Home Forums Dinosaur Related Discussions Dinosaur/J News & Discussions Jukebox vs J Mascis & Watt Dutch interview 2001 Re: Jukebox vs J Mascis & Watt Dutch interview 2001

#54879

jasper
Participant

Since I’m both Dutch and a moderator, I’ll take this task on me. It’s not a very good interview, though. So I’d take it with a grain of salt. Anyway, I cut some of the introduction out because nothing was said that you didn’t already know, and here we go.

What we can give you are the impressions J Mascis and Mike Watt gave us concerning a few songs we played for them. We talked to these rock-dino’s before their show in the Muziek-O-Droom, Hasselt. Although Mascis’s contribution is quite modest at times.

As first song of this juke-box session I chose for a song by Primus dating from the time of their "Pork Soda" album. It’s the song "The air is getting slippery," that describes a very hot day. Your heart is beating and sweat drips in your eyes, according to the lyrics. What do these guys think of Primus, and what events make them sweat?

Mike Watt, the bass player of the group, has an overly enthusiastic answer to this question. He’s so impulsive that he spills the hot water, meant for his tea, over our recorder. An excuse – it’s nothing, I’ve been through more terrible interviews – and a cleaning session later we can finally hear his answer.

"Les Claypool and his Frogs are great. I did a few shows with him, the most recent on New Year’s Day. I know the song. Les is a great bass player. Like Flea. These cats are younger than me. When I was a kid in the seventies – I’m 43 now – nobody wanted to play the bass. Unless you really couldn’t play guitar. Nowadays the instrument is much more attractive, and for many it’s the first instrument that they learn how to play. Among other things, thanks to the work that Les and Flea have done. Flea is even opening a music school for the kids."

"But getting nervous, as in the lyrics of the song, doesn’t often happen to me. But when I play, I sweat a lot. I never stand still on stage, you know. A show is a very intense thing for me. I shake my body really hard."

J Mascis, the personification of languor, lets us know that he’s not really interested in comedians who make music. He is not into comical music, Mascis says.

The next song I played for these gentlemen is one by Ween. It’s the song "Jappa Road," from the album "Chocolate and Cheese." I ask them if they can remember such places for their many tours.

Watt: "Of course. And, by the way, this is my 74th tour (actually, 47th – Watt)! I’m the child of a sailor. I’m used to traveling from one place to the other. Touring is never a bore, just read my diaries. I learn from every place I come, and any place might have something exciting to offer. As the child of a sailor, I consider the tour bus to be my boat. But we come in very diverse places. Sometimes I have to sleep on the floor, and another time in a hotel."

Because the members of Ween are clearly also just a bunch of comedians, Mascis doesn’t seem to be interested in adding much to the answer of his bass player. "I don’t know that much of Ween."

We move on to the new work of John Frusciante, "Going Inside," the first song if his last album.

[Said by Watt, I assume. The interview isn’t clear about this.] "Dramatic story. Although the album before last was very bizarre, I liked it a lot. You’ll never hear it on the radio. John has come a long way. He sounds more coherent these days. He’s in a better state of mind right now. A real artist."


Do you feel like a leader on stage? Watt: "Well, I’ve always been the boss in my own bands when I was on stage. But one thing is clear: You can’t learn everything when you’re the boss.

"This is one of the reasons why I wanted to help out Mascis. He’s a leader for me, you know? Mascis has his qualities. Although he prefers just playing guitar."

Mascis: "I’m just glad I can still play the guitar. I don’t really care about what I am as a leader."

While Watt is working on his homepage, Fugazi is playing in the background with the song "And The Same" from "Margin Walker."

What does J Mascis thing of politically correct attitude? Is this important for him?

Mascis: "I don’t think it’s a bad thing, but political messages are not the reason why I listen to music. I’m more interested in the emotional side of music. Although I don’t want to say what Fugazi does is wrong. What they’re talking about doesn’t have to be wrong. In general I do think it’s important that people pay more attention to the general consciousness. [That’s what it says – although I doubt that J said it that way.] People should take more responsibility. Be better human beings."

When Thurston Moore ("Psychic Hearts") is played, Mascis wonders for a moment if this is a local band. The lyrics seem very aggressive. Something Mascis isn’t into these days, as he told us before. Has that never been different?

[Sorry to interrupt again, but weren’t they talking about [i]comical[/i] lyrics before? When did aggression come into the picture? Anyway, I’ll carry on with it.]

Mascis: "I don’t know. Of course you can have a lot of fun. Maybe that can be a reason to make music. But it’s not my priority. Like I said, I don’t like comical music. What matters to me are feelings, emotions, things like that. Perhaps things that are more melancholic. I kinda like that side of music. But it seems that this might change. Personally, I think my last album is lighter than the Dinosaur Jr. material."

Another song that we don’t have to spend much time on is one by Beck, "Get Real Paid."

Mascis: "Sorry, no. I don’t like Beck."

Pere Ubu, then. "Vacuum In My Head" from "Ray Gun Suitcase." Mascis: "Yeah, I kinda like Pere Ubu’s stuff."

Finally I ask Mascis about Del The Funky Homosapien, with whom he wrote the song "Missing Link" for the soundtrack of Judgement Night.

Mascis: "That was cool. I actually played with him. Unlike some of the other bands on this album. Some time ago I heard Del in a song of the Gorrilaz. He was rapping with the guys of Blur. Great video, by the way. I checked it in a gas station where they sold CD’s, and yeah: Del’s on it. I haven’t seen him since we worked together for Judgement Night. But it was fun. We even were on TV together."

Maybe there’s a band that we didn’t play that Mascis thinks is important? One that influenced him during the nineties?

Mascis: "Hard to say. In that period I wasn’t influenced by others that much. I was very much doing my own thing. These days I’m more influenced by others. And I can’t really name one band that’s typical for the nineties. We don’t really have enough distance from the period to say what’s typical for that time."

Other things that Mascis has to tell me is that Buffalo Tom brought out a Greatest Hits album recently, and is performing live again. Mascis once did production work for Buffalo Tom.

Guided by Voices, too, has a new album. They’re touring now, and according to Mascis they’re doing fine.

(By Stijn Wuytens, with thanks to Jorg Lambrechts.)