Guitarist William Nephew (Our Dear Friends) and El Capitan High School friends Seth McCarter (guitar) and David Esau (drums) formed Jack’s Broken Heart in 1999. In three months they finished recording their Against Forgetting EP and got busy promoting, handing out CDs at shows, flyering Music Traders, getting airtime with Tim Pyles, and making up to $50 a day for downloads on MP3.com.
“That was the real outlet for our music,” Nephew says over coffee at Cream in University Heights. Nephew credits MP3.com for generating the fan base that voted Jack’s as the Best Alternative Band in the 2001 San Diego Music Awards.
Amid conversations with Warner Brothers and Elektra, the band went to Canada to record with a producer who turned out to be a con artist: he took them for all of their MP3.com earnings.
“The pressure of the recording in Canada flopping, combined with trying to reinvent ourselves caused us to implode,” says Nephew. “We put everything into the music. The Canada thing was such a letdown.”
On the cusp of the big time, having just played to an 850+ crowd at the Scene, and with Nephew in the process of building a recording studio for the band, a fight led to a bitter breakup in 2004.
After a six-year hiatus, with members working, playing with other groups, and Nephew studying film in San Francisco, Jack’s Broken Heart got back together for drummer Esau’s birthday, to play August 7, 2010. Indie rockers Skydiver and political punks Spare Change also reunited at the same show, for the first time in years.
After the reunion came plans for a live DVD and possible new material, which Nephew described as “more Mogwai, more Radiohead...not poppy but melodic.”