The Last Perfect Thing
Jeff Trott & The Lifers.

Photo: Unknown

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This is the beauty of the Internet; I mention in passing that before Jeffrey joined Wire Train, he was in a band called The Lifers. I didn't know for sure if it was true, but it turns out it was ! A few months pass, and eventually somebody comes up with the goods on said band. That person is Daniel Garcia, and all of the information on this particular page comes courtesy of Daniel.

The Lifers existed from 1980 to around 1984 when Jeff hooked up with Wire Train, the full line-up being

Clay Smith; vocals
Dave Warren; drums
Jeff Trott; guitar
Mike Stephenson; bass.

They had an interesting sound something like a mix between Echo & The Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs, Wire, and Bowie. They cut an album around 1981 which is worth finding or re-releasing into CD form. I also vaguely remember some compilation album, I think the Rock City club put it out in the early 80's, and there was one Lifer song on there. They were a very good band and Jeff had a unique sound and tone even then.

Jeff was one of the first guitarists I ever knew who actually knew how to use all of his pedals in a full-bodied way that was both punchy and glossy at the same time. I was in a band called The Matcheads and both bands used to hang out together during the early 80's.

Of all of the people I ever knew in music, Jeff was probably the one who really deserved to make it due to his talent, determination and personality. I'm proud to have known Jeff back then and always brag about it to other musicians. He's a helluva guy.

I remember one time The Lifers once went on tour and somewhere out in the middle of the west, way to the north, Clay jumped out of the van and hitched-hike all the way to Texas to visit his family. He was a real rock-n-roll sprit, great poet & singer, and all-around nice guy. He once worked at a construction site way out in Concord and couldn't get a ride back into San Francisco. He brought a sleeping bag and slept on the job site many working nights.

At the first Matchead gig, the Lifers showed up, and we left a hall in San Bruno narrowly escaping having a big brawl with some Somoans. We all fit in a small car, left, decided to double-back and picked up Clay running for his life - he was panting in the car while sitting next to me and said, "Hello, my name's Clay". He was a thoroughly nice guy from the get-go.

The Lifers cut a terrific three-song demo at a studio in L.A. While the other three were cutting backing tracks, Clay went into a local bar and got drunk with Keith Carradine. When he showed up at the studio to lay his vocals, he was so thoroughly drunk that he slept there. The other three got pissed, packed their gear and drove back to San Francisco without him. He had to hitch-hike home. Now is that a rock-n-roll guy, or what?!?!

  My thanks to Daniel Garcia for the information on this particular page.