Rancid: Tim Armstrong, Lars Frederiksen (vocals, guitar); Matt Freeman (bass); Brett Reed (drums).
Additional personnel: Vic Ruggiero (guitar, piano, Hammond B-3 organ, percussion); Roddy Byers, Simon Coppers, Simon Chardiet (guitar); Lester Butler, Santo Fazio (harmonica); Jamil Sharif (horns, percussion); Will Wheaton (horns, background vocals); Mark Mullins, Dave Hillyard, Jamil Sharif (horns); Eric Stefani (piano); Thomas Johnson (percussion); Dr. Israel (steel drums, background vocals); Tim Shaw, Kristin Krisapline, Howie Pyro, Marky Ramone, Greg Lee, Alex Desert, Dicky Barrett, Roger Miret, Lynval Gordon, Neville Staples, Ollie Lettgenau (background vocals).
There was always something a little different about Rancid. Though they came into the public eye in the mid-'90s California semi-punk wave that included Green Day and Offspring, Tim Armstrong, Lars Frederiksen and company tackled the punk path more earnestly, with a greater sense of commitment than their peers. If they garner comparisons to the Clash, well, that's just another way of saying they have a social conscience and a sense of history.
In Clash terms, LIFE WON'T WAIT is Rancid's Sandinista. They've always included a bit of ska and reggae into their music, but this is their most stylistically diverse record to date, exploring the reggae influence much more extensively, and incorporating other instruments (harmonica, keyboards, horns, even steel drums) into their guitar-based approach. Though they're still as rough around the edges as any punk-derived band should be, the Rancid boys retain an undeniable pop sensibility that comes out in their infectious, eminently tuneful compositions. LIFE WON'T WAIT is the band's most mature, accomplished release.
Rolling Stone (7/9-23/98, p.132) - 4 Stars (out of 5) - "...More than anything else, LIFE WON'T WAIT evokes the Clash's SANDINISTA!--but for all the right reasons....an exhilirating punk-rock record, one that delves into ska, blues and reggae..."
Spin (7/98, pp.121-122) - 7 (out of 10) - "...Success seems to agree with Rancid's songwriting. Their world, like their sound, has gotten bigger....LIFE WON'T WAIT vacation into reggae textures feels well-traveled and adventurous especially when Armstrong's singing faster than a steel drum..."
Entertainment Weekly (7/10/98, p.76) - "...This California quartet may ape some of the poppier punk moves of their most obvious forebears, the Clash, but like that seminal band, Rancid know how to leaven rage with buoyant tunefulness." - Rating: A-