jawbreaker
[Photo by: Don Lewis]

When the members of emo-punks Jawbreaker finally chose to reconvene for 2017’s Riot Fest in Chicago, it seemed like several generations of indie rockers caused the planet’s global warming problem to spike several degrees. With an appearance scheduled at Riot Fest 2019, there are some other ’breaker activities coming to light.

Earlier this month, producers Dan Didier and Keith Schieron had their controversial Jawbreaker documentary Don’t Break Down out into a wider release. The film discusses the roots, rise and legend of the band formed by guitarist/frontman Blake Schwarzenbach, bassist Chris Bauermeister and drummer Adam Pfahler.  

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The second is the impending release of Jawbreaker On Cello by Gordon Withers, a cellist/studio musician known for his participation in many of the projects formed by J. Robbins. The Jawbox vocalist/guitarist has enlisted Withers to bring his string stylings on his previous band, Office Of Future Plans, as well as his new solo album, Un-Becoming.

Withers tells AP he was hired to create music for the documentary, and before he knew it, an album was born.

“Adam [Pfahler] from Jawbreaker told me he was a fan of my Jawbox cello arrangements,” Withers says. “He asked me to arrange and record a few Jawbreaker songs for the documentary Don’t Break Down. I’m so glad he did: Not only was it a huge honor to have the music featured in the film, but once I got going, I couldn’t just stop at the four songs I recorded. Finally, this past year, I finished an album’s worth of recordings and am thrilled to be working with my friends at New Granada to see it finally be released.”

Read more: Blake Schwarzenbach of Jawbreaker almost played guitar for Cap’n Jazz at Riot Fest

Prior to Jawbreaker On Cello’s  Nov. 1 release via New Granada, AP is premiering Withers’ take on “Bivouac,” the title track from the band’s second album. 

“This is such an epic song and perhaps the Jawbreaker song that most naturally translates to cello,” Withers says about his version. “The melody and voicing of the verses almost sounds like it could have been composed originally for a chamber ensemble. I took a bit longer with this one to make sure it sounded exactly right and added a few cello lines that weren’t in the original recording—normally I avoid doing this. The final jam/noise section would have sounded overly long translated as is to acoustic cellos, so I decided to include just enough of it to honor it before fading out.”

Check out Withers’ “Bivouac” reimagining below.

The members of Jawbreaker heartily endorse Withers’ reinterpretations of their work. Fans buying the vinyl album directly from New Granada have a chance to secure one of 10 copies of the record signed by all three members of Jawbreaker. Those items will be sent randomly to individuals during the preorder period. Check here for more details.

Finally, Jawbreaker will be playing various shows before and after their Riot Fest appearance Sept. 13. They will be playing the Fest 18 in Gainesville, Florida, in early November.