Fist Jawbreaker record I ever got. I remember thinking “I’ve heard this name somewhere before, I just don’t know where”. It was in my 2nd year of college, and I fucking devoured this record. My copy was a Blackball Records re-release, put out to commemorate Blackball (run by Adam Phahler of Jawbreaker) finally getting the rights to this record after DGC Records hung onto them out of spite because it wasn’t a version of Dookie that would make a million or so. It’s sort of become this lost underrated gem of Jawbreaker, I’d probably actually rate it ahead of Bivouac, which I know is a sacrosanct thing to say in front of Jawbreaker fans but whatever.
Anyway, so I like this record. A lot. And for the longest time no one I knew listened to his band, which still boggles my mind because I love Jawbreaker. So it was just me for a long time, sitting and reading the linear notes and screaming along whenever “I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both” or “Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault” or even the rerecorded version of “Boxcar” that this deluxe edition had at the end, along with a Psychedelic Furs cover that was great. Then I started graduate school. There’s an eclectic mix of people in graduate school in the City University of New York (CUNY) system, so I met all sorts of people.
Including Blake Schwarzenbach, the singer/guitarist of Jawbreaker.
Sitting in class with me one day on the first day of a new semester, as I looked at him at one point and wondered why the hell he looked so familiar before finally fucking realizing it. I may or may not have almost pissed myself and broken out into a nervous sweat simultaneously. Holy shit, it’s him. Oh man, I really don’t want him to notice me staring every so often, I’m sure he has though, wait, what do I have in my Walkman? Is it a Jawbreaker record? Oh shit, I hope it’s not, I don’t remember, then if he asks me what I’m listening to and I say Jawbreaker or Jets To Brazil, he’s gonna think I’m a total fanboy and never talk to me oh god…
Something like that. Anyway, I went to the bathroom one day before class and passed him as he got off the elevator coming as well. “So, you like Black Flag?”
I had a Flag shirt on. “Huh? Oh, yeah.” Shit, don’t fuck it up now, son…
“I can never find my favorite design on a shirt, the cover of Damaged.”
“Yeah, I’ve never seen that one. I used to have The Process Of Weeding Out on a shirt though once, the instrumental album?”
Holy shitballs. He talked to me. He looked a little amused, but he talked to me. Now, I’m not normally so fucking starstruck, but it’s hard. Coming from a punk rock background you always think of your favorite bands as just people like you with the same passions and beliefs and attitudes like you, but Jawbreaker was a huge band. And their legacy’s even bigger. I’m one of thousands of fucking kids who’se connected to “Do You Still Hate Me?” and “Kiss The Bottle” and “Want”, how can I not look at this guy and see someone who basically managed to make everything I thought about into a fantastic song?
We had a couple of classes within the grad program together. He was amused and stoked that I interviewed his friend Chrissy Piper, and we talked about the Weakerthans and Tragedy and Foucault at a department party. He’s not in it anymore I think, but is still at my school teaching undergraduates as far as I know.