Pop wonder kids come to town
I'm an UNABASHED Jawbreaker fan! Elements of their work TOO INTANGIBLE to describe - save for fine lyrical PROWESS and FOUR SOLID albums - come together to create a perfect late-night aimless driving soundtrack! Jawbreaker is: Blake Schwarzenbach (Guitar, Vocals), Chris Bauermeister (Bass), and Adam Pfahler (Drums)! Three smart people playing GENUINE (and vaguely punk) music - a rarity in the major label "alternative" market dominated by the saliva-and-skateboard antics of Jawbreaker's BAY AREA neighbors! I interviewed Blake via THE PHONE right before a sound check IN Florida!
Mutato: Have you guys received much backlash from fans over the major label signing?
Blake: Yeah. (Pause, interviewer has thoughts of an entire interview done in one word answers.) Sure. Nothing too aggro, but I think most of those people went off to write a diabolical essay. We had people yelling "MTV" at us in Jacksonville . that was pretty good.
M: Do you enjoy the heckling at all?
B: I kinda get off on it. Usually I hate it, but sometimes it can be a good catalyst.
M: How has the label been working out?
B: Good. They're really hands-off, they just kind of stay out of our way. I think they're a bit timid around us.
M: They do what they're told.
B: Yeah. The only weird things is meeting some of these reps . not exactly A&R; people, but they definitely would be more at home on a golf course.
M: What do you think about the state of music today?
B: I want to get away from it.
M: Stop playing music?
B: I don't know . maybe (laughs). The whole notion of it is just horrific. It's generating so much literature and culture at this point . maybe it's because I'm more involved in it now, but I can't believe how much paper and plastic and shit is wasted on "Rock." And time! How much time is wasted . I caught myself reading SPIN the other day and it really freaked me out.
M: Do you enjoy talking about JAWBREAKER on your days off from tour or before sound checks?
B: NO. You'd be astounded - well, maybe you wouldn't - but it's amazing how inane these staff writers for daily papers get.
M: Like me!
B: It's to the point where we're about to call off the interviews because it's so paint-by-numbers. You can imagine they just pull out the band form and insert "JAWBREAKER" where yesterday it was "HUM" or whoever the fledgling band was. It sucks. I don't have anything to say about us other than what's on the record. That's why we put it out, it's my address to any public that might be there.
M: Are you still writing songs while on tour?
B: There hasn't been any time, really. We're playing six nights a week pretty much . it's going by quickly. I can't wait to get home and start working on stuff because I'm plenty sick of these songs.
M: Do you do any writing other than lyrics or journal entries?
B: No, not really.
M: Is that an aspiration?
B: Yeah, definitely. If I can get away from music, I will. I just feel like I can only do one or the other right now. Anything I write at this point I pretty much give over to songs immediately.
M: The "Annie Hall" quote in "Jet Black" - was that chosen at random or for separate reasons? I don't see how it fits into the song thematically.
B: Oh, Duane [the character who is quoted] was the angst-torn WASP. Although the song is genuine, seeing it outside myself from a cynic's perspective, that song is kind of the epitome of pathological white angst. The character in "Annie Hall" also epitomizes that - he's a wanna-be tortured artist who sits in his room and fantasizes about car wrecks. Adam pointed that quote out to me and we dropped it in there. It seemed pretty appropriate. Plus, Woody Allen himself had to listen to the song because we had to get clearance.
M: Is all of Dear You in the first person or are you writing other characters into your songs?
B: There are other characters. "Lurker" is the main one that's from another voice, but I'm now writing for certain people in a way.
M: What's been your worst rabid fan encounter on this tour?
B: We got robbed in New York. The others are speculating that it was a rabid fan because only my clothes were stolen, but I think they're smoking rock. Chris and Adam had a really weird guy approach them . I wasn't there but they were really scared of him.
M: Is your video for "Fireman" a Buzz Clip yet?
B: I don't know, I've made a point of not knowing anything though. I tried to follow all that shit for a while, and it got me really freaked out, so now I don't want them to tell me anything (laughs). Unless it's really good news or absolutely imperative .
(DGC's publicist jumps into the conversation to inform us that it's absolutely imperative that we wrap up in three minutes.)
M: You know, that might be all I have to ask.
B: Just make cool stuff up.
Jawbreaker's latest album Dear You is available in stores right about now! They have three other albums on independent labels that are only SLIGHTLY less accessible! You can catch the band LIVE at the sometimes-defunct Downtown Performance Center with That Dog and Shoebomb SATURDAY NIGHT for SIX DOLLARS! You weren't going to do anything fun ANYWAY!