Jawbreaker, the influential post-hardcore band who notched the Number Four album on Rolling Stone’s 40 Greatest Emo Albums of All Time with 1995’s Dear You, are now the subject of a documentary that is finally getting a wide release.
Filmmakers first teased the picture, Don’t Break Down, two years ago but it hasn’t been available. That will change on August 6th when it goes up for sale on Amazon, Google Play, and iTunes; it will also be streamable via Amazon Prime. It will also get a theatrical screening tomorrow at Louisville, Kentucky’s Copper & Kings.
The band formed in New York City in 1986, releasing their debut, Unfun, four years later. Despite reaching a larger audience by opening for groups like the Foo Fighters, inter-band tension drove the members apart after recording only four full-lengths. They reunited in 2017 — around the film’s original release — and have stuck together. In addition to the band members, the film features interviews with Billie Joe Armstrong, Steve Albini, Foo Fighters’ Chris Shifflet, chef Graham Elliott (who has a Jawbreaker tattoo), and others.
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“I thought that they were going to bridge the gap between Green Day and Nirvana,” Armstrong says in the film’s trailer.
At one point in the film, after the band swears they’ll never sign to a major (before signing to a major), drummer Adam Pfahler looks back on their story. “We know how this is going to end,” he says, “rags to riches to rags.”
The movie was produced by Dan Didier, formerly a member of Jawbreaker’s contemporaries Promise Ring, and Keith Schieron, who helped make We Jam Econo: The Story of the Minutemen. Schieron co-directed the picture with Tim Irwin, who helmed We Jam Econo.
The release comes ahead of a new album by cellist Gordon Withers (who plays with sometime Jawbox honcho J. Robbins in the J. Robbins Band), who worked on the soundtrack for Don’t Break Down. Jawbreaker on Cello will come out on November 1st.