Chicago punk rock festival Riot Fest announced on Wednesday that Jawbreaker has reunited after a 21 year hiatus to headline the festival’s 13th run. According to Pitchfork, the iconic punk rock band, which broke up in 1996 after touring for the band’s 4th LP Dear You, is reuniting for “a one-off exclusive” show, and thus far has no further tour dates or appearances planned.
Formed in 1986, Jawbreaker is comprised of guitarist and singer Blake Schwarzenbach, bassist Chris Bauermeister, and drummer Adam Pfahler. While rumors of the band’s reunion have circulated over the years, Pfahler revealed Jawbreaker regrouped last year to play a few songs.
“We weren’t sure if we could still do it,” Pfahler told Pitchfork. “We could still do it.”
Jawbreaker set the standard for emo rock in the early 90’s with their albums Unfun, Bivouac, and the particularly influential 24 Hour Revenge Therapy. Songs like “Boxcar” and “Chesterfield King” truly pioneered wearing your heart on your sleeve and shouting your lungs out. When Blake Schwarzenbach fixed his throat issue and developed a cleaner singing voice on Dear You, some punk aficionados turned their heads, but like Scott Heisel of Alternative Press says, “They’re the best punk band of the ’90s, hands down. They never put out a bad record.”
The band broke up in 1996 and have stayed broken up ever since, until today. As they take on the Riot Fest stage after scene legend and Riot Fest co-founder Sean McKeough passed away in December, it seems like a perfect set for a reunion. And even as they return from a seemingly flawless legacy, there is “literally a zero percent chance of Jawbreaker’s legacy ever being tainted, because they were so fucking great.”