Temporary Residence Ltd. releases Lincoln’s Repair and Reward on August 5.
Lincoln was a Morgantown, West Virginia, band formed in 1992 by Jay Demko (vocals/guitar) John Herod (guitar), Justin Wierbonski (drums), and Johanna Claasen (bass). Dan Ball would take over as bassist when Claasen couldn’t tour due to conflicts with college. Lincoln was a band for just a brief time, and left behind only a handful of recordings, but they remain highly respected and are often regarded as one of the many foundational pieces of what would become known as “post-hardcore,” as well as the proto-emo scene that was birthed by bands like Rites of Spring and Moss Icon.
As young teenagers, the three core members of Lincoln grew up in Morgantown, a town which had a thriving counterculture and DIY punk scene throughout the 1980s and into the mid 1990s. Marsha Ferber’s music venue, the Underground Railroad – and its smaller all-ages room, The Dry House – brought some of the greatest touring punk bands of that era to Morgantown, inspiring the members of Lincoln to form the band after seeing Naked Raygun, fIREHOSE, and some of the earliest Fugazi shows.
Local Morgantown group Th’ Inbred paved the way as a respected international touring punk band, setting an example of the DIY ethos: book your own shows and set your own course. Lincoln followed their lead and quickly became known for their fiercely energetic and intense live shows and for their technical abilities heard in their unusually tight, crisp sound. Drummer Justin Wierbonski, who was 16 years-old when they started, is still referenced as one of the most revered drummers of that era.
Lincoln’s first 7” was originally released in 1992 by the New Jersey hardcore label, Watermark Records. The following year, their universally beloved split 7” with Washington, DC’s Hoover was the inaugural release on the newly formed Art Monk Construction label (founded by Eric Astor, who would later own and operate Lumberjack Distribution and now Furnace Record Pressing). A final Lincoln 7” was released posthumously in 1994 by Art Monk Construction. All of Lincoln’s releases have remained out-of-print and unavailable since the late 1990s.
Demko left Lincoln after their final tour in 1993, and moved to State College, PA, where he formed the short-lived Glendale. When he returned to Morgantown, he reconnected with Wierbonski to form Kukim along with Chris Turco (Ultraam) on guitar and vocals, and Ben Doyle (Braille Drivers) on bass and vocals.
In 2021, Lincoln’s entire recorded history was recovered, and the original analog tapes were restored and transferred. J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines) – an influential veteran of the era that molded Lincoln, and a highly skilled engineer with institutional knowledge of the studios and equipment in which those Lincoln recordings were made – newly mixed every song from every session. All eight songs – seven that originally spanned three 7” singles, plus a previously unreleased track – are now finally available on CD, LP, and Digital formats. It all sounds and feels better than ever, and shows just how much a small band from a small town with a small discography can have such a large and lasting impact.