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    Found a bunch off odd little bits on our hero…

    autocratic what

    J Mascis
    Double Door, Chicago
    Thursday, April 18, 2002

    By Steve Forstneger
    Associate Editor

    It seems eons ago since J Mascis was popular, much less important. One of the unlikeliest of success stories out of the late-’80s American underground, Mascis fronted Dinosaur Jr. up the hill and backwards back down it. To his credit, he still tours, he is a prolific songwriter, and plays an inspired guitar, but standing in front of him at the Double Door can only cull thoughts of "why it isn’t the floor of the United Center?" — if things had only gone differently.

    Michael Azzerad’s recent book, Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991, perhaps details uncomfortably the history of Mascis and the defunct Dinosaur, and why he never reached the apex. A sequence of successful albums led to a major label deal and the boiling over of 1993’s Where You Been (Warner Bros.), but Mascis’ amazing guitar work — he’s generally credited with making it O.K. to play guitar solos in alt-rock — couldn’t save his autocratic attitude, the messy falling out with ex-bassist/future Sebadoh frontman Lou Barlow, and a hesitation within the industry. The end of the Dinosaur Jr. chapter contains a recent quote from Barlow, suggesting that if Mascis had only not thought about it and just went with it, they would have had more than mere footnote status.

    Mascis’ latest album, More Light (Ultimatum), was released in 2000, but oddly enough, what was the latest thing to come out with his name on it? Ear-Bleeding Country: The Best of Dinosaur Jr. (Rhino).

    Definitely has more than footnote status with me, Allison

    J Mascis & The Frog

    J Mascis + The Frog
    The end finally came in 1997. 14 years after they’d first emerged from the backwoods of Amherst, Mass., blasting out a new blueprint for underground rock, Dinosaur Jr were shut down by their own laconic frontman J Mascis. Hand It Over, Dinosaur Jr’s last LP (and seventh in-studio recording), might have been a blistering re-affirmation of just why they’d had such a shattering impact on the preceding decade. However, in the words of Mascis himself, the band had "just kinda run its course."
    By then, of course, Dinosaur Jr had already turned Mascis into an iconic figure. His uncompromising manifesto of brute volume and snaking guitar histrionics had already revolutionized the musical landscape of the early 90’s. It was Mascis who introduced the U.S. hardcore scene to guitar solos, and it was Mascis who, alongside The Pixies, laid the foundations from which grunge was later to blossom.

    Along the way, Mascis became an unlikely figure of hero worship. Sonic Youth legendarily immortalized him on their 1988 hit single "Teen Age Riot," while four years later, he was co-opted by British noisemakers when he was invited on the Rollercoaster Tour (1992) with The Jesus & Mary Chain, Blur and My Bloody Valentine. Even now, his influence is still discernible in the wired fuzz of countless imitators.

    tortured extremes

    October 26–November 2, 2000

    disc quicks|rock/pop

    J. Mascis + The Fog
    More Light


    Meat Puppets
    Golden Lies


    In the mid-1990s, the Meat Puppets and J. Mascis’ Dinosaur Jr. took classic rock guitar vocabulary to tortured-but-beautiful extremes. Both acts hit paydirt in the Nirvana-triggered alt-rock gold rush, only to hit the bargain bin shortly after its Cobain-triggered decline. In 1997 Mascis quietly released his final album with the Amherst-based trio he had been with since 1984; the Phoenix-based Meat Puppets, together since 1980, did the same two years earlier. Both artists have new albums out now, should we care?

    About two years ago a strange fascination with Blue Cheer, Grand Funk Railroad and "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida"-style guitar indulgence resurfaced in the form of stoner rock bands like the Hellacopters and Fu Manchu. On J. Mascis + The Fog’s More Light (really a solo effort with a fancy name) the oldies-but-loudies influences are ever present. Before each verse of "Same Day" he sneaks in the strangled guitar intro of Alice Cooper’s "Under My Wheels." "Back Before You Go" captures the raunchy strut of Kiss hits like "Christine Sixteen" and "Shock Me." And like most Mascis biggies — the Hendrix-flavored "Start Choppin" from 1993’s Where You Been comes to mind — he reinvigorates war-horse riffs by sinking them in great pop songs. But it was always great songs with Mascis, never great albums, so it’s no surprise when the disc unravels into anonymity.

    Yet Golden Lies (another solo-ish outing as head Puppet Curt Kirkwood has replaced the original members with a pick-up band) is much more of a letdown. "Take Off Your Clothes" is a sad bid for rap-metal relevancy, complete with pass-the-mic vocals. "Hercules" features on-the-beat rhymes and "funky" guitar and bass work. At their best here, The Pups sound obsolete; "I Quit," "Endless Wave" and "You Love Me" sparkle with chimey guitars, rustic acoustic guitar work and big, outdated alt-rock choruses. And though a second home in the alt-country scene is a possibility, it’s a stretch neo honky-tonkers will know what to make of lyrics like "I believe in the rotten rope/I believe in the cantaloupe" ("I Quit").

    —Lorne Behrman

    Gotta love the Mascis/Meatpuppets combo, Allison

    J, Watt & Ron

    cool pics, don’t think I’ve seen them here b4




    Hmmm the Alice Cooper thing in Sameday was news to me, but I see what he means.



    Thanks Allison for the find. <img>

    I’ll have to get back later with my thoughts on what I really think about the Cooper/Kiss thing. <img> Nice black n white of the guys at the Wetlands in NYC. Be sure to take a look. <img>

    Later, Chris



    Thanks for the links VF <img>
    Are the Hellacopters really into Grand Funk Railroad? <img>



    </font><blockquote><font>quote:</font><hr><font> But it was always great songs with Mascis, never great albums, so it’s no surprise when the disc unravels into anonymity.
    </font><hr></blockquote><font>WTF?? *shakes head* The language of journalists baffles me. It’s like a competition, to see who can come up with the most cleverly-worded, obscure, questionably-based insults. How can an album be full of great songs but not be great?

    On an up note, the pictures on that last site are beautiful.


    <small>[ 06-26-2002, 10:02 PM: Message edited by: rosa ]</small>



    It’s funny that the critic compares Back Before You Go to KISS. That was the first thing my dad said when he heard that song. I’ve read that J thought that Ace was the coolest member of KISS, and the Ace doll is prominently displayed on the Green Mind album.
    Critics suck. Someone posted on this site the other day that members of this message board could write reviews as well as most journalists. I agree with that post completely.



    Critics confuse me too,yesterday I was reading a review on and they gave this one album 4 stars but said it was unfulfilling <img> why did they give it 4 stars then? <img> should`nt 2 star albums be unfulfilling? <img>



    Tom I agree completely with your dad <img> , definitely feel BBYG is a Kiss inspired song. Still don’t get that Same Day/Under My Wheels deal, love UMY by Alice Cooper but <img> I agree with you and Halfman on the fan based reviews/interviews etc being far superior than most anonymous journalists <img> Kinda fun to diss these so called journalists though…they make it so easy <img>

    I think J is being held against his will in this pic… gitaur god <img>


    <small>[ 06-27-2002, 09:02 AM: Message edited by: Valentine Frankenstein ]</small>



    Found some pretty pleasing J pics from Spain 2002…

    two dead stars gallery

    Allison <img>

    <small>[ 07-05-2002, 09:00 AM: Message edited by: Valentine Frankenstein ]</small>



    Cool photos of J. I think you are correct he is being held hostage in the one photo. <img> The photos of J in Spain are really good. <img>
    Nice find Allison you amaze me with your great stuff of J. Later, Chris


    Bucky Ramone

    Found this couple of slightly older reviews:

    J. /Watt/Asheton/Berz @ Tower Records, Austin TX 3/16/2001

    J. & the Fog @ the Mercury 11/21/2000

    ….don’t know if they have been posted before, did some searching, couldn’t find them….




    Thanks for that DB <img>

    Found something pretty old myself…but pleasing <img>

    Hellride East @ Brownies May 30, 2000

    Can’t keep a good man down! Imagine playing bass for the better part of your life and suddenly–kerpow!–find yourself laid up due to a medical problem, unable to play your bass ( which is your livelihood), much less garner the strenth to lift the damn thing for two months. If you’re Mike Watt-member of the seminal 80’s punk band the Minutemen and alternative groundbreakers Firehose-a stroll thru Hell juggling showballs would seem like a walk in the park. Here’s a guy whos been doing it from the heart, econo-style,for the past 20 years, bustin’ musical tires and blazing a trail on his own two feet, and suddenly he’s stopped dead in his tracks and told to twiddle his thumbs and ponder life for a couple weeks–and I mean long–weeks. To say this short duty was anything but the most difficult gig of his life would be an understatement, it not downright insulting.

    So this being one of the first gigs from the King of The Low End Swing has played since regaining his health from this misfortunate medical emergency (like there are fortunate one?), the crowd are Brownie’s in New York’s East Village was brimming with impatience; anxious to see for themselves that our four-string workingman’s hero was indeed alive and well–and full of piss and vinegar to boot!

    Watt took the stage with J Mascis (yes THAT J Mascis) and Murph on drums (yes That Murph). As the crowd volleyed questions of, "How ya feeling Watt" up to the stage, Watt smiled demurely and just shook his head, letting his bass do the talking, And thats the way it’s always been.

    The premise:Stooges covers via the channeling of Coltrane juju.

    The Result: Loud, noisy, sweaty bliss! I had to chuckle watching Watt belt out the lyrics to "I Want To Be Your Dog"trying earnestly to pull off his sexy-best Iggy Pop. Took a lot of imagination for that, but fortunately the musical end of the get- together held just find–damn fine, as it were. Watt and Co. roared thru The Stooges’ cataloge: Watt riding his bass, bobbing side-to-side like he was walking a line on a ship in the throes of a storm; Mascis throwing out dyslexic fits of distortion (nice to see he hasn’t lost that sonic death touch!); Murph furiously pounding the skins like the gorilla in the old samsonite commercials. Absolutely sensational!

    Watt would tell me some days later during an interview (hey, stick around and read it in the august issue) that it was the first time Mascis and Murph played together since Dinosaur Jr.; that his knees were shaking the whole time; that no one could hear a damn thing; that he had no idea who the sax player was who sat in on the 1st song (we conveniently decided to leave his out of this review); and that Mascis was completely scared shitless <img> Couldn’t tell, couldn’t care less. The enrgy was there, and seeing Watt back in the saddle with his boomstick alongside Mascis and Murph…Hell, they could’ve stood there tuning their instruments for the whole set and we would’ve gone home happy. Glad to see you workin’ the voodoo again, Watt! Can’t keep a good man down…

    -Craig Young

    the Mike Watt interview… here
    Have seen it here b4 but thought the article was so cool its worth posting twice <img>

    Allison <img>

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