Love As Laughter’s Sam Jayne Dead At 46
Sam Jayne, the musician best known as the leader of indie bands Love As Laughter and Lync, has died. Jayne’s friends and family recently reported him missing, last seen Dec. 6 and last heard from on Dec. 7. Pitchfork reports that Jayne’s body was found in his car and that there were no signs of foul play. His Love As Laughter bandmate Zeke Howard writes on Instagram, “The search for Sam Jayne has concluded and our hearts are broken. Our dear Sam is no longer with us but his memory and impact will endure.” Jayne was 46.
Jayne first gained fame in underground music circles in the early 1990s as the singer and guitarist for the Olympia emo and post-hardcore band Lync alongside future Built To Spill members James Bertram and Dave Schneider. Lync played a nervy and discordant form of indie rock that drew comparisons to Pacific Northwest peers Unwound as well as Fugazi, Sonic Youth, and the Jesus Lizard, among others. The group’s fans included American Music Club’s Mark Eitzel, who released their single “Firestarter” on his Candy Ass label in 1993, and Beck, who recruited Jayne and Bertram to play on his One Foot In The Grave album. Lync released their only full-length album, These Are Not Fall Colors, on K Records in 1994 and disbanded shortly afterwards.
Around the same time, Jayne began releasing 4-track recordings under the name Love As Laughter. K released his debut album The Greks Bring Gifts in 1996. By 1998’s #1 USA, Love As Laughter had evolved into a full-fledged band based out of New York. They played a more straightforward and poppy version of rock than Lync, but still kept one foot planted in the punk tradition even as they veered in a rootsier direction later on.
Love As Laughter released their next two albums on Sub Pop before signing to Isaac Brock’s Glacial Pace label for 2008’s Holy. Jayne had briefly been a member of Modest Mouse in the ’90s and returned to perform with the band on SNL in 2004; listening back to Lync, their influence on Brock’s early work is obvious, and the band gets some attention in Pitchfork’s documentary on The Lonesome Crowded West. Holy was Love And Laughter’s final LP, though a number of singles and 2013’s EP Greks II: Slight Return emerged in the years after.
Jayne also worked with artists including J Mascis, Kimya Dawson, Neal Casal, and T.K. Webb, and he was beloved by a wide range of artists in the indie world and beyond, from Har Mar Superstar to Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold. Below, check out Lync’s album and some select Love As Laughter tracks. Most of the band’s discography is up at Bandcamp as well.