July 15, 2005 at 4:27 am #48189
Dinosaur Jr. shows passion isn’t extinct
By Linda Laban
Friday, July 15, 2005
“I just thought he hated me,” Dinosaur Jr.’s Lou Barlow said.
The Massachusetts musician is talking about the infamous bad blood between himself andbandmate J. Mascis, which spoiled his tenure in theproto-alternative rock band started in Amherst. Nevertheless, this spring the band reunited for a tour that stops at Avalon in Boston tonight.
Though band reunions are commonplace,this one has fans and critics salivating. Spin magazine’s recent poll of the Top 100 Albums 1985-2005 placed Dinosaur Jr.’s “You’re Living All Over Me” at No. 31, ahead of the Pixies’ “Doolittle” and Pearl Jam’s “Ten.”
Barlow was part of the band’s original lineup, playing bass and singing alongside singer-guitarist Mascis and drummer Murph. He and Mascis met in the hardcore band Deep Wound, before Mascis left to formDinosaur Jr., which created three groundbreaking late-’80s works: “Dinosaur,” “You’re Living All Over Me” and “Bug,” all of which were reissued in March on Merge Records.
Following “Bug,” Barlow got axed.
“It’s not like anything weird developed,” he said. “Even in the hardcore band I just never thought (Mascis) liked me. I was even surprised that he called me and asked me to play bass in Dinosaur. It was like, `Why is he calling me? I thought he hated me.’ But, I was like, `OK, whatever.’ ”
The bad feeling was not really mutual.
“I thought (Mascis) was funny and, musically, extremely developed,” Barlow said. “As far as I was concerned, he was a prodigy and had great ideas.”
Mascis took the Dinosaur Jr. name into the ’90s, recording for Sire/Warner Bros. before forming his recent band the Fog. Barlow went on to find considerable acclaim with Sebadoh and Folk Implosion.
He believes his uncomfortable relationship with Mascis was cathartic and spurred his development as an artist.
“All the repressed feelings from being with someone who hated me,” he said, “proved to be the catalyst for a creative, not even a rebirth, but for a birth for me. Because I was in the presence of such a talented person for so long, I had a good idea of how songs are put together. I really took a lot from him creatively.”
These days Barlow lives in Los Angeles. Mascis still lives near Amherst. Murph, according to Barlow, just drifts around. Though he says new Dinosaur Jr. songs are unlikely at this point, the reunion – and just plain hanging out together again – is proving a positive experience for all.
“To snap back into these Dinosaur songs, it feels timeless,” Barlow said. “Besides being great songs, we played with so much force and conviction. It doesn’t feel like something we used to do, it feels like something we need to do right now.”
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