December 25, 2002 at 4:49 pm #45624
A long ‘interview’ with J., it might have been posted here in the past, but I hadn’t seen it before, and it is an amusing read!
J Mascis Interview: June 2000
Right off the bat, all readers should know that I did not track down J Mascis through his publicist or label. He did not contact me because he loves TheSSN so much. I was flying back to NYC the other night from LA, and he was on my plane. I started talking to him at baggage claim, and he agreed to split a cab into Manhattan.
I have been a huge fan of Dinosaur Jr. for a long time. I think my first real exposure to J’s guitar mastery came in an early 90’s G&S video (can’t remember the name…), where they played "The Wagon" to the intro. But if you think about it, the man’s songs have been in tons of videos, including Santa Cruz’s Speed Freaks and Toy Machine’s Welcome to Hell. Speaking of his involvement in skateboarding, he is friends with Neil Blender (who did the cover art for Without a Sound), and has known the Alien Workshop crew for years. I saw a Dinosaur show in Vail, CO a couple years ago, where there was a vert ramp in the back of the auditorium. I remember him mumbling into the mic, "I want to see a 540."
It was sort of weird to be cruising down the highway with a "rock star." I guess he isn’t much of a rock star, because he was flying coach, carrying his own guitars, and not being bothered by anyone. But I care more about speaking to him than Jay-Z, the lead singer of Creed, or whoever the hell is a famous musician these days. Despite the fact that he has long gray hair and was wearing a Dr. Suess t-shirt and PING golf hat, I knew I was sitting next to one of the few masters.
The following are excerpts from our deep discussion. I didn’t record this, but to my best recollection the quotes are quite accurate.
Me: When are you going to put out some new songs?
Me: What the hell is taking so long?
J: Got dropped by my label… I have already started working on a second album…
Me: What label were you on? I forget.
J: Warner labels… they’re all the same. I’m on five labels throughout the world…lawyers…
Me: What’s new album going to be like? The same, or different than your old shit?
Me: Loud, or acoustic?
Me: What were you doing out in L.A.?
J: Some stuff.
Me: Playing shows? Golfing?
J: Some golf. Talked to Schwing magazine. Some guys from Thrasher are doing it.
Me: What is your handicap?
J: I don’t know.
Me: You don’t keep score?
J shrugs, which tells me nothing.
At this point there was the first of many silences to occur throughout our half hour ride. There was road construction, so we were just sitting on the highway at 1:30 a.m., saying nothing. I figured there was no need to annoy the guy, plus I am no fan of vigorous conversation.
J: I guess no one sleeps anymore.
J: The traffic.
Me: Oh. I can sleep, anytime.
Another silence for a while. Then out of nowhere:
J: I heard Danny Way rides for Alien Workshop now.
Me: Yeah he does. The guy is still pretty damn good. He is dropping out of helicopters these days, onto massive fifteen foot tall vert ramps.
J: Do you skate in New York?
Me: At the park on the Upper West Side.
J: There’s a park up there?
I can’t remember why, but we somehow started talking about Metallica. This proved to a topic that concerns J greatly – this is where the fireworks really began.
J: I don’t get Metallica. Cutting their hair…
Me: Have you heard their recent albums?
Me: They are the worst things you have ever heard. Terrible.
J: Played a European festival with Metallica before… they were so bad… they wouldn’t talk to me. I met Marilyn Manson before, he was cooler. (Metallica) came out in Metallica bathrobes before their set… and handed them to people… they are so far removed from reality.
Me: Seems to me that after …And Justice for All, it was shit from there.
J: Earlier that that… I saw them right after Cliff (Burton) died… they were already bad. Once Lars slowed down his drumming… you can tell how off he is.
Me: Have you seen Slayer before?
Me: Good, right?
Me: Maybe you should cut your hair like Metallica did. Maybe you need an image consultant to sell more records.
J: I’ve got a lot of gray hair…
Me: So do I, look.
J then looked at my head.
We also discussed his recent shows with Mike Watt (the New York show was dubbed "Hellride East"). I told him I missed it because I forgot to buy tickets, and by the night of the show it was sold out. He didn’t seem too concerned.
Me: How were those shows with Mike Watt?
J: OK.. Stooges covers…
Me: Was it any good?
J: Depends on who you ask.
Me: What do you think about the New York crowds? They seem lame to me, nobody rocks out, everybody just studies the band.
J: I like New York crowds… they seem OK to me.
Me: I just compare all shows to Detroit. When I lived there, people went to a show and had a good time.
J: The worst crowds are in Seattle… they are so jaded… the rain… so depressing.
At this point it dawned on me that I should set up an "official" interview with J Mascis. I told him that I run a skateboarding-related website, and that I may do some writing for Copperpress magazine.
Me: You know that when I tell people I shared a cab with you that they are going to bitch I didn’t set up an interview.
J: I’ll be doing lots of interviews soon… for the new record…
Me: Have you ever heard of Copperpress magazine?" (I figured it was a given that he hadn’t heard of TheSSN).
Me: It basically covers indie rock, but a good amount of skateboarding and snowboarding as well. I guess I don’t know if you have much connection to the indie rock scene anymore.
J: I’ve never felt connected to anything.
So that’s about it. I know we discussed a few other important issues of the day, but it is tough to recall everything. I guess the bottom line here is that J Mascis is still alive, and he will release a new album that sounds like his old albums pretty soon. His golf game is pretty good and his favorite place to ski is at Squaw.December 25, 2002 at 5:19 pm #84743
cool ! i’d never seen that before …December 25, 2002 at 5:36 pm #84744
nice find, dB
I read it once, long ago, but nice to see it again, it’s really entertaining :aliensmile:
(and I don’t even have to translate it )January 21, 2003 at 8:20 am #84745
hehe, nice interview.. Some little from here and some from there… It was good.
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