A summer Saturday full of screaming deep into the Chicago night after nearly 100 minutes of hockey more than likely left everyone a little bit leather-lunged on this Monday morning. And in the realm of punk rock, there is may have been no one ever raspier than Blake Schwarzenbach and his occasional beard.
As the lead singer of both Jawbreaker and Jets To Brazil, Schwarzenbach’s work would come to be highly influential in later years, despite rarely being spotted in the wild while bearded. Schwarzenbach’s rasp could partially be attributed to shouting quite a bit while performing, but also to his professed love of smoking, documented in such tracks as “Chesterfield King” and “Ashtray Monument”. This led to polyps on his vocal chords needing to be removed prior to Jawbreaker’s swan song Dear You, which altered his voice and eventually led him to form Jets To Brazil, a more straightforward rock and roll act and their fantastic debut Orange Rhyming Dictionary still featuring Schwarzenbach’s now tempered gravel at the forefront.
With his musical career now for the most part behind him with no reunions for either of his two most known bands on the horizon, Schwarzenbach (and possibly his beard) now teach English at Hunter College in Manhattan. You’re not punk, and he’s still telling everyone. Save your breath, he never was one.