Life of Agony

Life of Agony

Life of Agony's Alan Robert, Mina Caputo, Joey Zampella, and Sal Abruscato. (July 6, 2011)
Background information
Origin Brooklyn, New York, United States
Years active 1989–1999, 2002–2012, 2014–present
Labels Roadrunner, Epic, I Scream
Associated acts Type O Negative, Ugly Kid Joe, A Pale Horse Named Death
Members Mina Caputo
Alan Robert
Joey Z.
Sal Abruscato
Past members Whitfield Crane
Dan Richardson
Eric Chan
Mike Palmeri
Kenny Pedersen

Life of Agony is an alternative metal band from Brooklyn, New York.


Formation and River Runs Red (1989–1993)

The band was formed in the summer of 1989 by singer Keith Caputo (now known as Mina Caputo), bassist Alan Robert and guitarist Joey Z. After playing with several drummers, they enlisted Type O Negative drummer Sal Abruscato before recording the debut album River Runs Red (1993) after they signed to Roadrunner Records.

Ugly (1994–1996)

River Runs Red was followed by the more emotional Ugly (1995), but drummer Abruscato left Life of Agony after the accompanying tour. His successor was ex-Pro-Pain & ex-Crumbsuckers skinsman Dan Richardson.

"Through and Through" (1993)
30 second sample of "Through and Through" from River Runs Red.

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"Heroin Dreams" (1997)
30 second sample of "Heroin Dreams" from Soul Searching Sun.

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Soul Searching Sun, Caputo's departure and breakup (1997–2002)

Vocalist Caputo departed the band following the release of Soul Searching Sun (1997). He claimed his heart was no longer in the type of music Life of Agony produced. The band then toured with ex-Ugly Kid Joe singer Whitfield Crane, went back into the studio, and kicked Whitfield Crane out of the band. They contemplated moving Alan Robert to vocals and guitar and adding former Stuck Mojo bassist Corey Lowery, but decided they did not want to continue under the Life of Agony banner without Caputo. In 1999 they decided to split. Alan Robert started Among Thieves with former members of Biohazard and the rest of the band starting Stereomud with Erik Rogers on vocals, both not straying from LOA's style. A live CD with LOA's unplugged performance at the Dutch Lowlands Festival from 1997 was released in 2000.

First reunion and Broken Valley (2003–2011)

Life of Agony performing at the 2009 Damnation Festival.

On January 3 and 4 2003, the original line-up reunited for two sold-out shows at New York's Irving Plaza. Both shows were recorded, and released on CD/DVD later that same year. The reunion resulted in several more shows and appearances on European festivals, as well as the recording of 2005's Broken Valley, the band's first new studio album since 1997 and their first on the Sony-owned Epic Records. The album was a commercial disappointment for Epic, and they parted ways with the band at the end of 2005.[1]

Life of Agony also toured with Megadeth, Dream Theater, and numerous other metal bands during 2005's Gigantour. Three years after their tour in 2005, Life of Agony released a CD/DVD set for River Runs Red with bonus tracks and videos from their early career.

Caputo is featured on the track "What Have You Done", from the band Within Temptation. The song has been a minor hit all around the world.

In a recent MTV's Headbangers Ball, Life of Agony announced they were writing new material.[2] Sal stated in the interview that they were going to start with one song and see if there is a good enough spark to continue writing. This is something special for the fans for their patience. By the summer of 2011 the band attempted to write new material only to feel it was being forced and not natural. Caputo stated that the band in an attempt not to become a novelty act was to go back in to hiatus or permanently disband. Sal created A Pale Horse Named Death, Joey is still running his New York based Method of Groove Studio, Alan is working on his second comic for IDW and a film of his first comic Wire hangers, and Mina will release three to four projects in the next year.

Second split (2012–2013)

In a February 2012 interview, Sal Abruscato confirmed that Life of Agony was no more. He explains, "We're not gonna play [anymore]. We moved out of our studio. We all kind of feel like we're at the end. We're never gonna make another record, because of those kinds of problems I was talking about [earlier in the interview] – we can't agree on writing a song. And Keith [Caputo, vocals] wants to pursue his life and his lifestyle [sic]. And that's pretty much the reason why also I've moved on and I'm doing my own thing... to just keep going; I didn't want my career to stop with Life of Agony. Life of Agony doesn't tour, Life of Agony doesn't do much. And so we were at a point where it was like... We did the last three shows in July [2011] and then we moved out of our studio, and that's it. I don't foresee anything in the future; I highly doubt it. I don't know how that would happen."[3] In a July 2012 interview with Revolver Magazine, Alan Robert described his attitude towards the state of the band. "I actually don’t think Mina’s transition is the ultimate reason the band isn’t active right now. We’d been doing a lot less touring over the last bunch of years, way before she announced her personal news. I can only speak for myself, but I can say that starting a family has definitely made me want to tour and travel a lot less in general. For that reason in particular, I’m much happier being home working on my comics and film projects. It fulfills my creative needs and allows me to live the life I want to at this stage."[4]

Second reunion (2014–present)

On March 22, 2014, Life of Agony confirmed on their official website that they were active again, and performed their first show since Caputo's gender reassignment at the Alcatraz Hard Rock & Metal Festival in Kortrijk, Belgium on August 8.[5][6][7][8] They played Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey on September 13, 2014. On January 12, 2016, Life of Agony announced that they were signed to Napalm Records, and will release A Place Where There's No More Pain, their first studio album in 11 years, later in the year.[9]


According to the group members themselves, they were influenced by bands as diverse as Radiohead, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Social Distortion. Caputo and Robert write all of the songs, but they had never written songs together before Soul Searching Sun. Up until then, Robert wrote the majority of the music and lyrics and Caputo wrote select ballads, mostly about her parents and homelife, particularly her mother.

Mina Caputo at the PictureOn Festival 2014

Perhaps the most striking difference between the River Runs Red and Ugly albums of the mid-90s and 2005's Broken Valley is the change in Caputo's vocal style, which gradually changed from a Danzig-esque baritone to a lighter, more conventional rock style later in the band's career.

The band continues to perform and make music together as well as pursuing individual projects. Caputo recorded several solo records with European musicians and has toured overseas to support those albums. The band is currently putting the finishing touches on a new DVD from their 2007 European tour.

"Justified" (2005)
30 second sample of "Justified" from Broken Valley.

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Robert, Life of Agony's primary songwriter, started Spoiler NYC in 2006. The group recorded an album called Grease Fire in Hell's Kitchen and filmed videos for singles "Suicide Hotel" and "Ruined." Many reviewers praised the old-school approach to their street punk sound. He later established himself as a prolific horror comics author and illustrator, releasing several critically acclaimed series for award-winning publisher IDW Publishing. His creator-owned titles include, Wire Hangers, Crawl to Me (now in development to become a feature film), and Killogy (starring Frank Vincent of Goodfellas and The Sopranos, Marky Ramone of The Ramones, and Brea Grant of Heroes and Dexter).

Member Joey Z. had performed in Peter Steele's reunited New York group Carnivore, until Steele's untimely death on April 14, 2010. He created his own recording studio, Method of Groove, in Brooklyn, NY.

"River Runs Red" was used in "Initiation", a 2006 episode of The Office.


While touring in 1995 in support of their album, Ugly, a fan died after falling from the stage while apparently trying to stage-dive. A security guard and, to a lesser extent, the band were implicated in a lawsuit which was eventually dropped with no charges filed. At subsequent concerts the band were mindful of the potential for fans to injure themselves, often trying to cool down the mosh pit between songs if things were rough. An example of this can be seen on the River Runs Again DVD, in which, Caputo is heard saying "Everybody watch over each other out in the pit, we already lost a life." and "No lives lost, right?"



Studio albums

Year Title Label Chart peaks
US Heat.
1993 River Runs Red Roadrunner
1995 Ugly 153
1997 Soul Searching Sun 157
2005 Broken Valley Epic 147 4
2016 A Place Where There's No More Pain Napalm

Compilation albums

Year Album Label
1999 1989–1999 Roadrunner

Live albums

Year Album Label
2000 Unplugged at the Lowlands Festival '97 Roadrunner
2003 River Runs Again: Live 2003 Steamhammer
2010 20 Years Strong–River Runs Red: Live in Brussels I Scream


Year Song Album Chart peaks
US Main. Rock
1994 "Through and Through"[13] River Runs Red
"This Time"[14]
1995 "Lost at 22"[15] Ugly
1997 "Desire"[16] Soul Searching Sun
"Weeds" 27
1998 "Tangerine" 37
2005 "Love to Let You Down" Broken Valley 25


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