Jawbox: An Impartial Overview
J. Robbins: voice, guitar
Bill Barbot: guitar, voice
Kim Coletta: bass guitar
Zach Barocas: drum kit
Jawbox was formed in Washington, DC in 1989 by J. Robbins, bassist Kim Coletta, and original drummer Adam Wade. The group released their debut 7″ in 1990 on their own DeSoto label.
Grippe, released on Dischord Records in 1991, was Jawbox’s first full-length outing. That year saw second guitarist/singer Bill Barbot join the line-up in time to create a denser sound for 1992’s Novelty, also released on Dischord.
Zach Barocas assumed drumming duties in April ’92, ushering in a new era for the group with his contributions to the rhythm section and the band’s songwriting, as first exhibited on 1994’s For Your Own Special Sweetheart.
Tours of all sizes and durations throughout Europe and the U.S. were part and parcel of Jawbox’s routine back then. Equally explosive at Red Rocks or a Roman squat, they were in all cases a galvanized, well-oiled band.
They released their last album, the self-titled Jawbox LP, in 1996, and after another year of touring, broke up in 1997. Although Atlantic Records released the last two albums, Dischord has since made all of the band’s full-lengths available.
The group reunited briefly in 2009 for an appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The performance was a one-off, and there was no subsequent talk of any other shows of any kind for years.
In early 2017, however, Zach contacted his former bandmates to see what they thought about playing some shows. The resulting conversations were at first casual, but eventually moved the band to action, and by June they began rehearsing for the shows that now comprise An Impartial Overview.
It’s been an exciting time, reacquainting not only with the music but also with each other. However much the members of Jawbox have played elsewhere over the years, there is no doubt that the chemistry and energy they bring to this band remains unique for each of them.
The sets will draw from most of their discography with an emphasis on the Robbins/Coletta/Barbot/Barocas recordings, especially For Your Own Special Sweetheart and Jawbox, which albums mark the peak of their creative and performative time together. Longtime fans will be in familiar territory: Coletta’s irrepressible presence; Robbins’s heartfelt guitar and vocal harmonic roar; Barbot’s razor-sharp vocal and guitar challenge and complement; and Barocas’s exacting flail and crash continue to coalesce as they always have, as a single functioning musical unit.