DRIVE LIKE JEHU – Lives
September 26, 2008
There’s not really a whole lot that can be said about this band that hasn’t been said already. Put simply DRIVE LIKE JEHU created two of the most creative & progressive albums of the 90’s, in doing so their unique style soon became something of a blueprint for alot of what we hear today. Often compared to Fugazi or Sonic Youth this band quickly transcended these reference points blending the D.C. trademarks of a tight, driving rhythm section with innovative guitar experiments in texture & interplay. Rick Froberg’s vocals were another unique element to the band’s mix, sounding like a really agitated kid ready to explode into screaming fury at any moment. No band has better blended a skewed brand of ‘art rock’ with hardcore’s ferocity and nihilism. Some may say these guys spearheaded genre’s like ‘mathcore’ or ‘screamo’ but in my opinion that trivialises their impact. This band reached far beyond anything or anywhere that anyone had previously decided to go. Below is a radio session that I believe to be recorded in late 1993, the bulk of which being made up of songs that would appear on ‘Yank Crime’. This shit is so coarse & scathing it’s like having battery acid thrown in your face! The photo is a scan of the band’s only? promotional shot circa 1994. I’ve seen this photo before on the internet but this was a scan from Melody Maker.
DRIVE LIKE JEHU – Live on KXLU, LA. 25th October 1993
It’s safe to say DLJ was another band who were under appreciated at the time. The fact ‘Yank Crime’ saw release under the Interscope label may have thrown people (especially RFTC fans) in that it was a very inaccessible album for a major even at that point in time. In fact I can only think SEASON TO RISK’s ‘In a Perfect World’ would’ve been as difficult to market to a mainstream audience. Anyhow, it was only due to my interest in the mid 90’s Southern California hardcore scene (Gravity records in particular) that I checked out DLJ. I remember clearly the first time I heard their self titled record (midway through 1997) and was instantly of the opinion: ‘fuck the godamn Swing Kids, this shit is the real deal!’. If you really need more evidence of DLJ’s exceptional greatness I refer you to this live footage of the band playing ‘Do You Compute’:
I’m not sure as to why there is no question mark after Do You Compute… maybe it’s a statement of somekind, who knows? A lot of JEHU’s lyrics are fairly oblique. Like a lot of band’s playing more complicated, instrumentally heavy music the vocals appear as a textural layer to the overall ‘sound’. Moving on, below are two near identical sets (bar the addition of ‘Human Interest’ in SF) from the second half of 1994. The set from Cat’s Cradle is of better quality, I imagine we have the fine Mr. Henry Owings to thank for this piece of history. The bottom b&w picture is another cutting from Melody Maker taken at one of their handful of UK dates. Just remembered I have some live footage of them on an old VHS tape, somewhere in Germany. If I ever get the facility to convert it I will.
DRIVE LIKE JEHU – Carrboro, NC. Cat´s crandle 5th June 94
DRIVE LIKE JEHU – live San Francisco, CA.
Great American Music Hall, 16th September 94: