NEPA Scene Staff

Wilkes-Barre hard rockers Lifer release new single ‘Hate Me, Love Me’ from long-awaited EP

Wilkes-Barre hard rockers Lifer release new single ‘Hate Me, Love Me’ from long-awaited EP
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From a press release:

After an 18-year hiatus, Wilkes-Barre hard rock band Lifer surprised fans last year when they reemerged with three new songs that even lead vocalist Nick Coyle said was a “surreal experience.”

Now, the recently reunited group is back with a fourth track that will be part of a forthcoming five-song EP, solidifying their long-awaited resurrection that began with local reunion concerts in 2018 and 2019.

“Hate Me, Love Me,” which was engineered, mixed, and mastered by Coyle at Woodhenge Studios in Dallas, Pennsylvania, was released today on all major platforms, and an accompanying music video is in the works.

Described by guitarist Aaron Fink as a “modern hard rock song that blends the old school sounds we grew up with with a modern approach,” the single veers slightly from the nu metal music that the band first became known for in the early 2000s, yet still embodies their signature heavy, melodically-driven sound.

“I think the band has really evolved quite a bit over the past 20+ years,” Fink said.

“We are all better at what we do now, and we’ve progressed greatly while keeping the emotion and energy of our songs from the past.”

This evolution can be attributed to both Fink and Coyle’s lifetime of experience – performing together and separately with some of the industry’s biggest bands. In fact, during Lifer’s hiatus in the early to mid-2000s, Fink joined platinum-selling rock band Breaking Benjamin (2002-2010) and then gold-selling Earshot (present), while Coyle spent his tenure with his acclaimed indie rock band The Drama Club before joining gold-selling rockers Cold (2017-present).

After Lifer got back together in 2018, they added a new member, bassist Mike Morgan (The Drama Club, Pan.a.ce.a), and Tony Kruszka, originally the DJ for Lifer, moved to drums, helping to diversify the band’s sound and leading many to tout the lineup as the strongest to date. Kruszka and Morgan are featured on all of Lifer’s new material, including “The Start of Something Else” (which premiered on NEPA Scene in March of 2020), “Born Again,” and “Lightning in a Bottle.” All were written, recorded, and released during the pandemic in between online collaborations with past and present members of Filter, Crobot, Candlebox, Black Label Society, Black Star Riders, and other national artists.

“We’re always writing and recording. We put out a few new songs last year, and we’ve been working on new music since the absence of live shows,” Coyle noted.

“It’s time to let people hear what we’ve been up to.”

Lifer’s upcoming EP will be their first studio release since their debut self-titled full-length album, which produced by Alex Lifeson of Rush through the major label Universal Music/Republic Records in 2001.

Featuring standout tracks like “Boring,” “Not Like You,” and “Ugly,” the band was invited to contribute their hit single “Breathless” to the RIAA-certified gold soundtrack for “The Scorpion King.” Prior to inking their record deal, they first earned national fame when they won “MTV’s Ultimate Cover Band” contest in 2000 under their former name, Strangers with Candy.

Lifer will play these songs and more at their first concert in over a year on Friday, June 18 at 8 p.m. at the River Street Jazz Cafe (667 N. River St., Plains) with Scranton alternative rock band University Drive. Tickets, which are $12 in advance or $15 at the door, are on sale now at

See NEPA Scene’s review and photos of Lifer’s 2018 reunion show here, photos from their 2019 set at the F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre here, and watch Episode 76 of the NEPA Scene Podcast, where Coyle and Fink discuss their formation and early connections to Breaking Benjamin, the burgeoning local music scene at the time, their big break on MTV, Lifer’s breakup and later reformation as Stardog Champion, revisiting Lifer’s music all these years later, and more, below:

Photo by Amy Bezek Photography