Jack Yarber, also known by his stage name "Jack Oblivian", is an American singer, songwriter, and guitarist based in Memphis, Tennessee. He was a founding member of the garage-bands The Compulsive Gamblers, and The Oblivans and currently fronts Jack O & the Tennessee Tearjerkers.
Yarber has also been a member, or contributed to: The End, Johnny Vomit & The Dry Heaves, Andre Williams, The Knaughty Knights, South Filthy, The Cool Jerks, The Limes, '68 Comeback, King Louie & His Loose Diamonds, Greg Oblivian & the Tip Tops, Jack Oblivian & The Cigarillos, The Natural Kicks and Tav Falco's Panther Burns.
Johnny Vomit & the Dry Heaves:
Jack Yarber began his professional music career in high school, appearing alongside high-school friend and future Squirrel Nut Zippers founder Jimbo Mathus in the Corinth, Mississippi, based Johnny Vomit & the Dry Heaves. Yarber played drums in the outfit, which credited him as Johnny Goopa.1 Johnny Vomit & the Dry Heaves would go on to be one of Yarber's longest-running side projects, the song "Knick the Knife" on his latest Tennessee Tearjearkers album being a reworked version of a song performed in early Johnny Vomit jam sessions.2
In the summer of 1987 (?), Yarber moved to Memphis, Tennessee, to play music with his cousin. Yarber and his cousin played together using a number of band names, eventually releasing a new-wave 7-inch under the name The End. The tracks "You Never Called" and "People Talk" (later covered by Cheap Time) were recorded in 1984 at Phillips Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. That vinyl single, released on the Erwin record label marked Yarber's first appearance on record. By 1989 the two had diverged musically and Yarber's cousin left town, effectively ending their partnership.3
The Compulsive Gamblers:
Following the breakup of The End in, Yarber's encounter with fellow musician Greg Cartwright led to the formation of the Compulsive Gamblers. Despite recording two 7-inch albums and a handful of home recordings, the band was unable to garner record label interest until after the success of their next band, the Oblivians. The Compulsive Gamblers would reform in the late 1990s and early 2000s, releasing two studio albums and one live LP on Sympathy For the Record Industry.4
The Oblivians formed in 1993 as a side project to the Compulsive Gamblers, and included former Gambler Greg Cartwright, as well as future Goner Records founder, Eric Friedl. The members of the Oblivians all shared writing and recording responsibilities. Each member supplied vocals, guitar work, and percussion on albums, and switched between instruments during live shows. The Oblivians lasted from 1993 until 1998, at which time Yarber and Cartwright left the band to reform the Compulsive Gamblers. The second incarnation of the Gamblers lasted from 1998 to 2003, when the bandmembers again went their separate ways.
The Tennessee Tearjerkers:
After pursuing a brief solo career, Yarber teamed up with Scott Bomar to form the Tearjearkers. As Bomar became more and more involved with film scoring, Yarber began to take a more active role in the band, ultimately taking over as lead songwriter after Bomar's departure. With Yarber in control of the group, the band was rechristened the Tennessee Tearjerkers.5 At the same time as Yarber was writing songs with the Tearjerkers, he was also contributing in various ways to a number of side projects including, the Knaughty Knights, the Limes, and South Filthy which included collaborations with longtime associates Walter Daniels, and Monsieur Jeffrey Evans. In 2007 Yarber released another solo LP, "The Flip Side Kid." The CD version was released by Sympathy For the Record Industry and Yarber self-released the vinyl under his own label, "Dirt Cheap Date."
The Oblivians reunion:
In 2008, The Oblivians and The Gories announced a dual reunion tour, which happened in the summer of 2009, mostly in Europe, but also a couple shows in Memphis and Detroit.6. In 2010, more Oblivians dates have been booked in the United States. No 2011 dates are confirmed at this time.