especially when you’re young, and specifically if it involves “not knowing what forever means” and “after all this growing up together, all the good has gone away”.  Even the title of the song is perfect…..

“I’m Not Ready”:  “In this life there are no clean breaks…  But starting again is a chance that you can take.  I always thought that someday we would overcome the bad luck, and from the burden the gift would come.  Maybe I should have known better.  But I know we’re coming closer to the end of whatever this has been.  When you’re 16 you don’t know what forever means.  When you are 23 you couldn’t be more sorry to say, that after all this growing up together, all the good has gone away.  Sometimes the boys that should be your best friends become strangers with familiar faces.  Just don’t tell me that it’s all too far gone…  That they weren’t meant to live on…  And don’t let go.  I just don’t want to have to pretend…  If we’re not in this together…  If we’re just stuck inside our own heads.  And I’m sorry that it took me so long to find the words to write the song, that we can all still truly believe in, but I truly believe that we can still start again.”

Modern Life Is War – “Midnight In America” LP

The “Midnight In America” LP was a paradox for me.  Standing on its own, it’s actually a really good record, and I do enjoy it!  However, compared to Witness, it could just never compare. But to be truthful – I don’t think that anything they could have done would have compared, at least not to me… Witness was just a special thing for me.  There are a lot of good songs on this record though, and you should really give it more of a chance if you’ve always been disappointed that it “wasn’t Witness”.  Joe at Lifeline released this record again. I used to own a lot of different versions of this record, including a test pressing, but I sold them last year.  The top copy is the black/white swirl pressed on Lifeline, the copy on the right is the European pressing on Reflections records on a similar grey/black swirl. The blue vinyl copy was sold on the Final U.S. Tour with a special numbered cover out of 200 copies.

The photo above showcases the cool artwork of this release.  This one is actually the European release on Reflections, but this time both Lifeline and Reflections had similar layouts. They were both gatefolds, but the Euro release had a printed dust sleeve with no insert, whereas the Lifeline release has the usual plain white dust sleeve and a printed insert (but same art as the printed dust sleeve on the Euro release).  Either version’s artwork displayed here would look about the same.

Close-up of the meticulously detailed drawing on the inside of the gatefold.

Test pressing of Midnight In America on Lifeline Records.  I sold this about a year ago.

Final Tour package, featuring the Midnight In America LP and 7″ on blue, numbered out of 200 copies.  My 7″ has a lot of black swirl, not sure if they were all like this or not.

Close-up showing the tour dates of the Final U.S. Tour.

Modern Life Is War – “Last Show” Boxset

Modern Life Is War played their last show ever in Marshalltown, Iowa on April 26th, 2008. Kids from all over the country flew to the closest airport that they could, and drove to that tiny town in Iowa to see the band play one final time, but this time in their native environment.  I imagine 90% of the people at that show had definitely never seen them play in their hometown before, since it was so out of the way?  I wouldn’t know, I wasn’t at that show… But I wish I would have been. I considered going, but didn’t man up and make the trek.  Afterwards, I really regretted not going.  This was the last modern hardcore band, other than maybe Have Heart, that has really “meant something to me”.  But this band stood apart because of their tie to that small town, and the chord that struck with me.  I wish I could have gone there to see them play in their hometown just one time.  I think it would have been worth the trip.  I think it would have made an important impression on me.  For their last show, Joe at Lifeline put together this really slick boxset hand numbered out of 65.  I got my copy from a kid named Matt Stonecipher who moved to California from Illinois a few years back.  He flew home to Chicago and drove to the show in Marshalltown.  After owning it for a few years, he sold it to me.  The boxset had photo-copied essays that Jeff wrote about each of their records, as well as original black and white photos of each band member.  It had one copy of each of their releases on vinyl, also numbered out of 65 on the dust sleeve.  The Witness LP was a clear blue vinyl never seen before, I think they were a variant that Joe had pulled out and saved for years.  It must have come from the purple vinyl or one of the blue marble pressings of the Witness LP.  The Midnight In America were blue vinyl copies left over from the Final U.S. Tour pressing out of 200 on blue, and the 7″ and My Love, My Way LP were just regular copies left over from the last pressing of each of those releases on Lifeline.  The boxset also came with a pin and a flier for the show. 

This is screen printed on the front of the LP mailer that houses the entire boxset.

Everything was housed in an LP mailer that had a simple little piece of velcro adhesive attached to either panel, so it closes nicely.  You can see the small little velcro square in the photo above.  Such a sweet DIY touch, and perfectly cheap yet functional.  Joe did a great job with this boxset, just like he did with all of their releases on his label.  As I’ve said many times above, I’m really glad he was able to release all of their releases on vinyl at some point.  It provided a congruency and midwestern local flavor that really added to the band’s overall aesthetic. 

Below are detailed photos of all the essays, fliers, and photos included with the boxset, in case you wanted to check them out.

A short introduction…

The 7″.

My Love. My Way.

Witness, page 1.

Witness, page 2.

Midnight In America.

Show flier. Last show. April 26th, 2008.

This text is stamped on the dust sleeves of each record in the boxset, and all numbers match. Mine are all #18/65.  Also shown is the pin that came with the boxset.

The original photos included in the boxset.

My MLIW collection, at its peak:

  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (TEST PRESS, 1st press, out of 13, self released on MLIW Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (CLEAR, 1st press, out of 500, self released on MLIW records)
  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (BROWN, 1st press, Friends Press out of 50, self released on MLIW records)
  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (BLACK, 2nd press, out of 500, self released on MLIW records)
  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (PINK SWIRL, 3rd press, Spring 2003 tour, #3/4 plant mis-press, personalized to Karl Hensel, Lifeline Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (SOLID RED, 3rd press, Spring 2003 tour, #8/8 plant mis-press, “OOPS… SOLID RED” written on dust sleeve, Lifeline Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (CLEAR RED, 3rd press, Spring 2003 tour, out of 125, Lifeline Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (WHITE, 3rd press, “posed photo” insert out of 1150, Lifeline records)
  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (GREEN, 4th press, Euro tour press #46/325, LifeLine Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (YELLOW, 5th press, Japanese tour sleeve and OBI strip, out of 150)
  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (BLACK, 5th press, LifeLine stamp on dust sleeve, out of 600, LifeLine Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (WHITE, 6th press, “live photo” insert out of 2125, LifeLine Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (WHITE/BLACK mix, “Raffle” version with WHITE cover, LifeLine Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – s/t (BLUE, Final Tour package, out of 200)
  • Modern Life Is War / Kill Your Idols – Live on WLUW (TEST PRESS)
  • Modern Life Is War / Kill Your Idols – Live on WLUW (BLACK, 1st press out of 150, pre-cover and stamped labels for 07/25/05 show at CBGB’s)
  • Modern Life Is War / Kill Your Idols – Live on WLUW (CLEAR, 1st press out of 300, tour edition)
  • Modern Life Is War / Kill Your Idols – Live on WLUW (PINK, 1st press out of 300, mail order version)
  • Modern Life Is War / Kill Your Idols – Live on WLUW (BLUE, 1st press out of 1000)
  • Modern Life Is War / Kill Your Idols – Live on WLUW (ORANGE, 2nd press out of 500)
  • Modern Life Is War – My Love. My Way. (TEST PRESS, Martyr Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – My Love. My Way. (GOLD, Friends pressing, out of 100, Martyr Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – My Love. My Way. (WHITE, Martyr Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – My Love. My Way. (ROOTBEER, Martyr Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – My Love. My Way. (TEST PRESS, LifeLine Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – My Love. My Way. (YELLOW/WHITE SWIRL, out of 300, LifeLine Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – My Love. My Way. (BLACK/GOLD SWIRL, out of 1200, LifeLine Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – Witness (TEST PRESS, w/test press cover, out of 20, Lifeline Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – Witness (CLEAR RED, plant mis-press, out of 12-15)
  • Modern Life Is War – Witness (BLUE/WHITE MARBLE, Marshalltown Rec Release 09-23-05 cover #43/62)
  • Modern Life Is War – Witness (BLACK, Posi Fest 2005 cover #69/250)
  • Modern Life Is War – Witness (TRANSPARENT DARK BLUE, Tour pressing, out of 100)
  • Modern Life Is War – Witness (BLOOD RED, out of 150)
  • Modern Life Is War – Witness (BLUE/BLACK MARBLE, out of 250)
  • Modern Life Is War – Witness (BLUE/WHITE MARBLE, out of 1000)
  • Modern Life Is War – Witness (GREEN MARBLE, 2nd press, out of 500)
  • Modern Life Is War – Witness (PURPLE MARBLE, 3rd press, out of 500)
  • Modern Life Is War – Witness (GREY w/BLACK splatter, Euro pressing, out of 250, Reflections Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – Witness (CLEAR w/BLACK splatter, Euro pressing, out of 250, Reflections Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – Midnight In America (TEST PRESS)
  • Modern Life Is War – Midnight In America (CLEAR, Pre-Release, out of 150, LifeLine Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – Midnight In America (RED, out of 325, LifeLine Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – Midnight In America (GREY, out of 325, LifeLine Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – Midnight In America (BLACK/WHITE swirl, out of 1000, LifeLine Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – Midnight In America (BLUE, regular cover, out of 800, LifeLine Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – Midnight In America (BLUE, Final Tour Version, out of 200, LifeLine Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – Midnight In America (YELLOW/BLACK swirl, out of 150, Reflections Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – Midnight In America (GREY/BLACK swirl, out of 350, Reflections Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – Midnight In America (BLACK, out of 350, Reflections Records)
  • Modern Life Is War – Last Show Box Set (#18/65)

4 Responses to Modern Life Is War

  1. Brad says:

    This was a phenomenal read. I feel the same way about this band. Being as I’m from a very small town a few hours from where you grew up- Weaverville, Ca. About an hour North of Redding. There was a total population of 3,500 at the time of my departure. I felt trapped and alone, where no one would listen and no one cared. Though my family was moderately okay in the monetary department, it wasn’t enough to set me up on my own, so like you, I had to make my own way. So many times I just wanted to pack up and leave, anywhere, everywhere.

    There is a strong connection between Witness, My Love My Way and the 7″ and I. The song Momentum really tugged on my heart strings, and to this day still does. Right after I moved to Redding and began to establish myself I lost touch with almost everyone I had grown up with. I’d wander the streets at night looking for any clear path in life. Being brought up to work hard at everything you do and to settle early with a well paying job never really “did it” for me. All the while trying to fix myself, not knowing where I went wrong and why I couldn’t just be happy with what I had.

    I was able to see Mliw at The Pound in San Francisco with This is Hell, Bane, Outbreak and a few others. Deadramones was the only track I knew off Witness at that time, but I gave it my all. Unfortunately I only got to see them one other time at The Boardwalk in Sacramento with a few Equal Vision bands right before Midnight in America came out. Though not impressed with the lineup I paid the high cost to drive down and get in. I was one of maybe 6 people shouting along to the words, so it felt fairly intimate. I was able to talk with the band after they played and I was able to show them my tattoo “These dreams will be my anchor”. They offered me a beer, though I declined they were nice guys, really well versed and people I’d love to hang out with more often. I thanked them for what their band had done for me and they hooked me up with a whole bag of merch. I was thoroughly excited.

    I miss this band. I haven’t felt much of a connection to many other current bands, except Crime In Stereo’s earlier work. What I wouldn’t give to see them one last time.

    Thank you for your contribution and post about this band.

  2. Pingback: Detailed vinyl photos added |

  3. Brian says:

    This is a really awesome read. When ever I hear MLIW, It makes me remember the power that this band had in their performance and how much it set an impact in my life from those experiences. I am the photographer of three out of the five B&W pictures you’ll find in that box set.

  4. Harry Huntington says:

    Do you know who did the artwork for the Midnight in America Euro Reflections /350 gatefold? The one with all the filigree?

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