Breakdown was started in 1986, during the resurgence of the hardcore scene. Despite being a NYHC band, being based in Yonkers Breakdown didn't have the Lower East Side Crew-mentality of Warzone and Agnostic Front. By a similar token, unlike some of their other contemporaries like Gorilla Biscuits and Youth Of Today, Breakdown was not a straight edge positive band. They are considered more along the lines of Sheer Terror for their more metallic sound and less-than-positive lyrics. However, Breakdown always had somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek element to them, mostly due to singer Jeff Perlin's humorous live banter and lyrics.

Contrary to popular belief, the original Breakdown lineup only lasted for less than a year. The band continued on with new members over the years, with Jeff Perlin being the only original member.

Through all the years Breakdown never did a tour of the U.S., concentrating mostly on the Northeast and Canada. They toured Europe 4 times (1999, 2001, 2009, 2010) with European bands including Rykers and Backfire. They also toured Japan in 2001.

Starting in 2003 through 2007 Perlin was the vocalist for Slumlords, a Baltimore-based hardcore/punk band. Slumlords allowed Perlin to write lyrics with a much less serious slant while allowing for a more diverse vocal delivery by adding punk, rock n roll and some heavy metal to the mix while still relying on hardcore for the basis of their sound.

Breakdown started playing gigs again in 2008, most notably the Black N Blue Bowl held in Brooklyn, NYC and the Built to Last Festival in Providence, RI in May 2009. They have also played gigs in NYC in September 2009 and the Baltimore "Fall Brawl" in October 2009. They played two gigs in Europe in November 2009 (Antwerp, Belgium and Leipzig, Germany) to support Backfire for their last two performances as well as a 4 date tour of Netherlands, Germany, France and Belgium in August 2010. In November of 2010 they made their triumphant return to New York City's Webster Hall (which they last played 1988 when it was called The Ritz) opening for Sheer Terror. There have been rumors of Breakdown working on new material for general release, which would be their first output since 2001. But these rumors have been laid to rest after Breakdown decided to pack it in and not record or play any additional shows as of February 2011.

In February 2012 it was formally announced that the original 1986 lineup was reforming to write, record and release all-new material. This lineup consists of vocalist Jeff Perlin, guitarists Carl Porcaro and Don Angellili, bassist Rich McLoughlin and drummer Anthony Drago. This is the first time in 25 years that this lineup has performed together.

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