Looking for the perfect music to listen to while skating through Reno? Well, look no further than Last One Down.
“I just wanted a skate-punk band,” said Andy Harrison, Last One Down’s singer/songwriter and guitarist.
Yet the band is so much more. Last One Down recently released debut album Failing Dreams, and yes, the skate punk is loud and proud, with riotous drums and chugging guitar, but you’ll also hear hints of hardcore (“Failing Dreams”), pop-filled choruses (“50”) arena rock (“Eye”) and beyond.
Last One Down celebrated Failing Dreams with a badass punk-rock show at the Holland Project in September.
“It was easily one of the best shows I’ve ever played,” Harrison said. “There were a bunch of kids there who were so into it, and they were just dancing around and having a good time. A lot of friends came out, and people loved it. We’re still all on high from it. It was awesome. I’ve had some friends texting me, like, ‘This is some of the best stuff you’ve ever done,’ and, ‘This album rips!’ A couple of people on social media overseas have given us compliments, too.”
Failing Dreams is 12 songs packed tight with sing-along, blast-beating punk. Who better to produce the album than Paul Miner, who has worked with New Found Glory, Buckethead, Motörhead, Atreyu and others?
“We had a big group of songs, and we just kept playing and playing,” Harrison said. “We didn’t know really what we were going to do, because I recorded our first EP, but we wanted something super-pro (for the full-length), but also didn’t want to spend $10,000 on something. I kind of had an idea of who I wanted to use from my days in being in bands in Las Vegas, so I brought up Paul Miner to these guys, and I played some of his stuff that he’s recorded. They were totally on board, which blew me away. I’ve never had a band that’s been like, ‘Yeah, we’re totally into it, whatever it costs.’ I contacted him, and his rate was really good compared to a lot of other people we were talking to, so we just decided to make the trek down to L.A.”
They spent at week in Los Angeles, recording their debut album with an accomplished producer at a fancy studio, and staying in an RV. Can life get any better?
“It was awesome,” Harrison said. “It was the first time that two of the other guys were in a super-pro studio. I’ve done it before, but in the middle of the night when we could pay a super-cheap rate. We just rolled down there in an RV, stayed in an RV park right down the street from the studio, and rode our bikes every day to the studio.
“Paul, he was amazing, man. We brought all of our own gear, because we know what we want to sound like, and Paul was just, like, ‘Well, I think he should use this guitar and this amp and these pedals,’ and he was absolutely right. He just knew his stuff, man, and we all were super-appreciative, because he’s a pro. We all kind of needed that grooming just to push things to the finishing touch, without changing us too much. It was an absolutely amazing experience for all of us.”
Failing Dreams was recorded three years ago, and would have been out a long time ago if it hadn’t been for that damn virus, and those damn supply-chain issues.
“We wanted to put it out right away, but we ordered vinyl,” Harrison said. “The initial date that they gave us was (the same day as) our release show, so that’s why I booked the release show. It kept getting pushed back and pushed back, but we still celebrated this album’s release. We wanted to do it in the summer, not in the winter. We’re still waiting on the vinyl, and it’s going to be 11 months of waiting by the time we get it.”
Harrison has been in a few different musical projects, and he said none of his previous bandmates have been collectively as cooperative and dedicated as the members of Last One Down.
“This is the first band where every single person is on board,” said Harrison. “They’re like, ‘Let’s do what we got to do,’ and it’s been super awesome to be able to say, ‘Hey, let’s do this,’ and everybody’s like, ‘Yep.’
“Donnie (Grabrick), he’s a phenomenal drummer, and it’s so awesome to just be like, ‘Hey, let’s do this,’ and he just knows what to do. You don’t have to shape it at all. When I put the band together, I was a little unsure of Josh (Watson, guitar), but the dude always practices and always does what he needs to do. He’s written lyrics; he’s written songs; and I’m just like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ Usually, it’s on me; I’m kind of the leader by default, so it’s been awesome having him as pretty much my No. 2. Jason Perl, the bass player, I’ve known him since ninth-grade; we’ve been friends for years, and I was super jealous when he was in Evenground back in the day. I’ve always wanted to be in a band with this dude, and it just kind of happened that he joined up. He’s just solid, and knows what he has to do to be in a band. We’re all older, and we all feel like this is our last chance to kind of make some sort of mark, so we’re trying to push a little bit more than some garage band.”
As Last One Down looks toward the future, Harrison is confident in the collaborative ability that surrounds him.
“Writing with other people at times, of course it sucks, and you butt heads for the most part, but when you create something with three other guys, that’s more important than you making it yourself, because everybody has a little piece in it,” Harrison said. “Collaborating is just a lot better for me, because there’s only so much I can do; I need other people to kind of shape it. With this group of guys, we’re on point, and I think we can only get better.
“I’ve been listening to this album for over a year, and I’m already nitpicking it. We can do better, and I can’t wait for the next one.”
For more info, visit lastonedown.com.