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April 1, 2005

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Jade Tree Label Calls on Old Friends for 100th Release

When it came time to plan the 100th release from Jade Tree Records, co-owner Darren Walters wanted to do something that would reflect how far his Wilmington-based indie rock label had come. After kicking around a few ideas, he hit upon the solution: commemorate the label’s landmark release with a package of recordings from Lifetime, the popular New Jersey band that was instrumental in helping Jade Tree gain momentum in the mid-1990s through their blend of punk rock and emo. Plans are underway to release the package later this year.

Though Lifetime broke up in 1997, Walters remembers clearly the sound and energy the band generated. “They took the more melodic and emotional side of music and combined it with the driving punk rock attitude,” he explains. “It was sort of revolutionary at the time. We were blown away.”

Jade Tree released the group’s second album, Hello Bastards, in 1995. The record won the band a following and generated interest in the label. “People went nuts for it,” Walters recalls. “That was the first time we saw the label step up a significant level.”

Jade Tree was formed by Walters and friend Tim Owen 15 years ago when they were still in their teens. They signed a number of hardcore punk bands before hitting pay dirt with Lifetime in 1995, followed by The Promise Ring a year later. Other notable signings include My Morning Jacket, Pedro the Lion, Jets to Brazil and Kid Dynamite. Walters estimates the label has sold “easily a half million records” since it started.

Despite Jade Tree’s influential presence in the indie community, it hasn’t been easy bringing the members of Lifetime back together. Though everyone has been contacted about the project, Walters is prepared to face some obstacles. “You’re talking about people that may not have spoken to each other in quite a while. They may not be in music at all anymore. They may not know where those basement tapes or great photos are.”

Though details are sketchy, Walters is leaning toward a box set. “How we promote it is going to be dependent upon all the stuff we can pull together,” he says. “If we can get significantly more tracks, then we’ll have more songs. If we can get the band to sit together and reminisce and get a story out of that, then we’ve got an interesting booklet.”
For more information about Jade Tree or Lifetime, go to

Out & About Magazine

Michael Pollock