June 14, 2005 at 3:07 pm #48035
Cool little retrospective deal, right near the end it mentions something about a certain band booking shows in OZ for later this year…
DINOSAUR JR RETROSPECTIVE
With deafening effect, American trio, Dinosaur Jr, took the template of long hair and screeching guitar solos out of the 80Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s underground and into the pages of rock folklore. Now, two decades after their self-titled debut album sparked a musical mini-revolution, the band is back, re-issued and reformed for 2005. Steve Tauschke examines their legacy.
If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re searching for the missing link between Neil YoungÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 70Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s proto-grunge and the Seattle rock phenomenon that crashed ashore in the early 90Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s then look no further than Dinosaur Jr, college rock heroes and grunge precursor. Without them, Nirvana and co may well have never existed.
Hailing from the small east coast town of Amherst, Massachusetts, the power trio Ã¢â‚¬â€œ guitarist / vocalist J Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Pat Murphy (a.k.a. Murph) – were a pivotal force in helping shape the blueprint for indie-rock in the 1990Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s. Think Buffalo Tom, Mudhoney, Smashing Pumpkins, et al. Today, the group is still worshipped as part of a holy trinity of pioneering 80Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s guitar bands along with Sonic Youth and Husker Du.
The groups first three albums on the Homestead and SST labels; Dinosaur (1985 Ã¢â‚¬â€œ back when the band was called Dinosaur), YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re Living All Over Me (1987) and their watershed, Bug (1988), were explorations into a noise-rock aesthetic equaled at the time by perhaps only the Pixies. How such grotesquely distorted guitars and tuneless drawling could sound so good remains part their charm. On the back of the 1989 college radio hit Freak Scene and tongue-in-cheek covers of the CureÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Just Like Heaven and Peter FramptonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Show Me The Way, the band embarked on their Bug world tour which finally brought them to Australia for the first time in October of that year.
From all accounts, interviewing the monosyllabic Mascis to promote the shows was akin to pulling teeth, unless of course the conversation turned to golf and aliens, his favourite subjects. He was, after all, so laconic and laidback he couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even be bothered using a first name. But on the eve of the bandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Melbourne visit I spoke with affable drummer Murph, who offered an insight into the working of the group including MascisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ unique songwriting.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He usually writes all the songs on electric guitar – but not plugged in,Ã¢â‚¬? said the drummer at the time, over the phone from New York. Ã¢â‚¬Å“He has all the music going through his head and we put the drum tracks down first and then layer everything else on top, with the vocals coming last.Ã¢â‚¬?
Dinosaur Jr was certainly plugged in and firing on all cylinders during their Australian visit 15 years ago. One of their most memorable performances was at GeelongÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Barwon Club where MascisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ temperamental Stratocaster reached a level of such pure, crushing volume, as to impair, at least temporarily, the hearing of several audience members, including yours truly. Even bone-crunching local support band, Bored, were aghast at the Richter scale sound. MascisÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ guitar overdrive remains the stuff of rock legend.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“I think he feels itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s his calling in life to play music,Ã¢â‚¬? offered Murph.
Despite the accolades they were receiving in the underground, internal tension saw the bands bassist dumped shortly after this tour. In a classic rock n roll move, Mascis told Barlow that the group was breaking up; the following day, he "re-formed" Dinosaur Jr., this time without Barlow – who went on to form Sebadoh.
The turn of the decade saw Dinosaur Jr signed to Sire Records and they released a number of albums over the next few years including the excellent Green Mind (1991) and Where You Been (1993) – Nirvana actually played the supporting slot on the groups Green Mind tour. However, by 1995, with the departure of Murph, Dinosaur Jr were for all intents and purposes over. While Mascis would continue to record and release albums; both as Dinosaur Jr and J Mascis and The Fog, the original lineup that had redefined indie-rock had gone their separate ways.
In celebration of the bandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s enduring legacy, US label Merge (through Shiny Records in Australia) has re-issued the trioÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s first three seminal records on CD. All three albums have been re-mastered and feature original artwork together with liner notes by music journo Byron Coley, a rare live bonus track and even rarer videos for No Bones and Little Fury Things. The original lineup performed before a US national television audience (on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson) in April and a US tour is slated for July with a visit down under penciled in for later in the year.
These shows will be essential for any genuine guitar-rock geek. But please, remember the ear plugs!
Dinosaur, YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re Living All Over Me and Bug are re-issued on May 9 through Shiny Records.June 14, 2005 at 6:40 pm #110208
Surely an interesting read, but seeing a George/Mike/J pic within the context of a reunion article always makes me angry …June 14, 2005 at 6:52 pm #110209
I’m so goddamn tired of seeing this lazy repetition of Dino being "over" after Where You Been (if these morons even give J that much credit). Anyone who bothered seeing the shows throughout ’97, and bothered listening to the last two albums, would know that that’s a crock of shit. It reminds me of the staggeringly lazy "journalism" that still perpetuates the myth that the Sex Pistols "couldn’t play." Fucking nonsense. Just listen to the goddamn music, eh?June 14, 2005 at 11:46 pm #110210
yeah i dunno if i ever read an article written by someone who gave hand it over a fair chance. i fucking LOVE the first three albums..i LOVE them.. but like.. theres 15+ years of amazing work after that too that needs to be paid attention to and given credit as well.
i cant fucking wait to see j, lou and murph though.. its gonna be the greatest thing ever to happen ever.June 15, 2005 at 4:31 am #110211
hand it over rocks… i dont think, cant we move this, gotta know… killer stuff.June 15, 2005 at 9:43 am #110212
SGParticipant"Jon" wrote:hand it over rocks… i dont think, cant we move this, gotta know… killer stuff.
Don`t forget AloooooonnnnnnnnnnnnneJune 15, 2005 at 12:28 pm #110213
rambleonParticipantQuote:with a visit down under penciled in for later in the year.
well, murph said they were booked thru to 2006, so i guess this is part of what he’s talking about …
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