Drive Like Jehu was an American post-punk/post-hardcore band led by Rick Froberg and John Reis, formed in 1990 in San Diego, California and disbanded in 1995. Their music combines elements of rock and punk with complex time signature changes, interweaving guitar lines, unusual and extended song structures, and atonal, dissonant guitar riffs, sometimes described as noise rock, math rock or sludge rock. They released two full-length albums before disbanding in 1995, partly due to Reis' increased involvement with his other band, Rocket from the Crypt. The success of Rocket from the Crypt and of Reis and Froberg's later band Hot Snakes has drawn increased attention to their work in Drive Like Jehu and led to a re-release of their influential album Yank Crime.
As youths growing up in San Diego, guitarist John Reis and singer Rick Froberg had played together in the post-hardcore band Pitchfork from 1986 to 1990. After Pitchfork's demise the pair were joined by Mike Kennedy on bass and Mark Trombino on drums to form Drive Like Jehu. The band shared musical similarities with Pitchfork but also exhibited significant changes: Froberg would now play guitar as well as sing, adding a second guitar to Reis' lead. Kennedy and Trombino also brought with them a progressive rock influence from their previous band Night Soil Man. The members were also influenced by underground American rock bands such as Sonic Youth, Fugazi, Flipper, Big Black, Mission of Burma, Slint, The Wipers, Black Flag, and the Honor Role. They also cited non-American influences such as the Krautrock bands Can and Neu!, as well as the soundtracks of Ennio Morricone. Trombino developed his studio skills by acting as producer and engineer for most of Drive Like Jehu's recordings, while Froberg acted as the band's artist and illustrator, creating artwork for their albums and merchandise.
The band released a self-titled debut album in 1991 through Cargo Music and Headhunter Records, gaining the notice of the emerging noise rock and math rock movements which would later lead to their description as a link between these genres. This was also the period in which the Seattle band Nirvana experienced great mainstream success, leading many major record labels to turn their attention to underground American rock bands. Both Drive Like Jehu and Reis' other band Rocket from the Crypt courted lucrative offers from major record labels, and eventually the two were signed to Interscope Records as a pair. During this time Drive Like Jehu released the single Hand Over Fist/Bullet Train to Vegas on Merge Records, as well as the song "Sinews" on a compilation of San Diego bands entitled Headstart to Purgatory.
Yank Crime and breakup
At the time of signing to Interscope, Reis was touring with Rocket From the Crypt in support of that band's second album Circa: Now! Interscope quickly re-released Circa: Now! and pushed for Rocket from the Crypt to enter the studio and record their major-label debut, but instead Reis returned to work with Drive Like Jehu, who released their second and final album Yank Crime in 1994. The band then embarked on tours of the United States and Europe.
The following year, with little fanfare, Drive Like Jehu disbanded. Reis resumed working with Rocket From the Crypt full-time, while Kennedy returned to school to study chemistry. Froberg and Trombino, meanwhile, both left San Diego. Froberg briefly played in the band Thingy before moving to New York to pursue a career as a visual artist and illustrator, while Trombino became a successful mainstream rock engineer and producer, working with artists such as Blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World.
Following the band's breakup Reis continued to front Rocket from the Crypt until 2005, gaining international recognition and resulting in increased interest in his work with Drive Like Jehu. A gradually growing audience began to pinpoint Drive Like Jehu's music as a catalyst for the eclectic San Diego music scene and the emerging national emocore scene of the 1990s. Speculation abounded about the fate of the band and their recordings, spurred on by the fact that the members had never officially announced the band's breakup but rather had simply stopped playing together.
In 1999 Reis formed the band Hot Snakes during off time from Rocket from the Crypt. He recruited Froberg to provide vocals for the band, and critics were quick to draw comparisons to their work together in Drive Like Jehu. At this time Reis also launched his own record label, Swami Records, through which Hot Snakes released several albums before disbanding in 2005. In 2003 Reis re-released Yank Crime through the Swami label, including on it the tracks from the Hand Over Fist/Bullet Train to Vegas 7" and the Headstart to Purgatory compilation. During their final tours Hot Snakes would occasionally perform the Drive Like Jehu songs "Bullet Train to Vegas" and "Luau," both from Yank Crime, during their sets.
Following the breakup of both the Hot Snakes and Rocket from the Crypt in 2005 Reis continued to perform with his other act the Sultans until January 2007, after which he formed The Night Marchers. Froberg, meanwhile, formed the Obits in 2006.
|1991||Drive Like Jehu||Cargo/Headhunter||First album.|
|1994||Yank Crime||Interscope/Headhunter||Final album. Re-released in 2003 by Swami Records with tracks from the "Hand Over Fist"/"Bullet Train to Vegas" single and Head Start to Purgatory compilation.|
|1992||"Hand Over Fist"/"Bullet Train to Vegas"||Merge||Out of print. Both tracks re-released on 2003 CD version of Yank Crime.|
|1993||Head Start to Purgatory||Cargo/Headhunter||"Sinews"||Compilation of San Diego bands. Track re-released on 2003 CD version of Yank Crime. This version differs from the album version found on Yank Crime, therefore it is listed on the re-release as "Sinews (original version)" in order to differentiate the two.|
Biography from Wikipedia