Welcome to Tattoodo's Punk Rock Week! We're celebrating everything punk this week — from some scary dudes in New Jersey to heartbroken nerds from SoCal, and everything in between. We bitched about how being a NOFX fan used to be fun and weird, but now it's just problematic. And what would Punk Rock Week be without a little something about The Ramones.
We live in a world where the things we love go away and leave gaping holes in our hearts. And then sometimes they come back 20 years later to cash in on nostalgia and leave us feeling confused. It’s a story we’ve seen played out across countless bands, tv shows, and Crystal Pepsis. And now we can add one of the most revered punk bands of the ‘90s to that list – Jawbreaker. The bay area trio played their first show in over two decades this past weekend in preparation for their hotly anticipated reunion at this year’s Riot Fest. And you’d have to be a fucking moron if you think we’re not taking this as a sign that we should check out some Jawbreaker tattoos.
Jawbreaker formed in 1986 in New York City while its members were students at NYU. The three young men (Blake Schwarzenbach, Adam Pfahler, and Chris Bauermeister) soon relocated to Los Angeles and dropped their debut lp “Unfun”. The record showcased a gruff emotional sound that the band would come to be known for.
The band then moved up to San Francisco and followed up “Unfun” with two more now-classic lps, “Bivouac” and the Steve Albini-produced “24 Hour Revenge Therapy,” the latter of which landed them a spot opening for Nirvana on tour. This attracted a slew of major label attention, and Jawbreaker signed to Geffen Records. This move saw their punk fan base turn their backs on the band, as they had committed the ultimate sin – selling out.
Their major label debut is one of the most divisive records in the history of punk rock. Lead singer Blake underwent surgery on his vocal chords before the recording, resulting in smoother and noticeably less gruff vocals. The album also featured incredibly slick production from Rob Cavallo. When it dropped, “Dear You” made no splash, and many of the band’s remaining fans were put off by the new sound.
But punks are generally stupid. “Dear You” is one of the best fucking records of the ‘90s and blows away the band’s earlier catalog. The album is nothing short of an alternative rock masterpiece. Fuck the haters.
Anywho, the band called it quits shortly after the lukewarm reception “Dear You” garnered and that was that. Members went on to other projects and Jawbreaker became a legendary band to all who discovered them after their breakup. And many emotional punks took the plunge and got a Jawbreaker tattoo. Let us now look at some of the more shining examples.
So, there you have the story of Jawbreaker – and some sick Jawbreaker tattoos. And that would have been the end of it, but then Riot Fest offered them a gazillion dollars and now they’re a band again. And that’s fine. Let Jawbreaker get paid. The YouTube videos of their surprise sets sound good enough for us. Not good enough to go to Riot Fest though. Because we’re true punks.