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Posts Tagged ‘J Mascis’


I bought my first first Dinosaur Jr LP yesterday.  Weird, I know.  I have always had an MP3 for “Freak Scene” on my computer… and I *might* have one Alex’s old Sebadoh records kicking around in a CD bin somewhere… but it wasn’t till I finished the chapter on Dinosaur Jr in Our Band Could Be Your Life that it all came together.

I was reading this book in the summer… then lost it after the chapter on Big Black! Fuck nuts.

Maybe Nana found it because on Friday my bed was made (thank you!) and the book was just sitting by my bedside table.  And the bookmark was still where I left it.  Magical.

I tucked into the story of Dinosaur Jr on Friday and it was amazing.  The band began as a couple hardcore skids, J Mascis and Lou Barlow, coming together in Amherst, Massachusetts  in the early 80s.  The hardcore band, Deep Wound, didn’t really work for them, but when J came out from behind the kit to sing and play guitar and Lou moved over to bass… they created a new and unique still for the time.  The blue-print for what we’d call grunge or alternative rock in the 90s.

They also hated each other (or it seemed that way in the book) and by the their third album, Bug, J Mascis and drummer Murph kicked Barlow out of the band.   According to wikipedia and twitter, they are friends again and releasing new music as the original Dinosaur Jr!

I love listening to old 80 alternative rock.  Especially on my turntable.  Its more distorted (because my amp sucks) and feels more true to the style of the time.  Maybe if I could track down a cassette player, I could jam out those early Sebadoh songs too.

J Mascis says Bug is his least favourite Dinosaur Jr record.  Which probably means it’ll be my favourite.  I’ve never met the guy… only read the legend in the book… but he sounds like a challenging dude.  I guess the true artists tend to be.  Actually… most the band features in Our Band Could Be Your Life are dysfunctional.

Bug works for me because it is fuzzy, heavy, original lineup but the most accessible of the early records.

Check out a couple selections.

“Freak Scene”

Side one, track one from Bug is one of the more recognizable songs from Dinosaur Jr.  It helped propel the record to number 1 on the UKs Indie chart.  The Brits of the late 80s and early 90s were fascinated with the authentic American sound and Dinosaur had that going on.

The lyrics seem like they are directly about J and Lou’s relationship.  After reading about their turmoil and drama, then hearing this song… it adds so much weight to the story.

The final cut on the LP is a song called “Don’t.” The only song on Bug sung by Lou Barlow.  He wails over and over, “Why don’t you like me?”  The songs is noise and fury and Barlow apparently coughed up blood after laying down the vocals.  Mascis himself said it was a little fucked up to make Barlow sing this song considering at the time, the two hated each other.

“Don’t”

So savage.  Sounds better on my stereo than in my headphones.  It needs the “room” to sound just right.

You know how much I love covers… Dinosaur recorded the Cure’s “Just like Heaven” for a compilation record, but dug it some much… they kept it for a single.  I t was released in the UK in ’89 and was their first UK chart song.  You’ll find the song now on the reissue of You’re Living All Over Me (the album before Bug).

“Just like Heaven”

That’s all I got for you right now.  Just finishing the book, Our Band Could Be Your Life and loving the chapter on Mudhoney/SubPop.

Go with yourself.

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