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Latest News:

March 31, 2010

Cool interview with Adam about the remastering of Unfun.

March 8, 2010

Jawbreaker shirts back in print! Here's the announcement from Adam:

"Stoked to announce the return of the most popular Jawbreaker shirt -- let's call it When It Pains It Roars. Order now before the cease and desist! Also. a Letraset tee I just designed -- literally have to read between the lines to get that it's a Jawbreaker shirt. There's a Lost Weekend shirt and Whack & Blite coming, so check it out: http://www.jawbreakermerch.com."

January 23, 2010

News from Adam:

"This is the basic copy for the "one sheet" about the Unfun Remester/Reissue:

We're not really calling it this, but the twentieth anniversary edition of Jawbreaker's 1990 debut album Unfun will be released on Blackball Records on March 30, 2010.

Unfun has been remastered by John Golden from the original analog tapes. The increased sampling rate boosts some of the bottom end and midrange. It sounds fucking awesome.

The CD and download versions of the record include the three song Whack & Blite E.P., as well as the 7" mix of "Busy" as an unlisted bonus track. The vinyl version is available for the first time since 1992 and has the same 12 song track list.

The original artwork has been restored and all formats include additional band photos from the time of recording. The CD comes with a 24 page booklet with the Whack & Blite E.P. insert reproduced in its entirety.

Thanks, Blackboarders!"

January 2, 2010

Streaming audio from Chris's new band, Mutoid Men

November 10, 2009

DEAR YOU LINER NOTES - PART II: ADAM PFAHLER:

We recorded Dear You at Fantasy Studios in Berekeley. We had the Creedence Clearwater Revival room. Rancid was next door mixing "Out Come The Wolves" and Booker T was milling and chilling around the compound in a track suit (or so Blake remembers). Neill King engineered. One of my only recollections was hanging out with Blake during a break and figuring out the theme song to Entertainment Tonight on guitar. I was done with my parts in two days, and half of one of those days was just loading in, setting up and micing the drums. Chris was quick, too. He was done in a day. Blake worked on guitar and vocals the rest of the time with Rob and Neill and I'd go visit every once in awhile.

Save Your Generation: The first song we recorded. We did it in one take. When we sequenced the album later, Rob liked it in pole position because his theory was that every great record has a first song with a weird or pronounced drum break. I thought it was cool because of how it builds, kind of introducing the instruments one by one. And it's a call to arms.

I Love You So Much It's Killing Us Both: The chorus used to go, "Hold me, just hold me." To hear a 16-track demo of that version: http://www.catlickrecords.com/shop For Callum "Benefit For Callum Robbins." J once told me this was his favorite song on the record.

Fireman: A hard song to play live for some reason. We rarely did it. Probably not such a good idea considering it's the first single.....

Accident Prone: I think this is our best song. It's my favorite. And a good example of how you can have a click track at the front of a song, then turn it off later to let the band breathe.

Oyster: A last minute addition that Mark Kates called "little chestnut." The bell that starts the song is an "icebell" that I used to keep around the practice space to use as an ashtray.

Million: Miles' drumming in the fluf song "Peanut Butter" was my inspiration. I fought against the "It'll cost one million kisses" line at the end -- thought it was too precious. Alas, I was outvoted.

Chemistry: The roll into the chorus was originally twice as long, maybe longer. But Rob's input was, "You don't want to give it away." Note to self: Don't tip off the chorus. Don't be too obvious.

Jet Black: The bridge of this song breaks my heart. It was Blake's idea to alternate the snare between the three and four. I lifted a kick drum part (0:29) from Killing Joke's "Requiem" (2:46).

Lurker II: Chris and I played through the end of this, but I liked the idea of pulling us out of the mix to make the last verse more dramatic. Blake's all alone here for over 30 seconds.

Bad Scene: It was Rob's idea to lift a Bonham kick pattern when Blake says, "I knew every drum fill." Blake's guitar should be louder here - he plays the riff from "Rock and Roll" but you can barely hear it.

Sluttering: I think the relentlessness of this song is it's greatest achievement. Jerry Finn solo'd my kick drum through the backbeat at the end and made fun of my clams. But I was like, "What!? I'm right in the pocket!"

Bacilica: The "Bivouac" of Dear You. We ended all of our records like this. Rob dug up a massive piece of sheet metal for the instrumental part at the end, waving it around like some crazy stagehand conjuring thunderclaps.

Unlisted: I used to call this Blake's Walk the Plank song. I love this one because I can listen without the distraction of hearing myself. Lydia said this one reminded her of a Mo song at the end of a Velvet Underground record. Live, I was just grateful for the two minute break.

DIDN'T MAKE THE CUT:

Sister: I came up with the break in the studio and am still pleased at how it stops and hops back in.

Friendly Fire: I love that it takes a full two minutes to get to the chorus, which then lasts like nearly a minute. Why rush? Where's the fire?

Into You Like A Train: Intended as a B-side, we knocked it right out.

Boxcar: I think the label wanted a sure thing with this one. But we never intened to put it on Dear You. Anyway, Jerry and Rob didn't think this beat the original.

We mixed Dear You at Conway Studios in LA with the great Jerry Finn. Rob was there, too. We took our time mixing -- maybe a song or two a day. which was obviously new to us. We played a lot of video golf in the dining room. I shot hoops with Randy Newman in the parking lot. Mixing took a couple weeks. The real test of each mix was listening to it in Rob's car. We would A/B it with Van Halen's "Drop Dead Legs" from 1984 -- that tells you how massive we wanted it to sound. Later, we played the Roxy in Hollywood and Rob came up on stage before we started and asked, "How are you living with it?' I told him I really liked it, what about him? He said, "I'm over the moon," an expression I'd somehow never heard until that point. Now I use it all the time.

September 21, 2009

Here's a new interview with Blake.

September 10, 2009

Check forgetters.blogspot.com for updates straight from the band.

August 23, 2009

Thorns of Life officially broken up, Blake Schwarzenbach unveils new band: forgetters

Here's what Blake has posted in his latest Facebook update:

"- the name of this band is forgetters. (no "the," no capital "f.") we played our first show on August 22nd in Crown Heights. members are: blake (guitar/vocal); caroline (bass/seaweed); kevin (drums).
- there is no thorns album. i promise. it never got recorded.
- no product. there's a Gilman tape, some phone footage, that's about it. it's a new day.
- [asked if any Thorns of Life songs will be carried over into the new band] some songs, yes. and we've written a lot of new songs, so there's that too.
- I need my people! It seems like a critical time for bands as opposed to solo projects. So, while I have a number of acoustic-type songs, I'm more interested in the courage that comes from a loud trio right now. Hard to get feedback or amp-high off nylon strings. All praise to Leonard Cohen."

February 7, 2009

Here's Jimmy Hathaway's review of the Gilman St. show.

1-29-09 San Francisco, CA (1 song)

February 5, 2009

Here's Larry Livermore's interesting take on the Thorns of Life show at Gilman St.

Another interview with Blake, this one conducted on 1-30-09 after the band played a mostly unannounced house show in Adam's basement in Santa Rosa, CA.

More Youtube videos of recent shows:
1-31-09 Berkeley, CA (1 song), 1-30-09 Santa Rosa, CA (3 songs), 1-29-09 San Francisco, CA (1 song)
1-31-09 Berkeley, CA (4 songs - filmed by Dan from killthatcat.com, who uses a multi-cam setup - definitely the best footage from this show so far)
1-26-09 San Francisco, CA (3 songs)

February 2, 2009

Some really nice photos of the band here.

Some Youtube videos of the Gilman St. show:
1-31-09 Berkeley, CA (8 short clips)
1-31-09 Berkeley, CA (3 full songs)
1-31-09 Berkeley, CA (2 full songs)
1-31-09 Berkeley, CA (last song of the set; Blake solo with guitar & harmonica)
1-31-09 Berkeley, CA (1.5 songs)
1-31-09 Berkeley, CA (first 10 minutes of the set)

January 30, 2009

Thorns of Life might be playing the Caravan Lounge in San Jose, CA tonight (update: they didn't, and played a basement show in Santa Rosa instead).

There was a show at Thrillhouse Records in San Francisco last night (1-29-09). Here's a new interview with Blake that was conducted after the show. And here's a review of the show.

Bob Nanna (Braid, Hey Mercedes) says that he heard from someone that Thorns of Life will be recording a record with J. Robbins in March.

January 29, 2009

There was a "secret" house show in Oakland last night (1-28-09).

A few reviews of the recent Thorns of Life show at the Hemlock in San Francisco:
SF Weekly
Bohemian

SF Weekly Interview with Blake

More Thorns of Life Youtube videos:
1-26-09 San Francisco (short clips)
1-22-09 San Diego

January 26, 2009

There's a Thorns of Life show at the Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco, CA tonight.

January 25, 2009

Lots of footage from the recent Thorns of Life shows popping up on Youtube. I'm too lazy to link them all individually, but all of these Youtube accounts have posted multiple videos:

1-24-09 Long Beach
1-23-09 LA
1-23-09 LA
1-23-09 LA
1-22-09 San Diego (best sound so far!)

January 21, 2009

Thorns of Life live dates:
Jan. 22, 2009: Bar Pink, San Diego, CA
Jan. 23, 2009: Center for Arts, Eagle Rock, Los Angeles, CA 8PM (online tickets already sold out)
Jan. 24, 2009: Babe's Warehouse, Long Beach, CA
Jan. 31, 2009: 924 Gilman St., Berkeley, CA 8PM
Feb. 1, 2009: Crepe Place, Santa Cruz, CA 9PM

New Youtube video: Blake goes solo.

November 17, 2008

Another Thorns of Life video here.

November 14, 2008

For more on Blake's new band, see here and here. A few Youtube videos are also up.

November 11, 2008

Blake's new band played a show on Saturday night, November 8. Aaron Cometbus (Crimpshrine, Sweet Baby, Pinhead Gunpowder) is the drummer. Some are saying that the band is called Thorns of Life, but others are saying that the band doesn't have a name yet. For more, see here and here.

October 23, 2008

Update from Adam regarding yesterday's bulletin:

Correction: I said in the previous post that Unfun would first be available at Hot Topic before going out to the mom and pop stores. This is not the case. Unfun will be released to ALL retail stores at the same time, fair and square. Hot Topic will carry it - they have our other stuff, which is great if you don't have a mom and pop around and still like to have something in your hand to peruse. Or you can order it through midheaven.com...

October 22, 2008

A Myspace bulletin from Adam and Blake, sent to friends of Jawbreaker earlier today:

"Hey, just a quick update on what's going on in the Jawbreaker world...

The last bulletin I posted mentioned the Unfun remaster. I am going back down to LA this weekend to do it again. There were "flutters" in that first pass, which is a techie way of saying that gummy leader tape splices between the songs made the beginnings and endings sound like they had been drinking, which is a longwinded way of saying that it was fucked up, though no fault of the Man Himself John Golden. Unfun will be available online through the usual providers and in stores in early 2009 on Blackball Records. Extras will include the 7" mix of Busy and alternate mixes of Want and Fine Day. The CD and LP will be available exclusively at Hot Topic for the first few months of release, and then will go out to the mom and pops. Hot Topic, you ask? I said it. They have been incredibly supportive these past few years, stocking our records and shirts in all of their stores. Jawbreaker swag doesn't make it into a lot of national chains, so I'm happy that it's out there where kids can get to it. They recently added Etc. (the b-sides, singles and out-takes compilation with Kiss the Bottle). So if you happen to live out in the boonies, or your indie store just bit the dust of the download revolution, and you still like having something in your hands to peruse-- they carry our stuff. And while you're at the mall, why not visit Starbucks for a refreshing caffeinated beverage, and perhaps pick up a pair of pleated khaki slacks at the Gap? Ah, that's better...

A lot of the myspace people are asking me about the status of the documentary that Tim Irwin and Keith Schieron (We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen) are making. I'd say they are halfway there. Like I said before, these guys have real jobs (and a new kid-- congrats, Keith!) and are making this movie catch-as-catch-can on their own dime, to mix idioms. We just got copies of the Dear You masters and they are going to interview Rob Cavallo next and have him go through a couple of songs.

Which brings me to sad news. Jerry Finn, our friend who mixed Dear You, passed away last month. I do not feel qualified to eulogize Jerry-- we worked with him all too briefly back in 1995. But our time was intimate, and we kept in touch via email over the years. I considered him a friend and ally. The last time we were in contact I begged him to be in our movie. But Jerry wasn't comfortable patting himself on the back in an on camera interview. I think he was content to let the music do the talking, as it were. That's a smooth character right there. Or maybe he just didn't want to give up any of his studio secrets (I'll divulge one here: to keep morale up, when greeting the still reeling from signing to a major label band, say, "Hey, Little Fighters!" That'll do the trick.) So the next time you hear a song made in the last fifteen years that punches you in the stomach while kissing you on the lips, you have Jerry Finn to thank.

I don't like to speak for my fellow Jbs. I'll hand it over to Blake and send a Chris update when I hear from him...

A Note/Update from Blake Schwarzenbach:

Because I am bad at speaking about myself but excel at projecting my identity onto others and then destroying them I will be brief. I am currently defending my master's thesis at Hunter College in Manhattan, making music in an as yet unnamed group, and fighting with words on Facebook (it's an all ages page, meaning you don't have to be a 'friend' to read it; although I think you do need an account, which is free and relatively non-invasive. Come on by!)

My thesis is on Percy Bysshe Shelley, who appears to have gotten almost everything right and paid dearly for it. The paper focuses on Shelley's technique of pushing metaphor until all connection between sign and signified is shattered and either some new truth declares itself or a sublime vacuum opens up and we are confronted with the void. Exciting stuff, I assure you, especially when one considers that he was a fiercely principled Republican (in the 18th century meaning of the term: friend of suffrage and the French Revolution, foe of monarchy and moneyed interests), an atheist, a vegetarian, and a wild-eyed beauty in verse. What's not to celebrate? Well, as it happens, he was universally ignored, reviled, humiliated or suppressed and died in exile. So, this is what I devote my academic energies to, which brings into even starker relief the historically blind trammeling and dismemberment of the U.S. constitution that has gone on these past eight years.

Musically, and I think maybe I can speak more clearly about this, I feel as though I am emerging from a kind of muted, reflective nuclear winter. It's awkward to talk about one's own music since that is what we ask the music to do; so I'll say only that it meets my own inner-standard of truth. I believe in it enough to overcome my own fear of making it. Hopefully we'll find a bassist (a woman, over 30, who rides a bike and can resolve any dictionary disputes that might arise between the drummer and myself) and come to a town near you.

Finally, thank you friends and enthusiasts of Jawbreaker. We did this thing for a long time in the dark - as all bands must - and it is gratifying to hear of younger people finding the band and getting it. The goal was always to connect with others and that seems to have happened so I think we can all claim success in that project.

Kind regards,

Blake"

January 6, 2008

Here's the text of a Myspace bulletin from Mr. Adam Pfahler, sent to friends of Jawbreaker on January 3, 2008:

Dear You,
I've been pretty slack keeping you posted on the goings on in the world of Jawbreaker, so here's a few answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the old group:
1. Yes, the documentary is still on, still being made. The hold up is that Keith and Tim have yet to find a distributor who is willing to pony up the closing costs to finish this thing (flights, editing time, blowing it up to 35mm. etc.). So they are doing this as a labor of love in between their regular gigs and family time. I trust this love bodes well for the finished product. A few months back they came to SF and we got some really great footage with all three of us and Billy Anderson (who worked on Bivouac, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy and a couple one-offs as a producer/engineer). We even played together, but didn't roll footage out of both respect for the sanctity of the moment and fear that we'd suck. Anyway, I have audio of it. Maybe I'll post that some day.
2. A lot of you ask about where you can get the records. Well, if your local mom and pop don't carry them, you can always order them through midheaven.com. They should have vinyl even. If the digital domain is your thing, I'll paste the links to iTunes and Cinderclock (for swag) below and you'll be a click away to keeping food on my table.
Thanks, and happy winter.
Adam

[Jawbreaker, 2007]

[Chris, Shawn Biggs, Blake, Billy Anderson, Adam]

November 1, 2007

Lance Hahn of J Church passed away on October 21, 2007. Please see lancehahn.org and lancehahn.blogspot.com for further information.

March 31, 2007

Whysall Lane doesn't exist anymore; according to Adam, Mikel quit last year, and Richard is moving back to New York soon.

March 26, 2007

J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines) and Janet Morgan's son Callum was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy almost a year ago. Please visit the DeSoto Records: For the Benefit of Cal Robbins page and J. Robbins's blog for more information on Callum's plight. You can find information about making donations at the Desoto Records page.

A great way to support Callum is to purchase the new For Callum double CD compilation. Check out Catlick Records for more information. 100% of the proceeds are going to Callum's care fund. Jawbreaker contributed a song to the For Callum compilation: the July 1994 mono, 16-track demo version of "I Love You So Much It's Killing Us Both."

Keith and Tim have been making good progress on the Jawbreaker documentary. They've already collected a ton of archival footage, and they've been conducting interviews with various personalities across the country for the past six months. Adam says that they hope to finish by the end of the year.

June 29, 2006

Blackball Records has been active in the past year. The Whysall Lane album (featuring Adam on drums) finally came out in February of 2006; you can order it from Midheaven, among other places. In October of 2005, Blackball released an album by Duchess, a Los Angeles band whose members include lifelong friends of Adam. Check the Blackball front page for more info straight from the man's mouth.

Adam Metz has put together a three part audio documentary on Jawbreaker. Dailysonic.com is hosting it.
Part 1: The Early Years; Part 2; The Middle Years; Part 3: The End & After.

Keith Schieron (of We Jam Econo - The Story of the Minutemen) has been putting together a documentary on Jawbreaker. More info as it becomes available.


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