While working at Drome Records (a store that was the local hub for punk music activity), Laughner then formed Friction, a group that included drummer Anton Fier and former Cinderella Backstreet members Sue Schmidt (later Horning) and Debbie Smith. (Smith and Schmidt would later form Chi Pig.) Though the band found itself playing Thursday gigs with Pere Ubu at Pirate's Cove (later Peabody's), Laughner's diet of drink and drugs was taking him down.
"He just kept on drinking shots and would go onstage and then change the songs around and expect us to follow him," says Schmidt. "He was so off, it was just too hard to work with him." After Friction fell apart, Laughner started up another short-lived group, Peter and the Wolves, in which he shared lead duties with vocalist Adele Bertei, who would eventually go on to sing with Sophie Hawkins.
In June '77, Laughner died from acute pancreatitis, at the age of 24. Though he was often in the center of Cleveland's mid-'70's scene, Laughner's only recordings were posthumously released: a self-titled EP in '82 and Take the Guitar Player for a Ride, a compilation of songs released in '94.