John Stabb of Government Issue Dead at 54
RIP to a fixture of the 1980s Washington, D.C. punk scene
John Stabb, founder and only constant member of Washington, D.C. hardcore band Government Issue, died Saturday following a battle with stomach cancer. He was 54. The band announced the news via Facebook early Sunday morning.
Born John Dukes Schroeder, Stabb founded Government Issue in 1980. G.I. rose to prominence alongside seminal D.C. punk bands Minor Threat, Fugazi, and Bad Brains, gaining a reputation for spiking their melodic punk sound with elements of metal, psychedelia, and new wave. Despite continuous personnel changes, the group put out six studio records and several EPs before disbanding in 1989.
In 2015, prior to Stabb’s diagnosis, Government Issue played a series of reunion shows. Stabb spoke to Noisey about his band’s legacy:
I’m certainly not the same angry, young man with the broken heart worn on my sleeve, no. But at 54 years bold, I’m happy to share these old feelings with everyone who can either relate to or just dig hearing. I cannot put a number on how many listeners of G.I.’s music who’ve shared with me how much some of our songs and my lyrics helped them get through the stressful teenage years as well as their troubled adult lives. I’m glad that something I was part of and still doing after I once claimed it would never happen after 1989 made an impact on folks.
In recent years, Stabb also performed with his band History Repeated. He was featured in Salad Days, the Kickstarter-funded documentary film about the glory days of D.C. punk. A GoFundMe page set up to collect money for his treatment raised over $50,000.
A benefit concert scheduled tonight at D.C.’s Black Cat will go on as planned, according to local radio station WTOP-FM. Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Government Issue bassist J. Robbins, and D.C. psych-punk band Give are scheduled to perform.