Light Up Ahead: In Memory of Jon Bunch

further-seems-forever-jon-bunch

Sad news broke late yesterday afternoon that vocalist Jon Bunch had passed away at the age of 45. Bunch was perhaps best known as founding member and lead vocalist of indie rock band Sense Field, but is also widely recognized for being the third lead vocalist for heralded emo act Further Seems Forever. Bunch also formed the Rise Records post-hardcore band War Generation and, at the time of his passing, was serving as vocalist for Lucky Scars.

You truly get a sense for the community of this music scene when news such as this breaks. So many of these musicians impacted our lives with their notes and words, and stories of Bunch’s kindness and singing prowess began flooding social media in the hours after news of his passing. For myself and many others, Jon Bunch will be remembered warmly for the influence his music had on my life, particularly during his time in Further Seems Forever.

As any longtime fan of the band can attest, discussing the band’s discography and career arc is truly a joy. Further Seems Forever proved to be one of the most influential and respected bands to come from the late 90s and early 2000s emo scene. From a strictly musical standpoint, the band is almost without peer in terms of the technical qualify of their songwriting. Their songs were made even more special by the talent and legend of the three distinct, unique vocalists that sang atop the music – Chris Carrabba, Jason Gleason and Bunch.

Like each of the band’s albums, 2004’s Hide Nothing, the final release from the band before their 2006 hiatus and the only release to feature Bunch, was uniquely Further Seems Forever. While any debate about which album is the band’s best is quite often futile, there’s certainly an argument to be made for Hide Nothing. Produced by James Paul Wisner (who also produced The Moon is Down and How to Start a Fire), the album is marked with some of the band’s crispest songwriting and most accessible melodies, but is truly highlighted by Bunch.

Bunch’s clean, polished delivery throughout the album still stands as a clear departure from the more emotive offerings from Carrabba or Gleason, yet there’s no denying Bunch’s passion. While many fairly point to “Light Up Ahead” as the signature track from Hide Nothing, I was always more captivated by “Someone You Know” – an under-the-radar track that was rarely played live. One of the more aggressive songs on the album, I still get chills up my spine during Bunch’s pleading chorus of, “Take my soul, I / Take my soul, I / Break my heart, I’m / Ready, ready, ready when you are”.

In the week’s to come, I’m certain that Hide Nothing will speak even greater volumes than I had previously known. Jon Bunch wasn’t just a great part of Further Seems Forever’s history, he was a great all around musician and someone that was respected and admired by thousands of fans and fellow artists. He is gone much to soon and will be sorely missed.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

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