Schwarzenbach performing with Jets to Brazil in 2001
|Birth name||Alexander Blake Schwarzenbach|
|Born||May 21, 1967|
|Origin||Berkeley, California, United States|
|Genres||Punk rock, alternative rock, indie rock, emo|
|Instruments||vocals, guitar, piano|
|Labels||Shredder, Tupelo/Communion, Geffen, Blackball Records, Jade Tree|
|Associated acts||Jawbreaker, Jets to Brazil, The Thorns of Life, Forgetters|
Alexander Blake Schwarzenbach (born May 21, 1967) is an American musician. He was the singer and guitarist of Jawbreaker (1988–1996), Jets to Brazil (1997–2003), The Thorns of Life (2008–2009), and Forgetters (2009– present). Although experiencing little mainstream success himself, Schwarzenbach and groups he has been a member of have influenced a variety of musical groups which have found success such as Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance.
Schwarzenbach spent his early childhood in Berkeley,CA and Boulder,CO. Upon moving to Venice, CA to live with his father, he attended the Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences, a private K-12 school in Santa Monica, California. He then attended New York University between 1985 and 1991, including a two-quarter stint at UC Santa Cruz in 1985. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from NYU in English literature and creative writing in 1991.
Jawbreaker formed in 1988 after Blake Schwarzenbach and drummer Adam Pfahler responded to a flyer that bassist Chris Bauermeister posted in a New York University dorm cafeteria. The band played their first show as Jawbreaker on March 16, 1989 at Club 88 in Los Angeles, CA. Jawbreaker disbanded in the summer of 1996. They had played together for eight years and released four albums. Their last show was on May 19, 1996 at the Capitol Theater in Olympia, WA.
Jets to Brazil
Schwarzenbach then formed the indie band Jets to Brazil in 1997 with Jeremy Chatelain of Handsome and Chris Daly of Texas is the Reason. Jets to Brazil released three albums before disbanding after their summer tour in 2003.
The Thorns of Life
In October 2008, Blake revealed that he recently started writing music for a then "as-yet-unnamed group" with drummer Aaron Cometbus (formerly of Crimpshrine) and bassist Daniela Sea, formerly of the Gr'ups and Cypher In The Snow, but best known for her recurring role on television's The L Word. The band has since been named The Thorns of Life. As of November 2008, the group has played a couple of shows in Brooklyn, with videos and reviews available online.
Blake informed via Facebook:
|“||I can say only that it's loud and tender and we're called the Thorns of Life. whether it's more Jetsesque or Breaker-like I honestly don't know; It sounds like a storehouse of fond hatred from the last few years and in the now.||”|
In early 2009, Cometbus left the band quietly. Although there has been no official announcement, many assume that The Thorns of Life are no more. Their break-up was announced on punknews.org as an official break-up.
On August 23, 2009, Blake announced via Facebook information on his new band, forgetters. After a European tour in spring of 2011, bass player Caroline Paquita announced her departure from the band on her blog, declining to comment further.
Schwarzenbach largely remains an influential figure in the punk/emo/indie music scene. He is known as "one of the godfathers of emo". As such, a devoted cult of musicians have much respect for his seminal efforts, particularly for his work in Jawbreaker. Empirical evidence of this includes the release of a Jawbreaker tribute album – Bad Scene, Everyone's Fault – in 2003. Further influence can be indicated from cultural references. For instance, Blake has been appropriated into a character featured in Emogame 2, an online flash game. In addition, the main character "Blake" in Nothing Nice To Say, a webcomic, is named after him and bears some resemblance. The folk punk band Defiance, Ohio's song "I'm Just Going To Leave..." also directly references listening to Jawbreaker, as does the song "I Must Be Hateful" by the band Lagwagon. The Smoking Popes song "You Spoke To Me" from their album Destination Failure is a tribute to Schwarzenbach and his impact on the life of lead singer Josh Caterer.
Video game reviews
During the summer of 1997, Schwarzenbach worked as a freelance writer and contributed several reviews of video games for GameSpot. Games reviewed included Independence Day, HeliCOPS, and Pandemonium
Blake was involved in some efforts of Punk Voter leading up to the 2004 U.S. presidential election. In October 2004, he wrote a "guest column" called "Empires" on Punk Voter's website. Additionally, Blake was peripherally involved with the New York University antiwar protests of late 2002-early 2003. On March 27, 2003, Blake gave an antiwar speech, entitled "See How We Are", to a crowd assembled in Washington Square Park following a student walkout.
Writing and art
|“||...his writing has expanded beyond lyrics and liner notes. Employing Michel Foucault's theory of spontaneous and local anarchy, his artistic self-expression now includes deeply felt political essays, children's stories, and graphic representation in the form of agitprop stickers that have wound up on New York City cop cars, subway ads, Starbucks windows, and Fox News vans. And with what he calls "deep human hunger," he has delved into the world of filmmaking, starting with a Cindy Sherman-esque short entitled "Biko/Chico" that stars his cat and muse Chico Schwarzenbach.||”|
Currently[when?], Schwarzenbach teaches undergraduates as a member of the Adjunct Faculty in the Department of English at Hunter College, which is part of the CUNY public university system in New York City.
- family member
- History of Jawbreaker from loosecharm.org
- Navel Gazing: October 26th, 2008 from punknews.org
- AP Exclusive: A Review of The Thorns of Life (Blake Schwarzenbach, Aaron Cometbus Show) from altpress.com
- More details, video from the Thorns of Life (Blake Schwarzenbach, Aaron Cometbus) from punknews.org
- Schwarzenbach, Cometbus, and the Thorns of Life from bohemian.com
- Video of Blake Schwartzenbach’s Thorns of Life in Brooklyn from blog.synthesis.net
- An interview with Blake from Mesh magazine Issue 1 (Sept 2003)
- Artists of the Year, a Dec. 29, 2004 article in City Pages
- Indepedance Day review by Blake posted April 3, 1997 on GameSpot
- HeliCOPS review by Blake posted May 2, 1997 on GameSpot
- Pandemonium review by Blake posted August 6, 1997 on GameSpot.
- Empires guest column posted October 7, 2004 on Punk Voter
- Transcript of Blake's "See How We Are" speech – retrieved from the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine as a record of Blake's original 3-31-2003 posting on the Jets to Brazil website.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Blake Schwarzenbach|
- Collection of Jawbreaker lyrics: http://www.loosecharm.org/song.html