Drive Like Jehu were founded in San Diego by guitarist John "Speedo" Reis (who simultaneously served as the frontman for trash-punkers Rocket From the Crypt) and lead singer/guitarist Rick Froberg (aka Eric Froberg, initially credited as Rick Farr). The two had previously played together in a grungy, metal-tinged punk outfit called Pitchfork from 1986-1990, and recorded one album, titled Eucalyptus (on which Froberg used the alias Rick Fork). Itching to develop their more progressive ideas further, Froberg and Reis regrouped in August 1990 as Drive Like Jehu, taking their name from an obscure Biblical reference in the second book of Kings. The remainder of the band consisted of bassist Mike Kennedy and drummer Mark Trombino, a powerful and versatile rhythm section capable of pushing Reis and Froberg's complex, interlocking guitar patterns to even greater heights.
Drive Like Jehu signed with the independent Headhunter label at approximately the same time as Reis' Rocket From the Crypt. Both bands released their debut albums in 1991, and Jehu's self-titled bow stood in stark contrast with its epic prog-punk song structures and wild, abrasive performances. In 1992, Jehu recorded an explosive, one-off single for Merge, "Hand Over Fist" b/w "Bullet Train to Vegas." Rocket From the Crypt signed a major-label contract with Interscope in 1994, and by some accounts, Reis insisted on a package deal in which Jehu would be allowed to sign as well: hence the highly unlikely major-label release of the cult classic Yank Crime in 1994. Another uncompromising maelstrom of technically intricate fury, Yank Crime refined the approach of its predecessor and expanded the group's growing cult audience. However, Jehu disbanded not long after its release, in part for Reis to concentrate on Rocket From the Crypt. Drummer Trombino went on to become an in-demand producer and engineer for commercially successful bands like blink-182 and Jimmy Eat World, while bassist Kennedy retired from music and became a chemist. In 2002, Reis and Froberg reunited in the musically similar but streamlined Hot Snakes, and Reis also reissued Yank Crime on his own Swami label, complete with both sides of Jehu's 1992 Merge single. ~ Steve Huey