Zero Down was a punk rock trio formed by former Strung Out bassist Jim Cherry, former Down by Law drummer Milo Todesco and former War Called Peace guitarist John McCree. Frontman Cherry (who was also guitarist and songwriter for Epitaph Records band Pulley) enlisted the support of Fat Wreck Chords owner Fat Mike, who released the band's first (and only) album, With a Lifetime to Pay in 2001. The music was a throwback to mid-90s melodic skate punk (no surprise given the pedigree of Zero Down's members), and was well received. The band added a fourth member in August 2001, ex-Lagwagon guitarist Shawn Dewey.
Zero Down came to a premature demise on July 7, 2002, with the death of Jim Cherry from a lifelong heart condition. Early reports suggested that Cherry died from an accidental prescription drug overdose; Fat Wreck Chords released the following statement  :
However, in December 2002 the label released a further statement concerning Cherry's death :