May 13, 2003 at 1:47 am #46013
Received this interview from a very cool Australian member of one of our email groups. Good thing, as the interviews will only be up for another day or so..big thanks BP & enjoy the show :aliensmile:
Great interview & pic of J, check the link below & go to interviews for the pic…it’s worth the trouble
Seems someone checked a certain site Interesting spin on the whole fire thing, stuff I haven’t seen before. Gotta love that drummer story, don’t remember the go crazy, do drugs & die bit though I’d say Bob has done a pretty great job with the whole vibe thing with the recordings done in Bob’s Place, fingers crossed he’ll do the same great job in the new studio
by Suzanne Nelson
The Grammy may have gone to Bruce Springsteen but for our money, the best, most cathartic, raw and empowering post-September 11 meltdown album has come from the creative sword of another rock dinosaur. A Dinosaur Jr, in fact. J Mascis, founder, frontman and driving force behind seminal guitar outfit Dinosaur Jr is in Australia on a solo tour to promote his current release and third post-Dinosaur Jr outing, Free So Free.
If Springsteenâ€™s The Rising is the Hollywood-style ode to 9/11, Free So Free could easily be described as the Seattle-style version. A bleeding and tortured yet ultimately optimistic cry from the rooftops, Free So Free is, dare we say it, a better album than anything in Mascisâ€™s Dinosaur Jr back-catalogue (and donâ€™t we love Dinosaur Jr?).
Speaking over the telephone from a friendâ€™s house in his hometown of Massachusetts (in his trademark, slo-mo drawl, of course), Mascis confesses the albumâ€™s optimistic vibe hardly reflects his state of mind at the moment. He recently had his gaul bladder removed and is staying at his friendâ€™s house after his own home was badly damaged in a fire.
Mascis says the blaze began in the chimney. He was asleep at the time and was forced to flee with nothing but the clothes on his back. While his home studio gear was destroyed, he didnâ€™t lose any valuable or unfinished recordings.
"I dunno what happened," he recalled. "Iâ€™d just had the chimney cleaned. I was at home asleep. I still had clothes on but had to get out of there. It was pretty tough. I havenâ€™t bounced back at all, really. Then the war. Itâ€™s kind of like not good news over here. Itâ€™s all bad.
"So Iâ€™ve got a lot of stuff to deal with," he said sounding defeatist. "Iâ€™m not living there [at his house] at the moment. Iâ€™ll be back but I canâ€™t live there now."
This time around, Mascis is touring Australia without his post-Dinosaur band, The Fog. This is solo Mascis – no band, no tour manager and no girlfriend, although fans can still expect the complete fuzzed-up experience.
"Yeah, Iâ€™ll be bringing all my effects boxes," he assured.
Mascis says he didnâ€™t set out to make Free So Free a thematic album. Yet both musically and lyrically, it paints an overall image, as if there had always been a masterplan behind it.
"The songs just come to me," Mascis said of his songwriting. "I look but I donâ€™t always find them. I sit around and play guitar and wait for stuff to hopefully come to me. A lot of times I sing from somebody elseâ€™s point of view, like someone I know their reaction towards me or what I think theyâ€™re thinking about me or just different things.
"Itâ€™s hard for me to say if there is a recurring theme. Iâ€™ve heard the album so many times. But I was in a certain state of mind. I think I was just kind of feeling freaked out that the government is taking the chance after September 11 to go crazy. I felt a lot of freedom was taken away. I was just feeling like the world was closing in."
Does he still feel that way, after making the album?
"More so especially since the war," he groaned. "Thereâ€™s a claustrophobic feeling in America right now. You feel things closing in on you and just want to break free from it all."
The album was recorded in Mascisâ€™s home garage studio before the blaze and the liner notes say it was recorded at Bobâ€™s Place with Bob being Mascisâ€™s seven-year old English bulldog who is also credited as executive producer.
"Heâ€™s responsible for the whole vibe," Mascis stated.
I donâ€™t necessarily make better music at home. I just couldnâ€™t record in studios anymore. I never thought Iâ€™d have a studio at home. Iâ€™d just keep thinking of how much money it costs when I was in the studio. Iâ€™d stare out the window and think, â€˜this is costing me $1,000 to stare out the windowâ€™. It was more out of necessity.
"Itâ€™s automatically more relaxing, but at home years can go by and you canâ€™t get anything done. Even so, Free So Free was over and done in four months."
In an interview posted on his website (<www>), Mascis, who began his musical career as a drummer, says he picked up guitar out of necessity.
"I donâ€™t know if Iâ€™m interested in playing drums live," he said. "It seems too hard and Iâ€™ve seen the toll itâ€™s taken. Drummers usually go crazy and become drugs addicts and die.
"Itâ€™s kind of like boxing," Mascis added. "Drumming just rattles your brain too much. I donâ€™t think itâ€™s good for your health. So, for my own preservation Iâ€™m glad Iâ€™m not playing drums."
Even so, he attributes his trademark guitar sound to his background as a drummer.
"Iâ€™m more interested in the physical experience of the sound," he reasoned, "because, from playing drums and trying to make the guitar more physical, it felt really wimpy when I first started playing guitar. Itâ€™s so undynamic and wimpy compared to drums.
"So to try to satisfy myself, I was just trying different things. Playing loud really helps me to get into it more – itâ€™s feeling the air moving."
Itâ€™s a style Mascis patented in the â€™80s with Dinosaur Jr. In fact, plenty of fans considered Mascis was Dinosaur Jr.
"I guess that was the perception," Mascis mused. "But in my mind it was still a band and then the band broke up and I thought at that point I would change to my own name. Even if people think itâ€™s just me and I was doing everything, it still felt like a band to me back then."
He says he understands if some Dinosaur Jr fans forever prefer his old stuff to his new stuff.
"Thatâ€™s always the way it goes," he laughed. "Iâ€™m guilty of that too. Iâ€™m guilty of saying, â€˜oh, that band sucks nowâ€™. But usually they do."
J Mascis plays the Governor Hindmarsh on Tue May 13. Feel So Free is out now.May 13, 2003 at 4:11 pm #93558
… the more we get to know about the fire damage, the worse it seems to be
but it’s great to see that some journalists check out the Official home of J Mascis & the Fog before doing interviews with J :aliensmile:May 14, 2003 at 12:02 am #93559
Dinosaur_snrParticipantQuote:Free So Free is, dare we say it, a better album than anything in Mascisâ€™s Dinosaur Jr back-catalogue
Equal to maybe, but to ignore all of Dinosaur Jr’s great work just like that!!
(Just my opinion)May 14, 2003 at 2:12 pm #93560
Wondered if anyone would mention that bit
Equal sounds right to me, but hey at least she’s a big fan of the new stuff, gotta love that.
Maybe some cool shows in OZ will help put J in a better frame of mind, he’s definitely had a pile of stuff to deal with…illness, fire, car crash…YIKESMay 14, 2003 at 2:29 pm #93561
I know the phenomenon: The Dino or J record, which I’m listening to is always my current fav (at that moment…) – this works equally with Dino and with J recordsMay 15, 2003 at 3:43 pm #93562
everyonelovesjaronParticipant"Valentine Frankenstein" wrote:Free So Free is, dare we say it, a better album than anything in Mascis’s Dinosaur Jr back-catalogue (and don’t we love Dinosaur Jr?).
I stopped reading here.June 5, 2003 at 1:27 pm #93563
rambleonParticipantQuote:A lot of times I sing from somebody else’s point of view, like someone I know their reaction towards me or what I think they’re thinking about me or just different things.
that’s pretty cool to know … someone around here mentioned that before, but i didn’t think it was true …
and yep … j sounds a bit down in this interview … hopefully things are looking up a bit more for him now …
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