Zero Down - With a Lifetime to Pay (Cover Artwork)

Zero Down

Zero Down: With a Lifetime to PayWith a Lifetime to Pay (2001)
Fat Wreck Chords

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: thirtysecondsthirtyseconds
(others by this writer | submit your own)

So anyway, the other day, I was flicking through some records I haven't played in a while and decided to crack open Zero Down's With a Lifetime to Pay. For anyone not aware, Zero Down was fronted by the late great Jim Cherry, a founding member of two skatepunk heavyweights, Pulley and Strung Out, bo.
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So anyway, the other day, I was flicking through some records I haven't played in a while and decided to crack open Zero Down's With a Lifetime to Pay. For anyone not aware, Zero Down was fronted by the late great Jim Cherry, a founding member of two skatepunk heavyweights, Pulley and Strung Out, both being favourites of mine. So how does this sound?

If Pulley are the super summery harvesters of feel-good melodies and Strung Out yield a darker, more metallic sound, then Zero Down are somewhere in between that, albeit a bit slower. Actually, when I first heard this a few years ago , my initial thought was that this is indeed slower. Too slow. Silly me. It turns out that that same speed represents the mood Jim and company went for here: Dark and hopeless. Whilst song titles like "The Way It Is" and "Empty Promised Land" alone show the woeful tale of being older in "the real world" Jim is trying to tell here, the lyrics give us a clearer insight into the agony and despair woven into With a Lifetime. From "Going Nowhere:"

Is this what you offer me, a system of dishonesty?
Where life gets measured monetarily and I'm just another face.
Another man with the simple skills of staying alive and paying the bills.
Never amount to anything, live and die where I've always been.
This is where I'm at, the bills still come no matter what;
I'm all grown up but still Im going nowhere.
Despite all this doom and gloom (complimented well by some smooth gritty, moody vocals), we are provided with a few faster songs such as "The Way It Is," "It Ain't Over Yet" and "The Best," which are just enough to keep everything flowing well. In other words, you don't get bored. Let's face it, Mr. Cherry was always great at writing creative riffs using variations on the bog standard power chord (see "Working Class Whore" or "Mind Of My Own") and this is no exception. Unfortunately that link with the songwriting in Pulley and Strung Out left me wishing this was in the same vein. What we have here is a nice change for fans of the aforementioned bands and a decent album but ultimately, I end up returning to Twisted by Design or Esteem Driven Engine.

Thanks for the music Jim, and rest in peace. Did you have to close this album with "...and now I choke to death on the words I didn't say," though?


People who liked this also liked:
Strung Out - Twisted by DesignDescendents - Milo Goes To CollegeRise Against - The Sufferer & the WitnessBad Religion - No ControlLagwagon - Let's Talk About FeelingsRise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteNOFX - Punk In DrublicLagwagon - TrashedNOFX - The DeclineLagwagon - Resolve

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Will_StrungOut (March 7, 2008)

This record is great.

For a Fat Wreck album, surprisingly there's no filler.

Anonymous (February 24, 2006)

i was always thought the free mp3s and down this road were amazing songs but never got around to picking up the cd. I think i will do so this weekend

jbigwig (January 19, 2006)

This album is pretty tight, little slower than Strung Out and Pulley, but certainley well written.

Poor man's Joey Cape?? Come on dude...Radinsky's voice and Cape's are a lot different, but I still prefer Scott's. Rev by TFP in my eyes should be considered one of the best punk albums of the 90's.

And in respect to Jim Cherry so should Suburban Teenage Wasteland Blues.

RIP Mon Frere

Anonymous (January 18, 2006)

I don't like Pulley that much, and can't stand Strung Out, but I do enjoy these guys very much.


SilentStorms (January 17, 2006)

I never got into this album as much as Pulley, as it seemed almost like a knockoff. But severe respect is due, HOLLA!

Anonymous (January 16, 2006)

Outstanding album. It has better lyrics than Strung Out and Pulley. Listen to "Never gonna be the same"...........very good message in that song.

I actually met Jim Cherry a few days before this album came out and I congratulated him on it. It's so sad he passed away, this band would have gone on to make great album after great album.

AlmostPunkEnough (January 16, 2006)

paul, i was being somehwat sarcastic. i mean, personally i love Radinsky's voice, but that's just my taste. he does have somewhat of a Cape feel to it, but different and stronger in certain ways. i don't know, i'm a huge Pulley fan, so i'm very biased. i can see why people don't like it.

and Scott's fastball was more of a sidearm-slider-fastball, at least in his prime. that shit was nasty.

Anonymous (January 16, 2006)

yea i figure the bush ones were more or less 2 years worth of fat comps (by the way, the bush comps DO kick ass)

but their was something about having hte fat comp ya know...

Dante3000 (January 16, 2006)

They did Uncontrolable Fatulance a few years back (three or so?).
But I imagine all the Punk Voter comps and such (Rock Against Bush and Protect) kind of serve the same purpose Both feature a grip of bands and the Punk Voter ones are still like only $6 or $8 and most of the time they have additional material.
But man I miss those old Fat comps.

hubitcherkokov (January 16, 2006)

I would love to see a new (mostly unreleased) compiliation with all of these new signings. I always thought Bracket, Frenzal Rhomb, Wizo, and Consumed were some of the weaker tracks on the more recent comps. I'd love to see them replaced with Strike Anywhere, Western Addiction, etc. Well, except Love=Death. That band huffs dongs.

Anonymous (January 16, 2006)

survival of the fattest>physical fattness

your thoughts? just throwing it out there


ps. why the fuck won't fat do those comps anymore? downloading? purevolume/myspace exposure makes it unnecessary? cuz i fucking miss them. those were the best comps, peroid.

Anonymous (January 16, 2006)

Radinsky throws a better fast ball than he does sing.

in all seriousness, he's a decent singer, but nothing great. always reminded me of a poor mans joey cape.


AlmostPunkEnough (January 16, 2006)

"then the vocals kick in and it makes you cringe"

i assume you mean cringe with abject joy and happiness, as the god-like sounds of Scott Radinsky make you thankful you have ears.

Anonymous (January 15, 2006)

"Pulley are the super summery harvesters of feel-good melodies"


the thing with Pulley is that some of their songs kick in and you think, "yes!!!! what a song!!!" then the vocals kick in and it makes you cringe

Anonymous (January 15, 2006)

Lots of good comments on this one. About as honest a skatepunk record ever made. Catchy as hell and a story of truly broken man and the end of his rope. Jim Cherry is a so-cal punk legend that I will always remember. Still sport my Green Zerodown hoodie at work and the one live show for the Canadian snojam tour I got to see them play I will never forget. All I remember is a bunch of people looking around at eachother and asking , Who are these guys? sound pretty good. Who would of known it would be their first and last time through Calgary.

Anonymous (January 15, 2006)

This CD is fucking awesome. Skatepunk at its finest.

BrandonSideleau (January 15, 2006)

I like this better than both Strung Out and Pulley......I actually don't like either one of those bands, they are generic and, being that I grew up in Thousand Oaks/Simi, I've had to hear them every five minutes for 10 years. I used to love this album.....but over the years I've kind of lost base with it.

Dante3000 (January 15, 2006)

To the sailor below me:
I feel the same way about Survival of the Fattest.

hey_sailor (January 15, 2006)

I will always say Physical Fatness was the best fat comp, but I'm biased because that was one of the first punk cds I ever bought...

sallyjesse (January 15, 2006)

its no "60 cycle hum" but this is a good album with a couple stand out tracks. it kills me to see the punk scene disregarding the skate punk sound for overproduce radio emo metal shit. bands like Finch and Taking Back Sunday are pretty much why i gave up hope on mainstream punk, and just started listening to Prince and Sun Ra all the time. Never the less, Zero Down was good while they lasted.

ramo (January 15, 2006)

"i love this band. i love the song that was on fat wreck vol. 4 .. life in the fat lane, was it? it wasn't on this album but it was so good."

Actually it was Fat Music Volume 5 Live Fat, Die Young and the song was called "Down This Road".

The compilation almost narrowily beats out Fat Music Vol. 2 as the best Fat compilation due to the fact Vol. 5 was mostly comprised of unreleased tracks.


soulbleed (January 15, 2006)

i love this band. i love the song that was on fat wreck vol. 4 .. life in the fat lane, was it? it wasn't on this album but it was so good.

ramo (January 15, 2006)

Yes, it isn't quite amazing than Jim Cherry's other work in Pulley and Strung Out but this is still some great melodic punk.

"'A Million More' is probably the most amazing working class song ever..."

True, I like that song but I believe Cherry made better like "Going Nowhere" and Pulley's "Working Class Whore".


Anonymous (January 15, 2006)

this album is pretty mediocre.

Anonymous (January 15, 2006)

Why does this release go almost unnoticed? I've had this for years and years, and I still think it's one of the best cds FAT ever released. Honestly, one of the best records I own, not because it's overly intelligent, not because it's the most proficient musicianship, but because it's one of the most honest albums I've ever heard. There's more heart in this release than there is in most music released today.


BizzleBrizzle (January 15, 2006)

One of the best records Fat Wreck ever released.

AlmostPunkEnough (January 15, 2006)

ok, this is the last time i'll comment here tonight, but after listening to this twice tonight i can't believe i never thought i liked it this much. this shit is so much better than i remember. it's gotta be a year and a half or so since i broke it out, but goddamn. this really is up there with Strung Out. Pulley i still hesitate to put it with, but who cares. ignore my 8, this shit gets a 9 definitley.

Anonymous (January 15, 2006)

This album takes me back a few years to a slightely better time...zero down was great. too bad we never got to see more from them. anyway, if you see this one around, pick it, its worth it.


hubitcherkokov (January 15, 2006)

Not a bad album, but the album art/layout are really horrible.

Anonymous (January 15, 2006)

This was one of the last great albums of the golden age of skate-punk. I love the sound of the drums on the recording and the dark lyrics.

I'd listen to this over Pully and day of the week.

AlmostPunkEnough (January 15, 2006)

damn, i always forget how fantastic "It Ain't Over Yet" and "Bite The Hand That Feeds" are.

oh, and Dante, i've listened to 'Stand There Until You're Sober' everyday since i first got it well over a month ago... i think i have a crush on that fucking song or something, i might ask it to maybe be my girlfriend. but anyway, you gotta remember to throw 'Super Powers Enable Me to Blend in With Machinery' onto that list.

just one more beer then grow up.

AlmostPunkEnough (January 15, 2006)

TheOneTrueBill, most music makes me wanna listen to Pulley. if it's good i'm like, hey, you know what's even better than this? PULLEY! and if it's bad i say, wow, i should listen to some Pulley to get this disgusting noise out of my ears.

but yea, i agree, this makes me particularly want to listen to Pulley.

david_arquette (January 15, 2006)

This album reminds me of my freshman year. Actually, I lost it awhile back and saw it on my friend's iPod, so I started listening to it. Still a great album.

clamum (January 15, 2006)

Great album... my favorite is "No Apologies."

TheOneTrueBill (January 15, 2006)

This is a pretty decent album. I don't listen to it that often because, honestly, it just makes me want to listen to Pulley.

Dante3000 (January 15, 2006)

I have to say this may be one of my favorite albums of any Jim Cherry related project. It's amazing musically and the lyrics are so complex they shouldn't flow so easily. I have preferance to the slower songs ("Empty Promise Land" and such).
"A Million More" is probably the most amazing working class song ever (currently fighting in my mind with BTMI! "Stand there till your sober").
An amazing album on all accounts in my opinion and a sadly overlooked piece of punk rock.

Anonymous (January 15, 2006)

An often overlooked album that I listen to from time to time. It felt like it could become something great in the future.

AlmostPunkEnough (January 15, 2006)

pretty damn good album. it doesn't touch the almighty Pulley or Strung Out, but it's not fair to compare anyway. i have to be in a certain mood to listen to this, but when it's right, it's very solid.

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