Over the past few years, I’ve really gone back to the 90’s and rediscovered a ton of bands that I liked but never truly listened to. One of those bands is Jawbreaker. When I first heard them I was already sort of done with the new wave of punk that came through. Little did I know what an impact a few of them would have on me as I got older. Jawbreaker has become one of my favorite bands from that time. Their albums, especially 24 Hour Revenge Therapy and Dear You have been in constant rotation for some time now with me. If you haven’t yet had the chance to watch their documentary, Don’t Break Down, I highly recommend it. One of the coolest things the band has done since their return in 2017, after many years away, happened on January 31st, 2019, Jawbreaker returned to play 924 Gilman St for the first time in 25 years! The show was a surprise, announced just one day prior. The band has a very interesting story about the venue which, if you watch the documentary, it explains it. Anyways, here’s the show in full and it’s awesome. This is definitely a show I wish I could have been at.
There are always certain songs on albums that stand out. Obviously some more than others. When you put on an album, and it hits you, that moment of clarity just feels so warm and inviting. Every time I put on the Jawbreaker album, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, I find something else to love about it even more. Lately, the song “Ache” has really been a go to song for me when I put that album on. It’s such a great song and as a deep cut on the album, it’s truly a standout. Both musically and lyrically, it’s a great example of the dynamic depth of what Jawbreaker is so good at.
I love music documentaries. There is something truly great about getting to find out things about bands you love and band’s you haven’t heard of. The idea of breaking down the mystique at times can be a little unsettling because you don’t want to be let down but, when you get someone in the band to open up just a little, you begin to experience the band on a whole different level. The best part is after you are done watching the documentary, the appreciation that it leaves you with often tends to inspire and push you to create. Recently, I finally saw the long awaited documentary on Jawbreaker and its was pretty fantastic.
Don’t Break Down is the story of Jawbreaker’s rise and fall and rise (well more like a re-emergence) again. This doc is quite interesting as it was originally set up around the idea of the three band members (Blake Schwarzenbach, Chris Bauermeister, and Adam Pfahler) coming back together at a studio to listen back to their records and reminisce a bit. What we get though is a somewhat deep look into the tensions and talents that made Jawbreaker great, but also tore them apart.
I don’t want to give anything away because this is quite a very interesting documentary to watch. The doc shows and gets into the beginnings of the band and most of the bands history. The interviews with the members (and others including friends and industry folks) are quite fascinating, as they delve into the history of the band and start to come out of their shells a bit. Something else happens to the viewer while watching this, you start to really wonder why Jawbreaker wasn’t one of the biggest bands in scene at the time. They had (and still do) the talent, songs, show, and passion for this, it’s just a shame that it all went the way it did.
I’ve watched Don’t Break Down a few times now and have found it engaging each time. You get a bit of a peek into the songwriting and how they created their records, also you get a pretty big glimpse into the band drama and tension, and the ending, is pretty damn great. One of the biggest things about Don’t Break Down is that much of the mystery of the band remains and that curtain is never drawn back.
Jawbreaker Don’t Break Down is available to stream on Amazon Prime!!