24 hour revenge therapy
33 1/3 Series / Bloomsbury Press
Who knew Jawbreaker formed from a poster stating influences as Minor Threat, government issue, Scratch Acid and Sonic Youth? Who knew they took their first rehearsal in New York where the band members were based at the time?
I didn’t or if I did my brain has suppressed that trivia for years. They did however play their first gig in Gilman Street, the venue synonymous with the Bay Area hardcore scene. The venue that acted out the ethos of diy.
This isn’t a story of punk rock venues though but so much of the tale of jawbreaker revolves around a diy ethos. They booked their first tour with a phone card and a copy of “book your own fucking life” which listed venues throughout the states and beyond. They came to Ireland with the help of their friend living in the uk. We put them on in Dublin. When the book mentions Blake being sick I reminisce of the gig. I have no memory of the singer struggling, about to go into hospital; No realization that after the tour ended the band went home, home being their van as they couldn’t afford rent.
These 33 1/3 books are great. Short and snappy they tell stories of albums. The range of stories vary, depending on the author. Givony gives some depth to events around the record, giving more of a full band feel than just the songs in this record. He manages to squeeze many references to literary giants like Bakunin, Milton, Yeats and even Aristotle which leaves me screaming at times. “Concentrate on the punk rock” I may think but words are a huge part of Jawbreaker. Not sentiment in trying to change the world but the use of language and it’s meaning when you scratch the surface. Givony concentrates on this aspect throughout the book.
Because it is Jawbreaker this book stretches from the one record. The band were very much part of that punk scene and grew up in it, they had many offers of major record deals and eventually took one on. Ironically that was their downfall. That risk didn’t work as the independent scene that nurtured them felt betrayed. 20 years on and things have changed. Who knows if this happened in the 21st Century would people be so precious? They also wouldn’t have been in a position to assist Jawbreaker with their popularity. Givony asks “is there anyone who seriously thinks the words punk or independent still mean something more than a marketing hook today” and I the reader answer “YES”. As in reading this at rebellion punk festival I think there’s a handful that still care but the vast majority have other things on their mind.