August 23, 2005 at 6:12 am #48380
Like Lou Reed, you know? It’s just like, man, shut up Just shut up Shut up, Lou Reed"[img]http://www.clicksmilies.com/s0105/lachen/laughing-smiley-017.gif[/img]
Alt-rock legends Dinosaur Jr. bury the hatchet and hit the road
VANCOUVER (Westender) – Sixteen years after being unceremoniously turfed from the celebrated power trio Dinosaur Jr., Lou Barlow still sounds angry. The once-disposed bass player will insist, from a hotel room in Sweden, that old tensions are gone, and that the reunited Dinosaur Jr. have left the past behind them, but there is still palpable resentment.
"I got kicked out for talking too much," says Barlow, whose antagonistic relationship with bandmate J. Mascis is the stuff of legend. "I didn’t talk too much. I never said anything back then"
Whether or not he was mum 15 years ago is a subject of debate, but it’s certain that Barlow has a lot to say today. Reformed with frontman Mascis and drummer Emmett Jefferson "Murph" Murphy III, Barlow has been out on the road with the reformed Dinosaur Jr. for some months now, and though it seems he might be tired of talking about the band’s influence or history, he seems anxious to sound off on both.
Formed in the mid- ’80s, Dinosaur Jr. are widely acknowledged as one of the chief progenitors of the late-’80s alt-rock explosion. The group’s dynamic and angular guitar-rock style has been a direct influence on everyone from Weezer to Broken Social Scene, yet for all intents and purposes the trio remain unknown beyond the record-clerk realm.
"We definitely had a huge influence on other groups," says Barlow, whose tone is set firmly at withering for much of the interview. "Nirvana were definitely trying to do the Dinosaur sound; and Radiohead’s first single, where it goes really quiet and gets loud again – that’s, like, a direct copy of what Dinosaur were doing.
"There were so many groups that were trying to do what we were, but it doesn’t, like, bug me or anything. That’s what music does. I mean, J and I had a ton of influences, some of them obvious and some not. It doesn’t bother me that people took what we were doing. I’d rather be seminal than rich."
In fact, though one might expect Barlow – who spent his post-Dinosaur years in such critically acclaimed but cash-poor projects as Sebadoh and Folk Implosion – to be resentful of imitators who got rich off his innovations, the indie-rock icon is sick of hearing legendary acts complain that their sound is being jacked. "I get so sick of these old guys bitching about how they’ve been ripped off, or how people are stealing their sound," he says. "Like Lou Reed, you know? It’s just like, man, shut up Just shut up Shut up, Lou Reed"
With that diatribe off his chest, Barlow makes it clear that he, Mascis and the oft-forgotten Murph have reformed for the right reasons. "J started coming to my shows when I was playing with Sebadoh. And then we actually ended up playing together – not as Dinosaur yet, but playing together at an autism benefit. It felt really natural. I guess we were enjoying it, and it just felt right to play together."
After what one imagines were intense negotiations, the twosome tracked down Murph, and set out to revisit the past. With Mascis (who’s spent his post-Dinosaur years with underground favourites J. Mascis and the Fog) putting his formidable scream up at forefront and Barlow stepping back from the spotlight he occupied in Sebadoh, the group fell easily into their old dynamic. "I forgot how much fun it was to play in Dinosaur," recalls Barlow, sounding content for the first time. "Right now I’m kind of enjoying not being up front and not being the centre of the band, or the centre of attention."
Dinosaur may be reliving a former glory, but the group seem to have no grand plans for the road ahead. Unlike the hyped-to-death Pixies re-union, which is rumoured to be possible only via the strict separation of band members offstage, the reunited Dinosaur seem to be in it for a love of the music, for the pleasure of revisiting a unique chemistry that changed the face of modern rock.
"I guess we’ll just keep going as long as people want to hear it, you know?" says Barlow. "I mean, we’re having fun now, and it’s great to play those songs again. People always talk about how the tension between us was what made the band sound the way it did, but when we were making our best music, we got along fine. The tension is gone, and now we’re just enjoying playing together."August 23, 2005 at 5:41 pm #112165
King TubbyParticipant"Coma Girl " wrote:Dinosaur may be reliving a former glory, but the group seem to have no grand plans for the road ahead. Unlike the hyped-to-death Pixies re-union, which is rumoured to be possible only via the strict separation of band members offstage, the reunited Dinosaur seem to be in it for a love of the music, for the pleasure of revisiting a unique chemistry that changed the face of modern rock.
Very nicely put.August 30, 2005 at 6:23 am #112166
another article/interview with Murph from Vancouver…
Dinosaur Jr. returns from extinction
By Michael Kissinger
As far as clichÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s go, rock bands reuniting after years of acrimony for one last top up of their RRSP plans is a biggie. Then again, so is "time heals all wounds." Both of which could apply to the recently resurrected Dinosaur Jr.
Formed in 1984 in the college town of Amherst, Mass. by singer/guitarist J Mascis, bass player Lou Barlow and drummer Patrick Murphy (aka Murph), Dinosaur Jr. was always a band of extremes. With influences ranging from Black Sabbath to Neil Young and Crazy Horse to the Cure, the trio created bright and sludgy indie rock anthems at pulverizing decibels. Though it employed fuzzed-out guitar heroics and maximum riffage that rocked harder than most metal albums, it could be undeniably melodic. Not to mention Mascis’s mumbly, couldn’t-care-less vocal delivery, tempered with a sonic intensity few bands could match.
After releasing its self-titled debut for Homestead Records in 1985, Dinosaur added a Jr. to its name to avoid legal wranglings with another band that shared its fondness for prehistoric reptiles, and jumped ship to venerable punk label SST, releasing 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me and Bug the following year. The three albums and an unrelenting tour schedule all but cemented the band’s icon status in left-of-the-dial music circles, paving the way for more commercially successful distortion-friendly acts-be it a slew of so-called shoe gazer bands in the U.K. or alt-rock lottery winners Nirvana.
But all was not well in the land of Dinosaurs. Lack of communication, passive aggressive tendencies, and the fact that the band’s undersexed members were barely out of their teens made for levels of dysfunction so volatile that onstage fights, screaming matches and month-long silent treatments were commonplace. This would eventually lead to Barlow’s dismissal, though at the time he was told the group was breaking up. Dinosaur Jr. continued for a few more years and albums in various incarnations, always with Mascis at the helm, while Barlow, never one to shy away from publicly or creatively voicing his resentment, formed Sebadoh and later Folk Implosion.
Which is why the prospect of a Dinosaur Jr. reunion, no matter how clichÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ or desirable, has always seemed about as likely as an INXS reality TV series_ wait a second.
Easygoing drummer and all around dude Murph says he was equally skeptical of his former band kissing and making up.
"I was always open to do it, but I think all of us felt it would never happen because it was always such a volatile band," he says from a tour stop in Stockholm, Sweden. "I saw J from time to time, but we were never close. And Lou was kind of doing his own thing, and I saw him play a couple times in L.A. when I was out visiting my sister, but never did we ever think we’d actually play together. It’s been totally surreal."
However, when Merge Records re-released the band’s first three records earlier this year, the reaction was so positive, and the offers to play shows so lucrative, it was hard to ignore.
"J was always planning on reissuing the first three albums, but I don’t think he had really thought of doing a reunion," says Murph. "It was just that the response was so strong and we started getting offers to do some really big festivals and a bunch of shows that it seemed worthwhile. There was also a lot of family intervention, a lot of people saying we should really get together."
Besides a few more pounds, some grey hair, or less of in his case, Murph says the band, strangely enough, is getting along. There have been no fights, no silent treatments, and even a few hugs. "I feel way closer. I feel like we can actually hang out. It’s really cool."
Further fuelling the wagon of love is the fact the band doesn’t have to tour in a cramped van anymore. "Touring in the past was just tortuous. It’s hard enough as it is, but when you don’t get along with people it’s even worse_One time we did a tour in Lou’s station wagon where we were crashing in supermarket parking lots and people’s couches. It was rough. Now we can get a hotel or a bus or whatever we need."
He adds, "Lou has a newborn and we’ve had Lou’s wife and his baby come along, and J’s wife for certain legs of the tour. And one of our techs just recently had a baby. It’s been really cool that way."
For further proof of the well-adjusted ways of Dinosaur Jr. redux, Murph says the band and crew even share babysitting duties on tour. Make that, most of the band. "We all sort of take turns, which is pretty cool because that would have never happened back then-although J’s still pretty skittish with babies. But everyone else is comfortable."
While the revamped Dinosaur Jr. has no plans to record or tour after their current jaunt, which brings them to Vancouver Aug. 22, Murph says he and his bandmates are clearly enjoying themselves and sounding better than ever, as clichÃ¢â‚¬Å¡ as that might sound.
"We’ve just grown up so much," he says happily. "The songs are so strong, and J’s vision_ I hate to say all these clichÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s, but the blood, sweat and tears that we put into the band early on just seems like now we can enjoy it and reap the benefits."
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