Modern Life is War.
Bringing Modern Life is War to the present
Published on October 1st, 2013 | by Joe Lawler
You probably know Jeffrey Eaton for the years he has spent locally spinning vinyl under the name DJ Eight Ten. But for six years Eaton fronted the Marshalltown hardcore punk band Modern Life is War. The band reunited last fall and in September released its fourth album, “Fever Hunting.”
The music of Modern Life is War might seem like a big departure from the soul, funk and reggae he spins as DJ Eight Ten, but Eaton hears the connection between it all.
“Punk’s the first music I ever got into in high school; it’s how I became friends with the guys in the band. It’s always been part of my life,” Eaton said. “I’m the type of person who likes to know where music comes from. Whatever I’m into, I like to know what influenced it. You can trace back punk to rock to roots rock to soul and R&B. It’s all very connected.
“It might seem strange to some people, but it makes perfect sense in my head. When you’re looking for music that moves you, sometimes that music is very eclectic and spans lots of styles and sounds. The type of music the band plays and the type I spin when I DJ are both very honest, street-level, hit-you-in-your-gut kinds of music. It’s honest music without pretense that anyone can get into.
“They sound very different, but they have a lot in common.”
In August the band headlined a day of the This is Hardcore Festival in Philadelphia alongside Gwar and Kid Dynamite. It was the band’s first show back, playing in front of a crowd of around 3,000. Eaton said he ran into bands he used to tour with and lots of old friends. He said there was a “huge sense of excitement” in the air, like everyone was really ready for a reunion after so much time.
Eaton doesn’t think “Fever Hunting” will be a one-off project for the band. The group reunited almost a year ago, but didn’t announce anything until April of this year. Eaton said the band didn’t want to just play a reunion show with old material. The members wanted to come back with something new, and they didn’t want to announce that until they were sure it was all coming together.
“We had the album about 90 percent completed before we made the announcement,” Eaton said. “There was always the possibility that we might get together and the inspiration or chemistry wasn’t going to be there.
“We wanted to make sure we were going to write an album we were proud of before we considered playing shows. We also wanted to write without any outside influence or pressure about when it would be out. So the five of us got together and wrote the record we wanted to write before anyone in the world knew what we were doing.”
Modern Life is War broke up after spending nearly three years on the road. Eaton said it was a stressful time, with the band being the sole source of income for all the members. The members of the band remained friends after the break up, but Eaton said 24-hour-a-day contact, even among best friends, left them feeling burned out and in need of a break.
Now Eaton is taking a break from his DJ Eight Ten duties, at least for a bit. This month Modern Life is War is touring in support of “Fever Hunting,” and Eaton recently moved to Kansas City, causing a long commute for his Des Moines shows.
“I kept Pressure Drop running for over three years now, and I think there’s always a certain life cycle to things,” Eaton said. “There comes a time when you have to change things up a bit.
“I’m giving things a little time to breathe, but I don’t see it as an end by any means. I’m living in another place and have a big musical project. We’ll see what happens next.”
Modern Life is War
When: 6 p.m. Friday
Where: Wooly’s, 504 E. Locust St.
Cost: $13 in advance,
$15 day of show