RIP: John “Stabb” Schroeder

The leader and founder of D.C. punk outfit Government Issue has passed at the age of 54. From WaPo:

When it was scheduled, Sunday night’s benefit for local punk-rock lifer John “Stabb” Schroeder was intended to raise money for his medical bills. But the Government Issue singer died of stomach cancer 24 hours before the music commenced, so the Black Cat show became a wake.

“A wake is celebration,” said J. Robbins, who played bass for Government Issue from 1986 to 1989, before founding such groups as Jawbox and Office of Future Plans. Robbins and his band were preceded by Give, a local punk-metal quintet that represented a younger generation, and followed by Thurston Moore, the now-London-based guitarist known for his decades with New York’s Sonic Youth. Several guest vocalists also performed such punchy and generally earnest Stabb songs as “Understand” and “Blending In.”

Stabb, who was 54, led Government Issue (or GI) for almost the entire 1980s. The gangly singer was known for intensity and determination — “he never stopped,” said D.C. punk veterans Alec MacKaye and Ian MacKaye, in separate tributes — but also humor. While most of the city’s hard-core punks dressed functionally, Stabb indulged outrageous costumes. He also ignored the local punk honor code by sustaining GI through numerous personnel changes. Other bands routinely split as soon as one member lost interest; more than a dozen musicians played with GI at some point.

Here is my favorite GI tune, “Jaded Eyes” from 1987’s album You.

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