Jawbreaker"Live 4/30/96" LP Allied Recordings (US)
Brand New and Still Sealed!
Friends and Family Version, no number
Out of Print!
206 copies of the LP were pressed. 100 copies were sold to fans through a lottery. The rest were given to band members and associates. Some copies of the LP were defective. A note included with the LP reads, "Warning: Potential defect in Jawbreaker pressing. Wouldn't you know it, the label's final release; big finale, ultra limited edition vinyl pressing. And what happens? The plant, after 9 years of successful, service, decides this is the release they are going to mess with. This is just a warning that a potential glitch may exist in your copy of the live Jawbreaker LP. The problem lies in track 4 on side A. There may be some surface noise caused by a poor pressing. Anyone experiencing such problems should return it to the address below and I will replace any and all defective copies. Please accept my humble apologies in advance should you be one of the unfortunate ones. This is pretty embarrassing. I wanted it to be special, but not this way. Thanks for your understanding."
A1Jinx Removing A2Save Your Generation A3Ashtray Monument A4Accident Prone B1Boxcar B2Gemini B3Parabola B4For EsmeJawbreaker was an American punk rock
band active from 1986 to 1996 and considered one of the most influential acts of the early-1990s emo
movement. Lead vocalist and guitarist Blake Schwarzenbach
, bassist Chris Bauermeister, and drummer Adam Pfahler formed the band while students at New York University
, later relocating to Los Angeles
where they released their debut album Unfun
(1990) through independent record label
Shredder Records. Relocating again to San Francisco
the following year, they released 1992's Bivouac
through the Tupelo Recording Company and The Communion Label. Schwarzenbach's charisma and personal, frustrated lyrics helped to establish him as a cult idol
, even as he underwent surgery to remove painful and voice-threatening polyps
from his throat. Jawbreaker toured with Nirvana
in 1993 and released 24 Hour Revenge Therapy
in 1994, attracting the attention of major labels. They signed a $
1 million contract with DGC Records
and released 1995's Dear You
, but the album's polished production and smooth vocals resulted in a significant backlash from the band's core audience. Internal tensions led to Jawbreaker's dissolution in 1996.
Following the breakup, the members of Jawbreaker were active in other projects including Jets to Brazil
and Whysall Lane
. Pfahler continued to issue previously-recorded Jawbreaker material through his Blackball Records
label, and public interest in the band continued due in part to nationally-charting pop punk
and emo acts openly indebted to Jawbreaker's sound. In 2004 Pfahler licensed the out-of-print Dear You from DGC's parent company Geffen Records
and re-released it to positive response. He has since issued a remastered
version of Unfun, and plans to remaster the rest of the band's catalog. In 2007 Jawbreaker briefly reunited in the studio during the recording of a documentary film
about the band, but rumors of a full reunion have repeatedly been dispelled by the members and the film has no projected release date.
1986–90: Formation and Unfun
Prior to forming Jawbreaker, Blake Schwarzenbach
and Adam Pfahler were childhood friends in Santa Monica, California
and classmates at Crossroads High School. In 1986 they moved to New York City
to attend New York University
and decided to start a band. Seeking a bassist
, they responded to a flyer
posted on campus by Chris Bauermeister. "It wasn't just this Xeroxed thing", Pfahler later recalled, "It was something he had drawn, like a poster. It was all colored and it named all the right bands." The trio began practicing together at Giant Studios on Sixth Avenue
, with Schwarzenbach on guitar
and Pfahler on drums
. "It was just us, trying to figure each other out in that hourly room for a while", recalls Schwarzenbach, "We went through a lot of incarnations before we sounded anything like the band we became. I am glad we didn't play live [very much then], because I had to go through my hardcore
phase." They practiced with several singers and went through several names during this time, eventually settling on the name Rise.
In the fall of 1987 Schwarzenbach, Pfahler, and Bauermeister took time off from college and moved to Los Angeles
to pursue Rise, adding Bauermeister's childhood friend Jon Liu on lead vocals. This changed, however, when Schwarzenbach wrote and sang "Shield Your Eyes" for the band's demo
. It was the first recording on which he sang, and he later noted that it "kind of defined where we would go as a band". According to Liu, "That was the song where everything worked. The vocal arrangements. The lyrics. It was a perfect piece. But to my detriment, I kind of bristled against it. I was like, 'This is amazing, and I dont' think I can do anything like this.'" The band soon changed their name to Jawbreaker and Schwarzenbach, Pfahler, and Bauermeister decided to continue as a trio with Schwarzenbach on vocals. Bauermeister was given the task of informing Liu that he was no longer in the band, which proved awkward since the two were roommates. "I am cool with it now," reflected Liu in 2010, "It was to everybody's benefit. But at the time, there was some bitterness.
"Shield Your Eyes" was the first Jawbreaker song to be released, on the 7" vinyl compilation album
The World's in Shreds Volume Two on independent record label
Shredder Records. This was followed by a single
for "Busy" and the Whack & Blite E.P. in 1989. In total Jawbreaker wrote almost 20 songs in 1988 and 1989, many of which appeared on compilations and split singles
over the next two years. The band played their first show March 16, 1989 at Club 88 in Los Angeles and recorded their debut album, Unfun
, in two days in Venice
in January 1990. Released through Shredder, its pop punk
sound was distinguished by Schwarzenbach's lyrical and vocal intensity.
We were beat to shit. We broke up at the end of the tour because, well, why wouldn't we? We were driving around in Chris' van, with a pleather
couch sliding around in the back, with no air conditioner in the summer. By the end, we were pretty much at each other's throats. So it was like, "Fuck this, let's call it quits. This is insane."
–Pfahler on the band's breakup following the "Fuck 90" tour
In the summer of 1990 Jawbreaker embarked on the "Fuck 90" tour with Econochrist
, which proved to be a grueling experience that briefly broke up the band. "It was roughly two months, in the summer, for a totally unknown band", according to Schwarzenbach. "Of that tour, we probably had six rad shows. Then there were maybe 25 utterly forgettable metal-club-in-Florida-type shows." Bauermeister stopped speaking to Pfahler and Schwarzenbach when the tour reached Canada, with several weeks still to go. By the conclusion of the tour, tensions between the members had risen to the point where they announced the band's breakup. Schwarzenbach and Bauermeister returned to New York University to finish their degrees, and rarely spoke to each other.
1995–96: Dear You and breakup
Jawbreaker began recording their major-label debut, Dear You
, in February 1995 at Fantasy Studios
in Berkeley, California
with Rob Cavallo
, who had produced
Green Day's breakthrough album Dookie
the previous year. Recording sessions lasted two months and resulted in disenchantment and tension within the band, particularly between Bauermeister and Schwarzenbach. After a week of recording drums and bass guitar, Bauermeister and Pfahler were largely absent from the rest of the sessions while Schwarzenbach continued to work on the album with Cavallo. "I didn't even go", recalled Bauermeister in 2010, "I just hung out at home with my wife. I was already trying to separate myself from the band, while Blake became more of the major force." With a large recording budget at their disposal, Schwarzenbach and Cavallo spent much of their time polishing the record's production value, making the vocals and guitar clear and bringing them to the forefront of the mix
. According to Cavallo, "Blake really wanted to be heard. I think he wanted his voice to be heard for the first time. He also decided to sing differently. Then, to me, I thought those songs could benefit from some precision."
Producer Rob Cavallo
gave Dear You very polished production value in comparison to Jawbreaker's previous albums.
In the months leading up to the album's release, a number of music publications positioned Jawbreaker as the next stars of the Bay Area
punk scene, sometimes referring to them as "the thinking man's Green Day". When Dear You was released in September 1995, however, its polished production and clear vocals strongly divided the band's fanbase. "[Dear You]'s production glistened and gleamed," says Greenwald, "Schwarzenbach's voice was sanded and smoothed, and the songs were mellow, introspective affairs. The reaction was harsh—those who had entrusted their emotional lives to Schwarzenbach, had viewed him as a tattered, secular priest to lay their burdens on, felt betrayed." Ben Weasel was so displeased with the album, particularly the sound of Schwarzenbach's singing, that he wrote Pfahler a letter detailing his complaints with it. Despite a music video
in rotation to support the single
"Fireman", sales of Dear You were poor.
As the band toured in support of the album, audience reaction toward the new material was either lukewarm or outright negative. "I have never seen anything like that—before or since", said Kates, "There was a point where they were headlining the Roxy
and there were kids sitting on the floor, with their backs to the stage, when they were playing songs from Dear You. I'm not making that up. If you were to try to explain that to somebody now, it would make no sense." Jawbreaker continued touring in 1996, opening for the Foo Fighters
that spring, but audience reception did not improve. Samiam's Sergie Loobkoff cites a show at The Warfield
in San Francisco as a turning point: "That is when I knew they were definitely going to break up. It was their hometown; they had put out the big major-label record. But then you're looking around and it was like no one cared."
Attitudes between the band members continued to sour, particularly between Bauermeister and Schwarzenbach, who took to traveling in separate vans. Tensions came to a head in Salem, Oregon
, culminating in a fistfight between the two which spilled out of the van and onto the sidewalk. "I remember just calling Blake a 'fucking prima donna
' and a 'stupid son of a bitch who thinks it's all about him.' Just letting it all out", says Bauermeister, "It definitely put a wedge between us." On returning to San Francisco, the band called a meeting and decided to break up, though Pfahler was resistant to the idea.
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