Last Chance to Reason (left to right): Chris Corey (bass), Tom Waterhouse (guitar), Evan Sammons (drums), Mike Lessard (vocals), Brian Palmer (
keyboards), and A.J. Harvey (guitars). Photo by Jeremy Saffer
Last Chance to Reason was formed in
2003 at the University of Maine by guitarist
A.J. Harvey and drummer Evan Sammons—
both jazz and contemporary music majors—
and bassist Chris Corey, who was in high
school at the time. The band recorded
an EP in 2005, and in 2007 a full-length
album called Lvl. 1 followed. After several
lineup changes over the years, guitarist Tom
Waterhouse, a fellow University of Maine
alumni, entered the fray prior to Level 2.
Vocalist Mike Lessard and keyboardist Brian
Palmer round out the band’s current lineup.
One of the more ironic things about
LCTR is that they’re heavily influenced by
an art form that might, at first, seem antithetical to their level of musicianship—video
games. Their 2007 album Lvl. 1 was heavily influenced by the 1994 Nintendo game
Super Metroid—which inspired the song
titles “Escape from Brinstar,” “Kraid Ain’t
Got Shit on Me,” and “Destroy Mother
Brain.” Ever the overachievers, the band took
the video game component of their own art
a step further on this album—introducing
a full-length video game that’s synchronized
with Level 2’s underlying tracks.
We caught up with Harvey, Waterhouse,
and Corey at their studio in the middle
of one of their six-days-a-week marathon
rehearsals as they prepare for their upcoming tour.
First off, what bands inspired you guys?
A.J. Harvey: Pretty standard stuff early
on—Elvis, Aerosmith, Van Halen, and AC/
DC. When I started getting older, I got
into heavier stuff.
Tom Waterhouse: Opeth, Dream Theater,
Rush, Meshuggah, and Porcupine Tree.
Chris Corey: I really like a lot of old prog,
like Yes, Genesis, and Rush.
And what about influences on your
Harvey: In the beginning, I liked Kirk
Hammett and Dimebag [“Dimebag”
Darrell Abbott, the late Pantera guitar-ist]. It evolved from there. I like Allan
Holdsworth and Frank Gambale’s stuff
with Chick Corea. I like John Coltrane,
because he really shredded, for lack of a
better word. I really like the caliber of lead
playing or soloing that the jazz guys like
Coltrane have—it’s ridiculous.
Waterhouse: Also Randy Rhoads. Those
are probably our first influences.