· By John Frazier
RIP Jon Bunch (1970-2016)
Musician Jon Bunch passed away on Sunday, January 31 at the age of 45.
The popular vocalist who over his decades-long career, fronted such beloved bands as Sense Field, Further Seems Forever, Reason to Believe and more recently War Generation and Lucky Scars, went on to influence a generation of artists including Jimmy Eat World, Paramore's Hayley Williams, Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carabba and Bob Nanna, who upon learning of his passing, took to social media to pay tribute to the singer.
Jon's latest project, Lucky Scars, released its debut EP, Rock and Roll Party Foul, in December. In remembrance and with Jon's blessing, we're proud to debut the band's final music video for the single "Bandita."
A Jon Bunch Memorial Fund has been established via GoFundMe, with the goal of helping to raise college funds for Jon's 12-year old son Jack and for the family's funeral expenses. Jon's mother has conveyed that her son always had a passion for helping kids in need and so a portion of the proceeds will be allocated to a children's charity of the family's choosing.
Additionally, several of Jon's friends are in the early stages of planning several music-related benefit events in Jon's memory. Details are not available at this time.
More tributes to Jon Bunch:
Chris Carrabba - Dashboard Confessional, Further Seems Forever
Jon Bunch was larger than life in every way. He was a towering man. His voice was huge and serene. His heart was gigantic. My own heart breaks for losing him. I feel such deep loss but in that loss I am lucky to have his songs to guide me. Jon was my friend and I loved him.
Jason Gleason - Further Seems Forever
We had planned to grab a drink and catch up while I was in LA this weekend. Sadly, these plans will be delayed a bit. I was quite stunned and saddened yesterday to hear about the passing of Jon Bunch. An amazing musician, and an even better man. Jon had this uncanny ability, whether on stage, or off, to make everyone feel as if they were the only person in the room. His message was consistently about love, and he personified that love through song and friendship. Based on all of the beautiful things that people have been outpouring on social media, Jon's lyric that a "perfect dream outlives the man," is a fitting testament to his legacy. May you rest in peace brother.
Further Seems Forever
We are in total shock, today we found out that Jon Bunch departed this world. Jon was an inspiration to us in so many ways. He had the uncanny ability to light up a room when he stepped into it. He left a huge imprint in the music scene from "Reason to Believe” to “Sense Field", and we were lucky enough to make a beautiful record with him. It is a legacy of hope and one that will never fade. We truly lost a special person.
Jimmy Eat World
We are very sad to hear about the passing of Jon Bunch. He was such a talented and kind human being. He will be sorely missed!
Hayley Williams - Paramore
Rest in peace, Jon Bunch. Your voice sang me to sleep many nights. Thx for your contribution to my fav Further Seems Forever album.
Bob Nanna - Braid, Hey Mercedes, City on Film
Jon was a huge inspiration to pretty much every one of my bands, particularly as a singer. I was in awe of his range and strength and I took every opportunity to pick his brain and study his performance and preparation during the tour Hey Mercedes did with Sense Field in 2003. He was super supportive and beyond kind to us, his friends, and his fans. He will be missed.
Mike Kinsella - Cap'n Jazz, American Football, Joan of Arc, Owen
The 'Killed For Less' cassette was a staple in the Cap'n Jazz van. It was equal parts beautiful and odd and corny and interesting and romantic and mathy and sincere, and it was a huge influence on all the music I've made since.
Blair Shehan - Knapsack / The Jealous Sound
I met Jon around ’94. Our bands played shows together many times after that. Keep in mind, I was a big fan before I met him. I loved Reason to Believe in high school and mail ordered the first Sense Field directly from Jon that included a hand written note. His voice was pure and powerful. He was the quintessential front man. We both lived in Southern California and I would run into him off and on over the last twenty years. Whenever I saw him he would always be genuinely interested in what I was doing. He was sincere, warm, and welcoming. He was a true talent and the real deal. He will be missed.
Chris Higdon - Falling Forward, Elliott, Frontier(s)
Hearing 'Killed for Less' for the first time was an eye opener, equal to seeing my first punk show. Seeing someone accomplish what you want to do makes it one step closer to becoming a reality. Beyond Jon’s voice, which made me start taking lessons soon after, the production and musicianship made me realize what could be accomplished with an independent label. Getting a chance to meet with the band and Jon a few times only made things more intriguing. There was an honesty and sense of universal peace and struggle with in them and in his lyrics. He would make things just cryptic enough in his songs that if you chose to, they could easily fit into your life regardless who or whatever you chose to love or believe in.What he brought to our community will be missed.
Jonah Matranga - Far, Onelinedrawing
There was a band called Sense Field. They made elegant, energetic music. I played a ton of shows with them back in the day, and became friends with them in that Rockworld way. I traded occasional hellos with their singer, Jon; just daydreams of singing together again or something. I just found out that he died yesterday. I don't know anything about the details, and it doesn't really matter. I've got that distant, detached feeling that lets me know I'm in shock and haven't quite registered that I won't run into him on tour, or sing with him, or anything. So much is gone when we go. Bye, Jon. You were beautiful.
Chad Gilbert - New Found Glory, What’s Eating Gilbert
Just heard that Jon Bunch passed away. Such sad news. Sense Field's “Building" is one of the best melodic post hardcore emo/rock songs ever written. I've tried recreating the feeling and impact of that riff and melody time again. A few years later after seeing Sense Field, they took New Found Glory on a tour before lots of people would. Besides being such a talented person he always had a smile on is face when I'd see him and was always positive and fun to talk to. He will be missed by lots of people. Jon Bunch was a pioneer without a doubt. There's a light up ahead.
Eddie Reyes - Taking Back Sunday
The loss of great singer and pioneer of our genre Jon Bunch is a big loss. Not only was he an influence but was a part of one of the best bands of their time, Sense Field. The albums "Killed For Less" and "Building" were such a big influence on me. It is so sad, RIP legend…
Eric Richter - Christie Front Drive
Jon was probably my favorite vocalist in this genre. His vocal melodies and delivery brought tears to my eyes on several occasions. I guess that's what you're suppose to say when you were branded like we all were in that time period, but that statement is 100% true. Jon, your words ran deeper and I thank you.
Sad to hear about the passing of Jon Bunch of Sense Field. Although it has been many years since our paths crossed, we remember him and the times that we shared fondly. Rest in peace.
We had the fortune to share a stage many times with Sense Field, and Reason to Believe was on constant rotation in our early days. Today's news hits close to home. RIP, Jon.
Texas is the Reason
With heavy hearts we say goodbye to our brother Jon Bunch, singer of the mighty Sense Field. We will never forget you, your voice or that big smile. Chest-bumps for life. "Yes I've got these dreams and you're in them all”
Matthew Caws - Nada Surf
Rest In Peace Jon Bunch, singer of Sense Field (+ Reason to Believe + Further Seems Forever). We toured together and he was a lovely man.
Bryan Gassler - The Jazz June
In my early days I listened to a lot of punk and hardcore, and in 1994 that changed when I discovered Killed for Less by Sense Field. That album made me realize that melody could be born from the mosh pit and it was Jon Bunch's gorgeous voice at the center of it that stood out the most. Although I didn't know Jon, his voice and his songs had a tremendous impact on how I approached writing music. I am saddened by his passing, he was an emo-hardcore legend that left a big imprint on many people. Godspeed Jon, wherever you are.
Brett Detar - The Juliana Theory
I'm truly gutted to hear that Jon Bunch just passed away. Johnny Scars was an absolute sweetheart - hilarious and kind. Just a giant teddy bear - someone i looked up to long before I had the pleasure of knowing him. His voice and lyrics were definitely a massive influence in my formative musical years. Sense Field was the first band to take The Juliana Theory on tour and that was actually one of the only times I've ever gotten to tour as the opener for a band that I was a massive fan of beforehand. A couple years earlier I vividly recall Zao listening to Sense Field regularly in the tour van. To this day the album "Building" still sticks with me lyrically and is about the only piece of music from that era and scene that I still listen to. To me it's as powerful and moving as ever. I was asked to play second guitar for Sense Field on a Japanese tour and I wasn't able to do it and I've always regretted that. Thanks, Jon, for letting me borrow a lyric of yours for the last Theory record and much more importantly, thank you for blessing us with your music and your spirit. RIP. "Sing on. You'll live on. Sing on. Love will on." - Jon Bunch
Jeff Caudill - Gameface
Jon and I weren't super close friends but had definitely spent some time together over the years. I was always in awe of his voice and his presence on and off stage. I guess I was more of a fan. Reason to Believe was one of my first ever punk shows in the late 80's. Then in the 90's, Gameface and Sense Field played together all the time. I remember talking to him about songwriting and stuff. We were on the back porch of a house me and Popeye (Farside) rented at the time. Sense Field had just finished an album. We talked about how my songs were really autobiographical and his were more universal. He said he 'just wanted to write songs that make people feel good - that bring people together.' I've always remembered that, not only because it's true but because of the way he said it - with such sincerity. That sincerity came through every time. Sense Field shows at that time were like going to church - so uplifting and moving. I think about all the shows we played together and watching Sense Field and thinking how lucky I was to even know this band existed. Those songs brought people together. Jon's voice brought people together. A couple years ago we had him in the studio to record some backing vocals with Gameface and again, he was just awesome - so positive and energetic. Goosebumps all around the room as he sang "now is what matters now." The last few days have been strange. I really don't know when it's all going to sink in but I'm thankful that his music will be with us forever.
Christie Front Drive
We are very sad today to learn of the passing of Jon Bunch. We (mostly Eric and I) would listen to Sense Field insistently in the van. We were all super excited to get to play with them at the Hong Kong Café on our first tour. They turned out to all be great guys and we were lucky enough to play with them many more times throughout the course of our turning days. Jon was always a humble kindhearted soul and one hell of a singer.
We met Jon at the Mocambo in LA in '92, he was a character...what a original.
The Starting Line
It’s so sad to hear of the passing of Jon Bunch - we had the opportunity to tour with Jon and Further Seems Forever back in 2005, which was an absolute pleasure. I remember all of us flipping out over the fact that Jon was in Sense Field, which was a huge deal to all of us. He was charismatic, kind, and such a great person to be around. The mark that Jon left on music and on the people and bands around him is undeniable and very much appreciated. RIP Jon.
Todd Trout - Gameface
In high school, Jeff and I loved Reason To Believe. Such a cool band all the way around and vocal wise just amazing. Gameface first real show was with Sense Field and Jeff and I were both super stoked. Years later Gameface was able to be part of the benefit show for Rodney from Sense Field when his daughter was hospitalized, what a super emo show. And then Jon came into the studio to sing on NOW, one of the highlights of my 26 years in Gameface, sends the best kind of chills when I hear the end of the song. But here's the part of friendship that would not be expected. This past year my son played basketball in the same league as Jon's son. That is where we hung out and really talked. He played me his new songs and talked about fatherhood and those times are what I will remember about him. Tonight I will hold my loved ones closer and think of talents lost while getting the best kind of chills while listening to this song.
Greg Bennick - Trial
The right band for the right time. It's the voice that sweeps up our emotions along with the musicians who hit hard and capture the feeling of the times. Sometimes that's all we need to get by. There was a time when Sense Field and Jon Bunch's voice were at the center of what was a new scene. It was a new feeling, a sense of emotional exploration, and it's own new time. Bands like Farside and State of the Nation amongst others were bringing emotion to reason, and along with Sense Field were tapping into our feelings first and foremost, and our anger or passion second. This felt very real. And Jon Bunch had the voice to carry that scene. I just wish more people had gotten a chance to experience the band. So many bands get so much play, so much attention, so much of everything...for so little reason. Sense Field was a band who deserved so much more than they ever got. RIP Jon Bunch (Johnny Scars). "Love is building…”
John Rejba - Boys Life, The Farewell Bend, Rare Animals
I saw Sense Field a few times over the years and crossed paths with Jon only briefly, but he always made a lasting impression. He was an artist full of life and inspiration. At Rev 25 in Chicago, he looked completely happy and sounded better than ever. He still had so much left to give, and I think this loss will be felt by everyone for a long time.
John Herguth - Atlantic/Pacific,The Love Scene
On what would be the last afternoon I got to spend with my friend Erin, who passed away from cancer, I called Bunch and asked him to give her a ring to say "Hi." She was maybe the biggest Sense Field fan of all time and she literally had a week left. We sat at her house and she got a call from a California number which she immediately declined. I convinced her to call it back and it was Bunch. They spoke for at least thirty minutes and she was beside herself with excitement. It was pretty amazing. He was a sweet dude. Truly.