John Schroeder, known by many as John Stabb, died yesterday of stomach cancer. The announcement came yesterday via the Government Issue Facebook page. He was 54.
Adopting his surname from his band The Stab, Stabb would go on to front Government Issue, the Washington D.C. hardcore band that ran from 1980 to 1989. It’s first release, Legless Bull, was the fourth release on Dischord Records, capturing Stabb in his most visceral state. Stabb would be the sole consistent member of G.I., a band that featured the likes of J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines) and Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Bad Religion) at various points in its nine-year existence.
As the years pressed on, Government Issue’s sound pushed beyond the walls of hardcore, but Stabb remained the band’s center. Unlike many of his peers, he became renowned not just for his wild live performances, but for a sense of humor that pushed back against a scene that could be overly serious. It’s what led to Government Issue releasing an album called Boycott Stabb after some artless graffiti was found advocating for that exact thing.
After the band’s breakup, Stabb would often joke that he went “from hardcore to hardware,” as he lived a life largely outside of the public eye. That changed in 2007, when Stabb was attacked and required facial reconstructive surgery, and his old band reunited under the name Government Re-Issue to support him. After he recovered from the surgery, the Government Issue reunion took, and the band played shows sporadically up until Stabb’s cancer diagnosis in February of this year. A GoFundMe page was launched to assist with his treatment costs and, in a cruel twist, Stabb died the day before a planned benefit concert featuring J. Robbins, Thurston Moore, and Give.