Newly unearthed super-8 film footage by legendary SF band Jawbreaker shows us around the Mission in 1992, makes me emotional

Just got back from a fight with one of my best friends. We went to dinner at Chino and then had a drink at ABV and got into a long thing about political participation and net neutrality and revolution and convictions. He told me I don’t give enough of a shit, I made fun of his corporate job and BMW.

Then I got home and opened an email from Adam, of Jawbreaker (the most legendary Mission-based band of all time):

I just uploaded this to the Jawbreaker youtube page. It’s from a roll of super 8 film that i found over 20 years after I shot it — shots of Valencia and Mission between 16th and 24th. I set it to our song “Boxcar.” Check it and feel free to post if the spirit moves you

Man, it moves me like crazy. I love the Mission. I love how it changes. I love remembering how it was one decade ago, and I love watching videos about how it was two decades ago. I love reading articles about how it was in the ’80s, and I love my parents’ foggy remembrances about how it was in the ’70s. I love Burrito Justice’s futurist visions of how it will be in the ’20s and in the ’30s and ’40s and beyond. (I even love when I almost get run over by a Ferrari while it’s looking for parking outside Trick Dog.)

I love Obama and I love net neutrality and I love the Mission and I love my friends.

And I love a girl I know, a Mission girl, and how I got to see her sing “Boxcar” at karaoke in another state once upon a time, and how that was basically the best night of my life, so far away from home but feeling super-connected via this girl and this song… and thus feeling connected to everything and everyone, ever, and just loving life.

The thing is that I basically missed out on Jawbreaker, like most of us did probably, because we’re just a little too young or a just a little too from-somewhere-else or whatever. But Jawbreaker persisted, thanks to older pals talkin’ shit and making mixtapes and blog posts and playlists, and thanks to Thorns of Life shows at Thrillhouse Records and thanks to Forgetters shows at similar spots in Brooklyn or wherever — and thanks to lovable midwestern girls who dug Jawbreaker early and did whatever it took to make their way to California and San Francisco and into our hearts.

Why can’t we all just get along and save the world and abolish government and be in love forever?

Ugh. Let’s rock:

Thanks, Adam!

Thrillhouse Records, an accurate approximation of SF in the early ’90s

The fine folks at Bernalwood today shine a spotlight on a local business which has managed to cultivate a vibe that is not ’10s SF or ’00s SF or even late- or mid-’90s SF — but early-’90s SF:

Want to know what counterculture looked like in the analog days before Tim Berners-Lee unleashed his Prometheus on our unsuspecting planet? What were the sensibilities of a young and alienated generation in an age of ascendant Reaganism, cassette tapes, and desktop publishing euphoria? What were the totems and signifiers of this edgy, halcyon time?

What did it look like?  What did it smell like??

Wonder no more: It looked and smelled exactly like Thrillhouse Records.

Read on for more info and photos.

(For me it’s also a time capsule of mid-to-late ’00s nostalgia.)

Thrillhouse Records, that record store way out Mission Street you barely knew existed

The Bold Italic takes a look inside:

The vinyl carried in the shop varies wildly in genre and you can generally count on leaving with some unexpected finds. On one particular visit, I scored a long lost Black Sabbath album I’d been looking for, a collection of classic country LPs, and a couple 45s by local bands that have since broken up. The house stereo is just as eclectic. I’ve heard “God Save the Queen” followed by a Billy Idol hit and a Billy Childish ballad. This wide cultural smattering extends to the name of the shop itself – which was taken from a segment of a Simpsons Christmas episode in which Bart is caught shoplifting. Sounds pretty punk to me.

Read on for more pics and storytelling by our pal Joshua Cobos.

Let's All Go See Airfix Kits Tonight at the Knockout!

I’ve been raving about these guys for years, and yet they’re not on top of the pop charts. Inexplicable.

In any case, Airfix Kits are still pumped to play the Knockout, which is exactly what they’re doing tonight. Let’s go!! In the meantime, let’s listen to “Flex Time” and rock out:

Bands Shredding Licks and Screaming Through Choruses at Thrillhouse Records

San Francisco State University’s Golden Gate [X]press (wow, that rolls off the tongue almost as good as “Mission Loc@l”) this week published a nice little love letter to Thrillhouse Records, one of our favorite Southern Mission stalwarts:

The economy may be in the toilet, but that isn’t slowing some young concert goers from seeing their favorite bands shred licks and scream through choruses. Au contraire: Bay Area music fans are continuing to be a part of what the underground punk scene has always been about: all-ages, do-it-yourself shows.

Link. It’s not quite as awesome as their Fat Mike profile from a couple months back, but it’s a good read.


Thorns of Life Rock Thrillhouse

Thrillhouse Toilet Graffiti: Little Bo Peep

Warthog-Faced Little Bo Peep Returns!


She’s back! In the bathroom at Argus Lounge!


Warthog-Faced Little Bo Peep in the Bathroom at Thrillhouse Records

Thorns of Life Rock Thrillhouse


By James Stevens / Photos by Matt Rubin

Thorns of Life loaded in their own equipment as about a hundred kids looked on in a scene that must have been reminiscent of Blake Schwarzenbach’s humble beginnings playing houses and small clubs in San Francisco, L.A and the East Bay. Schwarzenbach, considered one of the biggest influences on punk and emo music, is back playing and writing music with his new band Thorns of Life after nearly a six-year hiatus.  Last night they played Thrillhouse Records.

Thrillhouse, next to the 76 on the corner of 30th and Mission is the prototypical punk rock record store.  The store is a non-profit collective and part of a house where six of the members live.  It houses a DIY record label and is also a show space (although the Fire Marshall shut down the basement last summer). The venue embodies the ethos of Schwarzenbach as an artist- entirely focused on the music and having a good time with no attention paid to making money or drawing huge crowds.  If Jawbreaker is the sound of the Mission, then this is how the Mission parties.


The atmosphere was distinctly different from the show Thorns of Life played at the Hemlock on Monday.  The only famous musician I saw at Thrillhouse was the Mission’s own Adam Pfahler who was the drummer in Jawbreaker and now owns Lost Weekend Video (as opposed to Fat Mike from NOFX and Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day at the Hemlock).  There was no guest list, no line to get in and no obnoxious bar owner telling people to leave or that there wasn’t any room.

At Thrillhouse there wasn’t any room, either, but everyone who made it was invited in with open arms.  At the Hemlock, crowd members rudely shouted out names of Jawbreaker songs and at Thrillhouse the crowd bantered with members of the band and songs were dedicated to Harvey Milk and Mayor Moscone, “Don’t forget about Moscone, he got blasted too.  Every time you go to the Moscone Center think about that,” Schwarzenbach quipped.

The show itself was great.  If a comparison has to be made to Schwarzenbach’s other bands (and plenty are being made already), the music was the same combination of literature as lyrics and three chord punk that Jawbreaker fans love, with certain songs dropping the tempo and building in complexity in ways that are similar to Schwarzenbach’s second band Jets to Brazil.   However, because of the three person guitar-bass-drums set up of Thorns, the sound is decidedly more punk and upbeat than Jets to Brazil.  Blake’s telltale growl shines through it all, a familiar voice we never thought we’d hear live again.  Thorns of Life play 924 Gilman Street in Berkeley on Saturday.


Thorns of Life house show in Brooklyn (Video) at (Thanks, Thaddius!).

The Sound of the Mission on Mission Mission.

Thrillhouse Toilet Graffiti on Mission Mission.

Warthog-Faced Little Bo Peep Graffiti

She’s popping right out of the toilet bowl at Thrillhouse Records. Adorable, right?

Tonight: Airfix Kits at Thrillhouse Records

Show starts at 7pm sharp. From the official press release:

@ Thrillhouse Records, 3422 Mission St near Cortland, SF 7pm, all ages, donation$ for the touring band please

Shows are usually over by 10pm at Thrillhouse, and we are playing first. Our set is only about 16 minutes long. Fashionably late? too bad for you.

Link to Airfix Kits on MySpace. Previous gushing about the band here.

Who Ganked Thrillhouse Records' Fire-Breathing T-Rex Signage?

thrillhouse-records-t-recs.gifIf the sitch is not rectified, all that will remain of this great signage is this Google Maps Street View imageUpdate: I guess it’s just being painted or something, should be back soon (see comments).