March 11, 2005 at 2:36 pm #47680
*** this is an old interview I am posting in honor of the re-issues ***
Originally printed in Submerge Magazine #4 (1991)
How glad I was that I did’nt hitch to Manchester to see Dinosaur Jr, It rained brontasauri but it was worth going. Dinosaur were on top form and its always better to see bands outside of London. On entering the venue I came face to face with J Mascis who was staring into oblivion. I asked him if I could do and interview. What seemed like a thousand years passed between us, "How long do you want it to be?". I knew if I attempted to interview Mascis it was going to interview Mascis it was going to make me squirm so I made a quick get away and discovered that Murph actually talks quite a lot more than I thought he would.
Why is it that the band Never has much to say in interviews?
Murph: The problem is we haven’t played over here for so long, when we did play here Lou was in the band and we didn’t get along too well, so when you don’t get along and someone asks you a question your not going to go, well let me tell you about it, your all going to go, um ahh um ahh because you’re all really tense. Things are way more relaxed, now we talk.
Do you think that has affected the new material?
Murph: Yes, definately, things have been a lot less tense, its been two or three years since the last lp so you get older and more mellow.
Are you pleased with ‘Green Mind" compared to previous albums?
Murph: I like it a lot. I think its the best in terms of production, everythings very up front. I like that.
What do you think looking back on your old material?
Murph: To tell you the truth I don’t really look back on it. When I try too its really surreal. It’s like looking at pictures of yourself when your little, Hey that kinda was me I guess so you don’t really know what to do. I never listen to Dinosaur when I get home.
What do you listen to?
Murph: I listen to a lot of rock an jazz, I don’t listen to this kind of stuff at all usually (Noisy Guitar Music) because I am so burnt out on it because I hear so much of it on the road, when I go home I want to listen to something old and classic like Free, Led Zapplin or Sabbath. Theres not that weird distinction, that’s the difference between England and America, people in America can listen to Iron Maiden and Suicidal Tendencies or whatever. Its not like here where its really distinct. Your either a metalhead or your not. It’s like two different worlds but for us it’s no big deal.
Do you like getting out on the road?
Murph: Personally it’s more of an obligation. Its also more of an addiction. Its something I really used to hate to do. Its like being force fed. I was forced to do it for so many years now I need to do it. If I was going to stay in Dinosaur I had to go on tour. They would have just got another drummer or broke up the band. At first conditions are real bad, you don’t have any food or money and you don’t have a good place to stay. Traveling long distances is really hell but now we get a proper meal and a place to stay so it’s ok.
Have you been working on any new songs?
Murph: No, we’ve just been touring. J needs four to six months to go home and like digest all this. Maybe look back over all of last years experiences, sit around and think of what might come up next.
What happened with J’s project Upside Down Cross?
Murph: They were just these guys he knew. They needed a drummer, J was into their stuff. They used to be called Killslug and we played a few shows with them.
(OOPS…TAPE RECORDER BODGE UP TIME!!!)
Dinosaurs new bass player who I neglected, got up and wandered off…Oops, sorry.
Murph: We did’nt have a bass player (All you had to do was ask Murph-ED) we were always looking for a permanent member for touring. We went through people who one time we liked but they were in a band already. Van Conner was in Screaming Trees so could only do it for a little while then he went back to them.
Whats the fanzine scene like in USA and do you do many zine interviews?
Murph: No, not really, in USA fanzines are mainly Hardcore. They’re really small, put out two issues and die. gThey mainly want to focus on Punk and Hardcore. I don’t think most people think we’re Hardcore. We’re more like the older generation of Hardcore. New generations of bands are still coming out that are like, still thrash and thats more what the fanzines are all about.
What do you think of the Hardcore scene?
Murph: It’s dead. I was into it at the time.
Dinosaur Bass man comes back.
Have you played in any other bands before Dinosaur?
Mike: Punk rock bands that were similar, I played guitar in a band called Snakepit.
Have you any projects on the side?
Murph: No, when I go home I don’t do any music at all.
What do you do then?
Murph: I’ve just bought a motorcycle in the Summer. I’ve just been riding around all Summer. I also do a load of outdoor shit, skiing, hiking and things like that becausing touring is such a damaging experience, you really need to go back… its so unnatural, theres nothing in the world thats as unnatural as touring. Beoing in the Army would be close to it. Like Boot camp for six weeks, it’s nice to go home to get your life back together.
Is there anything about touring you like?
Murph: It’s a 50 50 deal. There’s as many things you like as dislike. Neither one takes over the other. Personally I would like to be in a band that focus mainly on records and play a few gigs a year, fly out and do four shows in England, Don’t play for six months and then maybe do five or six major cities in the States like the Residents. They only play every few years, nobody really knows who they are,. They’re really a mysterious thing. To me that would be a very good thing because you life would be totally separate from the band because rock. If you try to make it your whole life it can just consume you so fast so you really need to make a distince separation.
Do you pick much up on tour, like the cows and frogs that you have on stage?
Murph: Those we got because we did a USA tour two months ago. Right before that we did five shows with Janes Addiction in L.A. We were playing in front of 6000 people a night. It was huge, like major but the thing was we got there and their stage was like filled with shrines, candles, buddas, dolls, just lie packed to the gills and here we were with nothing so we thought we better go get some stage props so we came up with frogs and cows after that.
How did the Rummager and Don Fleming (Gumball) get involved with Green Mind?
Murph: They were going to be in the band. We were going to have two drummers, bass and two guitarists but it did’nt work out. They’re such a unit themselves, they’ve always worked together and J and I have always worked together. Combining the two sounds would’nt have meshed. They have their own sound and we have ours. Gumball are so different from Dinosaur and also J is really just a dictator. He has his songs and only wants to work with someone who wants to do stuff his way. He has definate ways he wants to do things. He only works with people who are willing to do that. Gumball did to a point but they have their songs and their ways, so they’re not going to say, Oh we will forget our ideas and do what ever you want to do. After a while it becomes apparent that either one wants to forfeit their ideas to the other so we keep things separate.
If you have an idea, how does it go down? Do you have a say?
Murph: I do in a way but not much for me, I’ll probably at some point start my own band and do my own things. Do a whole seperate thing. The stuff I’m into would be totally different. It would’nt be like Dinosaur at all.
Would you prefer to do something more mellow?
Murph: Yeah, I would because I listen to stuff like….
Murph: You see, its weird I love playing this. I love being in the band a playing it but I don’t listen to the records, and when I put one on I don’t get off on it. I listen to it think yeah this is kind of cool, as a drummer I’m definately into drummers and drum albums. The Rummager and I had this concept that we were going to do this percussion album, stupid stuff like that I’d like to do for the sake of doing it. To fulfill my own fantasies and Dinosaur is not that kind of thing.
Do you think you are out growing doing this kind of music (Noisey Guitar)?
Murph: Yeah, sure I’ve been doing this for a while now and maybe in a few years time I’ll try something different.
Do you make a living from the band or do you have other jobs?
Murph: I make a living but its just enough to pay the bills. I really can’t save alot. I’ve done kitchen work, cleaned pools for the summer, all kinds of weird stuff in the past.
How do you feel about all these bands coming up that are influenced by Dinosaur?
Murph: It surprises me and more that that we don’t really see the influence. With the English bands like Swervedriver and Teenage Fan Club I see My Bloody Valentine as more of an influence than us. Especially Ride, I just thought it was so My Bloody Valentine. They’ve been around so long now and they were the first ones to start a new style of music and like all these people kind of followed. I just don’t see the Dinosaur connection.
Are you pleased that people are influenced by the band?
Murph: I don’t feel pleased, I feel kind of weird about it. I feel like..man If your going to look to bands as mentors then go back to Zepplin and Sabbath. To us those are the Ultimate Bands. We’re total Zepplin heads. J was a drummer before he became a guitarist and like John Bonham was his main man.
Did you get any influences from the punk scene?
Murph: Oh yeah, Junior High we were into Zepplin and High School we were into punk rock and J was into a lot of Oi music. It was weird he was heavily into skinhead Oi music. I don’t think he really knew…I think he knew it was Oi and he knew it was violent on certain terms. He had never been to England so he never really knew the full focus of the music, where as now when we come here its like wow Oi music. It means something totally different here than it does to us. In America you always grow up listening to stuff on the radio like Hendrix, Pink Floyd and Zepplin. I had two older sisters, I went through their records it was all just like total sixties and seventies music. Pretty much hippy music. That was all just like my main influences, that’s the same with J.
Who was the first band you went to see?
One of my first concerts was Crosby, Stills and Nash in Madison Square Gardens in New York. I was like twelve. See it’s different for J, he grew up in Massachusetts and I grew up in Connecticut which is right next to New York city so I grew up and saw all the really huge bands like The Grateful Dead, Rush and the Almond Brothers. I saw all the stadium rock concerts. Those guys in small towns did’nt get to see a lot of that stuff til later.March 12, 2005 at 10:45 am #107690
Great interview, thanks for putting that upMarch 13, 2005 at 1:49 pm #107691
yeah … thanks … i can’t ever recall reading so much Murph had to sayMarch 14, 2005 at 8:00 am #107692
Murph likes jazz
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