J. Robbins Discusses Jawbox's Jimmy Fallon Reunion
Alt-rock icon readies for anniversary performance, tells MSN about "unlikely opportunity"
By Kenny Herzog Oct 9, 2009 2:03PM
On November 24th, Washington, D.C. post-punk-cum-alt-rock pioneers Jawbox will be reissuing their landmark—and often overlooked—1994 LP, "For Your Own Special Sweetheart." And while the record has been somewhat historically obscured amidst the bigger "alternative" frenzy that earmarked the early to '90s, its biggest single, "Savory," remains a testament to the foursome's significant merging of hardcore grit with sophisticated songwriting polish.
And apparently, Jimmy Fallon (or at least his music supervisors) was a fan, because the group is coming together for their first live performance in over a decade on the Dec. 8 edition of "Late Night," and will indeed be running through a no-doubt rousing rendition of "Savory."
Guitarist/vocalist J. Robbins (who may also be recognizable to younger music lovers as a producer for the likes of Against Me! and Murder By Death), reflected on the occasion for TV Buzz, in addition to providing his air-conditioned recollections of Jawbox's last time performing their touchstone song for a televised network audience.
TV Buzz: How do you think the culture of how music is curated on late-night shows is different now than during your active period as a band?
J. Robbins: I don't watch much TV, and hardly any music on TV, and that probably has a lot to do with my expectation that everything that comes down that pipeline is a sales pitch. There's so little chance of getting anything genuinely strange, or strangely genuine, out of it. The fact that the "Late Night" people want to have our long-defunct band on to play a 15-year-old song and only nominally "promote" a re-release that has no connection to corporate culture in 2009 makes me smile very broadly. It gives me a little hope that the structure isn't impermeable, there are still individuals at work within it.
TV Buzz: What's your most vivid memory from when you made the late-night rounds with the song back in '94?
J. Robbins: The thing I remember most was the air conditioning. The atmosphere couldn't have been more opposite to what we were used to as a band: chilly, overlit, acoustically perfect to a fault. It was scary as hell, but it also seemed wonderfully absurd, the thought that in a flash we were being heard by so many people at once—our song. I know where that song comes from, I trust its authenticity. It is definitely NOT a sales pitch. Why not take the unlikely opportunity to play it for more people in one shot than I can even conceive of? And given the absurd unlikeliness of getting to do it again after all this time, the only thing to do is do it.