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Complete Jawbreaker Page: Interviews

March 1994: Rubberband #4

This interview was conducted sometime in 1994, before a Jawbreaker show in Chapel Hill,NC. It ran in issue #4 of Rubberband, where it was appropriately titled "A Conversation With Jawbreaker". It was my first and last band interview, luckily they are a swell bunch of guys who endured the "interview" with lots of humor and understanding. It's a long read, but worth the effort. Cast: ME- little Miss Sarah, THEM- Blake (vocals), Chris (bass), Adam (drums) and John the Roadie. Enjoy!

A Conversation With Jawbreaker

Sarah- So, what about the pot conspiracy?

Blake- It was just another incident of the man trying to bring us down, trying to stop the Jawbreaker narcotics machine.

Chris- The rumor from yesterday?

Sarah- Of course.

Blake- The rumor wasn't nearly as bad as the reality, which was that we had our van searched by narcotics officers in southern Georgia. They did a coke test in the front seat. They found the deodorant soap, it was crystalline.

Sarah- So how has the tour been so far?

Blake- It's been really good.

Chris- Aside from getting searched by the cops in Georgia.

Blake- Things took an ugly turn yesterday in Gainesville, we missed our shirts and then had a run in with the fuzz. Up till then though we were batting six grand.

Chris- Yep.

-----silence------

Blake- Did you prepare questions for this?

Sarah- No, I have no questions at all.

Chris- No, she had no questions prepared, that's why I am trying to fill the silence. She told me this. I'm sitting here trying to think of something to say.

Sarah- He's being nice.

Chris- I'm trying to feed her a line, why don't you ask us about.....

Sarah- Well, I heard some of the new stuff last night. How has it been going over? Have they just been doing that "we're going to stand here and not move, cause it's new stuff and we don't know it" thing?

Blake- Well, last night was pretty rough, that was definitely the worst show of the tour. No, people have been really responsive. I mean, some of it is slow and dark, it's kind of a mixed bag, some of it is really harsh.

Chris- But, they haven't hesitated from jumping around and killing each other to slow, dark, harsh songs they know already, you know? Watching them beat each other's face to a pulp as you enunciate your crushedness over a forlorn love, I mean, it's like "Gee Billy Bob, I wanna kill someone. This love song makes me feel angry".

Sarah-So, I guess it wasn't just like that in Atlanta?

Chris- It's a consistent reaction sometimes, they love punching each other.

-----silence again-----

Sarah- So, is this the worst interview you've ever done? Since I am completely unprepared.

Blake- You're probably about four times as prepared as another one we did.

Chris- Oh god!, was that the one where we started talking about having come down through Nova Scotia?

Blake- It doesn't matter. There's been this whole series where people are just like....

Chris- You at least have a tape recorder, there was this one person...

Blake- There have been interviews where people go, "Hey, hey wait. Hey, hey Jawbreaker, can we do an interview?" and we're like, alright. And you sit down and they go..... (----extended silence-----)

---laughter---

Chris- They don't have anything to write on.

Blake- And that's it, there you go, that's the interview.

Chris- How about that guy in Houston who, like, sat there and played with a pencil and pretended to have a piece of paper with information? He didn't write anything down, he didn't even say " I'll just remember it".

Blake- So that's how the rumor got circulated.

Chris- That kind of shit.

Adam- If you would have had like 30 questions and they sucked, that would have been just as bad.

Blake- This is pretty post-mod, huh? An interview about the interview.

Chris- Yeah, it's kinda deep, kind of...

Blake- Self-reflexive.

Adam- Band interviews are fucking lame anyway.

Blake- They are. We hate band interviews.

Adam- What do people want to know about us as people?

Blake- They just want stories, they want, like, gnarly anecdotes. So then they can say, �Did you hear what happened to Jawbreaker?"

Adam- Let's just give you a bunch of bullshit then.

Sarah- Go for it.

Chris- Then you end up with people, you have as much problem with serious political questions, or whatever. It's like, yeah right, I have a degree in statesmanship. I'm actually the undersecretary of foreign affairs. What the fuck do I know about anything? I fucking play bass. We're a band. What do you think of the situation in Nicaragua? I don't know, it sucks. That's about as eloquent as we're going to get. That's another thing that has always disturbed me about band interviews.

Adam- Why don't we interview you? How long have you been doing band interviews?

Sarah- This is my first one.

Adam- It is?

Blake- Really? You know, you wouldn't know that.

Adam- Did you have any questions that you knew you didn't want to ask? Like, did you come into this going, "I'm not going to ask them about their influences, the history of the band", stuff like that?

Sarah- Yes.

Adam- That's good. You're already off to a good start.

Sarah- You know, there is one question that has probably been asked a thousand times. People have been going crazy since you did those shows with Nirvana, they're yelling sellout, don't you hate that?

Adam- We got a little of that.

Chris- That's our free press, cause then everyone is talking about you.

Blake- It's also kind of tapered off.

Chris- Especially cause we're doing our own tour, at five bucks a head, and we're not playing arenas.

Blake- Yeah, I think when people realized that we hadn't signed... The assumption was that was the stepping stone, that it was the precursor to signing. That's why we were doing that, cause we had just signed or something, I don't know. But then there were a lot of people who just flat out hated that we played those shows anyway, so they'll probably still hate us for it.

Adam- There was a surprising amount of people who were really into it.

Blake- There were some surprisingly hardcore people who were into it. I'm not gonna name names, but the people who liked it surprised me more than the people who didn't like it. There were people who were like, that's the punkest thing I've ever heard.

Chris- Who liked it? I don't know who liked it, no one told me who liked it. I don't know anything.

Blake- A couple of people told me they liked it and I was really expecting them to nail us.

Chris- I got a couple of letters like, Hi, my name is Jim. I live in Davenport, Iowa. I saw you with Nirvana, I really hope you sign to a major label soon so everyone can hear you. You know, it's like they'd never heard you before and are like, okay.

Adam- Our detractors are the most vocal people, they don't give a shit about us anyway. They hope we, You know, fizzle and burn. The people who were waiting on us to do something like that were the most vocal about it. And I think it was a minority, but they happen to be louder than most. Like, God damn it I told you so. Everything is so reactionary. In terms of like, genres of music, I think that the hardcore people are often the most intolerant, you know?

Chris- So far we've totally been signed to Sony...

Adam- Polygram.

Chris- Matador, Warner Bros., Geffen...

Adam- We were getting $500 a day for food on the Nirvana tour.

Chris- Supposedly, yeah.

Adam- I think it's hilarious though. I think it's funny, hearing things. It makes me laugh because I can't believe that people are actually spending time, their own time, worrying about us. Not that we're going to, but even if we were complete sellouts, whatever, that doesn't justify someone in Albuquerque spitting on Blake while we play. Spitting in his mouth because we allegedly signed to a major label.

Sarah- Well, they shouldn't have been at the show anyway if they...

Adam- Why did they pay six dollars to spit in Blake's mouth and possibly give him Hepatitis or something, you know?

Sarah- Exactly.

Adam- It's interesting though, it's bizarre, it's totally bizarre.

Sarah- They are usually pretty quick to yell sellout when anyone does something that they don't like.

Adam- We know bands who've done it and we hope they do good, you know?

Sarah- It's some people's only chance at doing anything besides...

Chris- Shitty day jobs the rest of their lives.

Adam- So a lot of people have been talking about it, it's on everyone's mind and on their tongues, because of all the bands that recently did it. It's actually pretty boring to talk about it. It's like, either you 're gonna buy the album or you're not gonna buy the album. You're gonna go to the show or you're not.

Sarah- Yep.

Adam- I just don't understand this sort of emotional investment, because, well actually I kinda do, cause I know there were bands I was really into. I was into them enough that if they ever did anything that wasn't kosher with me politically, that I could overlook it because, to me music is whatever.

Sarah- It's still the same music.

Adam- I play and I like what I hear.

Chris- There are always disadvantages. I mean, there's a band you could see a year ago in comfort, and now you end up with someone�s elbow in your eye on a three second interval.

Adam- That's lousy.

Chris- It happens, what the hell.

Blake- I, on the other hand, got into a band to establish a political platform. The music means nothing to me.

Sarah- Of course.

Blake- I've had a political agenda all along. I'm slowly eeking it out through this band.

Sarah- And what is that?

Blake- It's so veiled and buried that people don't realize it yet, but they've absorbed it, they're working for me right now, subconsciously. I have an army out there. 10,000 records sales, 10,000 faithful obeyers of chaos for my order.

Chris- And lines like, "I just wrote the dumbest song", are...

Blake- If you heard that backwards, you wouldn't believe. It's just so stupid that people think something backwards is like...mmmawwphibarrr (approximate spelling), but it doesn't.

Adam- You know, it's been a long time since I climbed a tree. I was just looking at that tree over there.

Blake- You could get cut on those trees.

Adam- How good would it be to climb that tree all the way up high? Would you look at that.

Blake- Whoa! Is that lightning? It might be good if there's an electrical storm.

Chris- That's okay, live on the edge Blake, c'mon.

Blake- It has to be lightning free. Yeah, you know me. I just stay at home and don't do anything, Mr. Safety.

Adam- I don't think I'm gonna get to the first branch.

Chris- No, like that second crook there, I don't think you'll make it past that. It's gonna be hard enough getting to the first branch. You see, like, the first major split off? There's a huge gap there, no handles.

Blake- You know what happens when you don't have any questions? People babble about trees.

Adam- We had a shamrock shake yesterday, for St. Patrick's day.

Sarah- What did it taste like?

Adam- Shit, green shit.

Chris- Mint flavored green shit.

Adam- It was pretty good though, because we've sorta gone on this quest the last few days... here's a good anecdote. The primary objective of the tour is to see the movie Leprechaun on cable TV.

Chris- ( singing in a high pitched voice ) Leprechaun.

Adam- And we haven't found it yet.

John- It would be against the rules to actually check and see when it's gonna be on. We just have to chance upon it.

Blake- And you have to assume that actually the Leprechaun is happening upon you. You're not finding the Leprechaun, because he's a wicked little man who's finding you.

Adam- But when we find that motherfucker we're gonna get that pot of gold, which was actually the shamrock shake.

Blake- No, actually it was the pot people were referring to yesterday. They didn't hear the whole thing, they just heard pot, it was a pot of gold.

Chris- Exactly, that's what we were waiting for.

Adam- That's been the primary objective.

John- The primary objective is actually to try to formulate a primary objective.

Chris- We're gonna see the Leprechaun and eat shamrock shakes.

John- Once we see the Leprechaun I'm sure it will devolve.

Chris- Into something else.

John- Even more pathetic.

Adam- We were also thinking about getting a little TV that comes out of the cigarette lighter in the van and then hooking up Sega to it, and a VCR, the whole nine.

Chris- Then it turned out we couldn't hook it up to the lighter, so we went bowling.

Adam- We have plenty of bowling anecdotes. We've bowled three times on this tour so far. Blake's high score is 168.

Blake- Yeah, but it plummeted afterwards.

Chris- I think I maintained the lowest average, although I did pretty well in that first game.

John- Chris is known as Kingpin.

Adam- John bowls in his socks because he doesn't wear leather and they won't let him wear his sneakers. So he was bowling in socks which was pretty funny to look at.

Sarah- Did you fall down often?

John- One time.

Adam- He broke 100 twice, in his socks.

Sarah- Not bad.

Adam- Not bad at all.

Sarah- My highest score was like 150, that was it.

Chris- I bowled a 117 the other day, I think that's the best I've ever done, period.

Sarah- I was on a league though.

Adam- Really? Were you pretty obsessed with bowling?

Sarah- For a while.

Adam- Like did you have bowling dreams and stuff.

Sarah- Um, back when I was in high school I lettered in it.

Chris- That's fascinating.

Blake- Do you have your own ball?

Sarah- Yeah. It's red, white and blue, it's all swirly. It's really funny.

John- They definitely have the best ball collection, assortment. We don't pick our balls by weight, but by color.

Blake- It's true.

Adam- I'll have safety orange and you take lime green.

Blake- Take mylanta blue.

Adam- If you went in the van right now and looked through Chris's bag , you would find the hairiest shit.

John- It's the only reason we were released from custody. We were in such sorry condition, there's no way we could be searched.

Sarah- We could make this an investigative interview, let's go check out this bag.

John- You'd need video.

Chris- Yeah, I did a video of my bag on the Nirvana tour. I went through it like, this is my inhaler, sudafed, comtrex,...

Adam- Mylanta, pepto bismol, ajax,..

Chris- Foot powder.

Adam- Draino, it's fucking amazing.

---Chris starts rummaging through his pockets---

Blake- What's it gonna be?

Chris- Inhaler.

John- He has one of those little disc indicators, like you get the spinners in games, so it's like he has to spin to figure out what he'll take.

Sarah- Do you have one of those days of the week boxes?

Chris- Yeah, like for old people. Arghhhh, what day is it? Arghhh, okay.

Adam- In fact, Chris is on the pill.

Chris- For the hell of it.

John- Tell the tale of the bar room brawl.

Chris- Bar room brawl, god that's scary. I lost all my copies of the Allied comp at that show. I lost a bag full of mail, three videos, because I lost all track of what was going on after chaos erupted. We did this benefit for the Shoshone Indians in San Francisco, shortly after coming back from our last American tour. And at the time, I had returned to be promptly dumped, and who should show up at the show but my dumpee, or dumper. No, I was the dumpee, they were the dumper. I had had too much to drink.

Blake- Like 36 beers.

Chris- Yeah, way too much to drink. And we went on stage and they decided to stand right in front stage center, which was really dumb. They had a lot to drink too. So I started freaking out and hid behind my amp bawling, and I couldn't remember any of the songs and this led to a certain degree of consternation among the other members of the band. And my inability to start songs on time led some goon from New York, who had been causing various other discrepancies, to start yelling something about in New York we would've finished by now, or something.

Blake- We wouldn't tolerate this shit in New York, referring to our dallying between songs trying to get Chris back on track.

Chris- To which Blake responded very hostily and said goon proceeded to move toward the stage. Didn't you challenge him to a fight? Didn't you say something like, c'mon, I'll take you?

--laughter--

Adam- I would say, "I lived in New York for six years and I'll beat the shit out of you", that's a challenge. So the goon starts toward the stage and is calling us out and before we know it, Bill, our friend and roadie, is punched in the face by the guy.

Chris- Then a friend, who shall remain nameless, breaks a bottle over this guys head.

Adam- And then everyone jumped on the stage and there was this huge fight.

Chris- I had my back to the audience at this time.

Adam- It was a three song set and probably the best show...

Blake- It was the best show we ever played, we were so emo. Chris was hysterically crying. Adam and I were both ready to fight and there was so much shit talking. I would have loved to have seen that show. That was the only show, except for one with good sound at a good club, that I would have liked to have been at. That would have been fun to watch. It should be on video.

Adam- Cops and an ambulance.

Blake- Firetrucks.

Adam- Everything.

Chris- So, in the midst of this I forgot that I even owned a paper bag full of videos, mail and stuff like that.

Adam- Where do you live?

Sarah- Columbia, SC

Adam- You were there last night.

Sarah- Yeah.

Adam- We sucked last night, what did you think?

Chris- How bad were we?

Sarah- Well, when I wasn't being pushed... it sounded fine.

Adam- I'd like to say that we could play anywhere and no matter what the people are doing we could have fun, but that's bullshit. Because if people are just kinda standing there beating the shit out of each other, it's a drag, for me anyway.

Chris- For me too. I get really upset, it can ruin a show for me. For some reason stagedivers always seem to choose the section of stage in front of me as their launching pad. They run at me and I'm like, ahhh!, what are you doing??

-- another person walks up to ask about doing an interview and asks how this one is going---

Sarah- A lot of talk, very little questions.

Blake- A lot of talk and very little information.

Adam- It's gonna be very good, a good read.

Chris- Yeah, a conversation with Jawbreaker. Not an interview, just a conversation.


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