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Complete Jawbreaker Page: Interviews

Summer 1994; Slanted #4
By Bobby

Jawbreaker is a great three-piece poppy punk band from the Bay area in San Francisco. Along with bands like Green Day and J-Church, they helped make the Bay scene into what it is today. This interview was conducted by Bobby (he runs Humble records and he does bobby is fred fanzine). I'd like to thank Bobbay for letting me print this up. It's conducted in three parts. One with guitarist/singer Blake Schwarzenbach, one with drummer Adam Pfahler, and one with bassist Chris Bauermeister. Enjoy!

Blake Schwarzenbach

Bobby- Have you ever set yourself on fire?
Blake- Yes...I have.
Bobby- You have?!
Blake- Yeah, actually, I do it once a week. I have this Zippo that I can't quite figure out how to gas up. So in the process of fueling the Zippo, I always tend to over fuel my hands. I spark it up and it's like, you know, a mano-roast.
Bobby- A mano what?
Blake- A mano-roast. That's Spanish for hand of course.
Bobby- Outstanding.
Blake- But more importantly, I set a dorm on fire once.
Bobby- Really?
Blake- Yeah, I have a secret history of arson.
Bobby- Under what conditions would you consider setting yourself on fire on purpose?
Blake- A hipster bar might do it.
Bobby- Have you ever been sprayed down with a firehose?
Blake- No.
Bobby- Have you ever been fired from a job?
Blake- Hmmm...no.
Bobby- Hey, that's pretty good.
Blake- That is pretty good.
Bobby- What's your favorite conspiracy theory?
Blake- Let's see, I have one somewhere. I'm at a total loss. I have a conspiracy theory somewhere. I just went to see a Golden State Warriors game, so they're kind of present in my mind.
Bobby- You're thinking slam dunks right now.
Blake- I'm thinking free pizza! Yeah, they scored 120, so you get a free personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut.
Bobby- Are you serious?
Blake- Yeah. How awesome is that? They bought the whole stadium a pizza. Deal with that. And there was a Floyd concert going on next door. Outdoors.
Bobby- So you could stroll outside and hear it?
Blake- Totally. Sick fans.
Bobby- Like what? Middle aged fans?
Blake- All ages and just ripped. Loaded to the gills.
Bobby- What's the loneliest stretch of highway in North America?
Blake- Hmmm. That's a tough one. I'd have to say my street. 43rd Street in Oakland.
Bobby- Are you now or were you ever a cross-dresser?
Blake- I own a dress.
Bobby- You do?!
Blake- Yes, I do. I bought it in Lincoln, Nebraska. It's a brown and white checker. It goes down to my kneecaps. I went as a wrecked starlet for Halloween last year, and I wept in a bar. So, I'd have to answer yes.
Bobby- Were you ever attracted to the stars in The Wizard of Oz?
blake- I thought the good witch was pretty hot.
Bobby- Did you have nightmares about the tornado in that movie?
Blake- Yes.
Bobby- If you could drop anything you wanted from the top of the Empire State Building and watch it explode on the street about a hundred stories below, what would it be?
Blake- Wow. So many possibilities.
Bobby- Wouldn't that be great?
Blake- Oh man, that would be so good. A lot of people come to mind.
Bobby- Have you ever tried doing a cannonball off of the Golden Gate Bridge?
Blake- No sir! I'm not a member of the Survivor's Club. You know there is one don't you?
Bobby- No way.
Blake- There totally is. Can you imagine what a haggard group that is?
Bobby- I think I'd like to go interview those guys for bobby is fred sometime.
Blake- Oh, you should!
Bobby- If you could have one great moments in sports, what would it be?
Blake- Well, the Golden Gate cannonball is up there. The Golden Gate pike perhaps.
Bobby- Would you like the optional question?
Blake- Go for the optional!
Bobby- The optional question is: Do you love me?
Blake- Do I love you?
Bobby- Yeah.
Blake- Emphatically so.

Adam Pfahler

Bobby- Have you ever set yourself on fire?
Adam- On purpose?
Bobby- On purpose or accidentally. Or maybe accidentally on purpose.
Adam- On purpose, Jesus. I remember playing with some lighter fluid with Chris and we were sort of lighting our shoes on fire. I guess the answer would be yes.
Bobby- Under what conditions would you consider setting yourself on fire on purpose?
Adam- What the fuck?! (laughter) Actually, I set myself on fire every time I go out there and play for the kids.
Bobby- Have you ever been sprayed down with a firehose?
Adam- No, I haven't.
Bobby- Have you ever been fired from a job?
Adam- Oh, of course. But not like the "You're fired!" "Fuck you, I'm quitting" type thing. There've been jobs that I had where I just didn't go back, and that's basically like getting fired. It's like the kind of passive aggressive way qutting and an easy way for them to fire you.
Bobby- What's your favorite conspiracy theory?
Adam- That all conspiracy theories are planted by the right wing.
Bobby- What's the loneliest stretch of highway in North America?
Adam- Oh, that's a good question. There's a pretty lonely stretch of highway between Winnipeg and Calgary. There's nothing out there as far as you can see.
Bobby- Are you now or were you ever a cross-dresser?
Adam- Do I wear Lydia's clothes? Is that what you're asking?
Bobby- (laughter) Yes.
Adam- Sure. I bought her a dress on the street one day and she demanded that I put it on before she did. It was a red velvet dress and I have to say I looked pretty fucking good in it.
Bobby- Were you ever attracted to the stars in The Wizard of Oz?
Adam- I go way back with The Wizard of Oz.
Bobby- You do?
Adam- Sure. I think that was the first movie I ever saw. And on the last tour I bought the CD of the soundtrack, which is basically like the whole movie on audio so you might as well just have a video copy of it. But was I ever attracted to Dorothy or any of the other characters?
Bobby- Yeah.
Adam- Well, I was attracted to all of them, but not sexually. It was more thematically and emotionally.
Bobby- Did you have nightmares about the tornado in that movie?
Adam- You know, I can't remember if it was specifically about the tornado, but I'm sure. I mean everyone that's seen that movie must have had nightmares about the Wicked Witch of the West cruising along.
Bobby- If you could drop anything you wanted from the top of the Empire State Building and watch it explode on the street about a hundred stories below, what would it be?
Adam- Hmmm. Rush Limbaugh. No, no, that's not it. Umm, probably a television set. That'd be pretty cool.
Bobby- How long can you swim under water?
Adam- I remember when I was a kid I used to do that in the swimming pool. You know, see how many laps you could do. But that has as much to do with speed as it did with how long you can hold your breath.
Bobby- Have you ever tried doing a cannonball off of the Golden Gate Bridge?
Adam- No!
Bobby- If you could have one great moments in sports, what would it be?
Adam- Hmmm, probably just playing baseball on a major league field.
Bobby- Okay, do you want the the optional question?
Adam- Sure.
Bobby- Do you love me?
Adam- (silence) More than you will ever know.

Chris Bauermeister

Bobby- Have you ever set yourself on fire?
Chris- Inadvertently, yes. We used to have power outages in the northeast all the time when the winter storms came through. When that happened, we usually used candles and a couple of times I slipped my bangs into a candle flame and set a small section of my hair alight. Also, once when we were hanging out at Adam's house, we were playing with lighter fluid. I found out I could spray it all over my boots and light them on fire and they wouldn't burn. Then Adam sprayed it all up my leg and burned all my leg hair off!
Bobby- Under what conditions would you consider setting yourself on fire on purpose?
Chris- Good question! Hmmm, what conditions...when would I set myself on fire on purpose?
Bobby- Actually, maybe I should modify that question to be: Under what conditions would you ever consider immolating yourself on purpose?
Chris- Oh, self-immolation!
Bobby- Do you know what that is?
Chris- Oh yeah, I know exactly what that is. Actually, having burned myself accidentally enough times, if I was so...no, let me see...no, I can't think of a situation in which I would willfully immolate myself.
Bobby- Have you ever been sprayed down with a firehose?
Chris- No, I have not. But if I had immolated myself, I would hope that I would get sprayed down with a firehose before I burned too much.
Bobby- Have you ever been fired from a job?
Chris- Oh yes. I was a temp. It was after playing a bunch of shows down in Los Angeles. i called in sick on Friday. I didn't call in at all on Monday. I and showed up late on Tuesday. We arrive back in SF at some ludicrous hour after driving all night. They dropped me off at my doorstep, I got dressed and I walk down to work. I was there for five minutes when the guy from temp agency called me to tell me I was fired.
Bobby- What's your favorite conspiracy theory?
Chris- Personally, I'm thoroughly paranoid. I just don't trust television or the newspaper. My conspiracy is that we're being complete misinformed.
Bobby- What's the loneliest stretch of highway in North America?
Chris- There are some amazing stretches up in Canada where you can see for what seems like billions of miles. It's somewhere between Calgary and Winnipeg. We drove for just hours and saw nothing. That was particularly bleak.
Bobby- Are you now or were you ever a cross-dresser?
Chris- I graduated high school in a floral print dress and combat boots. Right before I went on stage I whipped it out. I sat down next to my father afterwards and he leaned over to me and said (stern voice) "Christopher, I really wish you had told me you were going to be wearing a dress." "I'm sorry Dad, it was a spur of the moment kind of thing." He turned to me, looked me straight in the eye and said, "I could have worn one too. I look great in drag." That's one of my deepest regrets in life that I didn't tell my father.
Bobby- Were you ever attracted to the stars in The Wizard of Oz?
Chris- I've had a thing for prosthetics since I was a young child. I've always wanted false limbs and so forth. The Tin Man is pretty groovy. I'm not srue if I can count that as attracted. I mean I wanted to be him. I don't think I ever wanted to do the Tin Man.
Bobby- Can you define what you mean by you never wanted "to do" the Tin Man?
Chris- (third grade laughter) I mean it would be sort of scratchy wouldn't it?
Bobby - Scratchy? How do you mean...in what sense "to do" the Tin Man?
Chris- To schtoop him for godsakes!
Bobby- To schtoop him? What does schtoop mean?
Chris- Schtoop?! (laughter) Where are you from?
Bobby- Texas. Okay, I can probably figure it out. I'll look it up in a German-English dictionary. Did you have nightmares about the tornado in that movie?
Chris- No, I didn't.
Bobby- If you could drop anything you wanted from the top of the Empire State Building and watch it explode on the street about a hundred stories below, what would it be?
Chris- Ooh! God, there are so many things. What would look really nice exploding from the top of...I'd have to say...I can't choose any one thing. There's literally billions of things I'd like to do that with.
Bobby- Have you ever tried doing a cannonball off of the Golden Gate Bridge?
Chris- You're talking to me on the telephone at this moment aren't you?
Bobby- Yeah, but you could've done one and survived.
Chris- Yeah, then I'd sort of be like a ball of putty from the neck down, wouldn't I?
Bobby- But you would've made a fucking huge splash!
Chris- Oh yeah, it would've been a big ol' splash.
Bobby- If you could have one great moments in sports, what would it be?
Chris- I'd like to win the biathlon.
Bobby- The biathlon?
Chris- Yeah, that's shooting and skiing.
Bobby- In the Olympics?
Chris- Yeah.
Bobby- Would you like the the optional question?
Chris- Sure, why not.
Bobby- Do you love me?
Chris- Sure Bobby, I love you dearly. You're the greatest. Especially when you freak the fuck out of me and show up in Ohio and like, confuse me and make me think you're someone else who I don't know at all and who I want to kill.
(ed. note - Chris is referring to the time that Bobby drove to Dayton, Ohio and surprised Jawbreaker on tour by dressing up in disguise and repeating in a nasally voice, "Oh God. Oh God. you guys are Jawbreaker, right?" The band had no clue until Bobby whipped off the thick glasses he had borrowed.)


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