Jon Bunch, Hardcore/ Emo Singer, Dead at 45

Bunch at Propaganda in Lake Worth at the CD release party for War Generation in 2013.
Bunch at Propaganda in Lake Worth at the CD release party for War Generation in 2013.
photo by Molly Grabill

2016 has seen the loss of many notable musicians — including Jon Bunch, one of the greatest frontmen to emerge from the postpunk era. He was known for co-founding L.A.-based band Sense Field and later joining South Florida emo band Further Seems Forever.  For "reasons still unknown," according to his partner Angelique Flores, his life was suddenly and unexpectedly cut short in the early-morning hours of February 1. He was 45 years old.

Having lent his iconic voice over the past three decades to such influential hardcore/emo bands as Reason to Believe (1986-1990), Sensefield (1990-2004), Fort Lauderdale’s own Further Seems Forever (2004-2006), War Generation (2013), and most recently Lucky Scars, Bunch provided the soundtrack for countless kids' formative years with consistently positive lyrics and a passionate singing style. His music felt like it was written with his fans' hearts in mind.

Bunch was a gregarious giant, standing at over six-foot-six with an infectious smile that could light up even the darkest of days. He was gracious and undeniably humble. He never met a stranger and always had time for those who sought him out. Bunch was a friend, a father, and a mentor to those with musical aspirations who were influenced by what will now be one of the most cherished discographies in the genre.

Tom Mullen, founder and Host of Washed Up Emo, interviewed Bunch recently for a podcast, not knowing it would be Bunch's last interview. Mullen said, "I will never forget the first thing Jon did when he picked up the phone for the podcast. He asked about my life and took the time to find out more about Washed Up Emo before the interview even started. I was blown away at how humble he was but also so proud of his life's work." 

A Jon Bunch Memorial Fund has been established via GoFundMe. Donations will be used to raise college funds for Jon’s 12-year-old son, Jack; to assist the family with funeral expenses; and for a contribution in Bunch’s name to a charity assisting children in need — a cause that was close to his heart.

Funeral services will be held on February 13 in Glendale, California. 

Bunch's record company, Spartan Records, rounded up tributes from some of his musical peers. Musical projects to honor Bunch are reportedly in the works. (In the meantime, Further Seems Forever is scheduled to play Fort Lauderdale on March 12 at the For the Love music fest.) 

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.

Here's Bunch's last video, with Lucky Scars: 

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