Home Forums Dinosaur Related Discussions Dinosaur/J News & Discussions J Mascis Interview on chartattack.com, 23 February 2001

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    Was looking for some UK Live Reviews, nothing yet
    But found this interview with pic: http://www.chartattack.com/damn/2001/02/2304.cfm



    J Mascis: Last Of The Alternative Nation

    Friday February 23, 2001 @ 10:00 AM
    By: ChartAttack.com Staff

    by James Hayashi-Tennant

    A "guitar hero," at least in the popular sense, is a Jimi Hendrix; perhaps a Jimmy Page; perhaps a technical wizard adored by legions of long-haired young men in studded wristbands who stand in awe at frenetic finger work on chromatic scales.

    J Mascis, obviously, is no "guitar hero" — not in that sense. In his own way, however, he has become a guitar hero of sorts, and an enduring one — at least to the aging alterno crowd. With his seminal band Dinosaur Jr., Mascis brought feedback, roar and swirl back from Crazy Horse’s domain; he played guitar solos, but with a punk rock attitude in place of classic rock bravado. In the mid-’80s, Dinosaur Jr. shaped the state of underground music like so much plastique, and eventually, it was Nirvana who sparked the detonation. Dinosaur Jr. was the sort of group that influenced everyone, even if no one really sounded like them.

    J Mascis

    No one could have sounded like Dino, even if they tried, because no one else writes songs the way J Mascis does. While his crackle and fuzz caught your attention, it was the tone, the way the melodies sank and settled inside you, that made the songs linger long after the amp tubes blew. Mascis combined melody and aching melancholy as well as any of his peers; the melodies were never cheery, but nor were they gloomy. When Mascis covered The Cure’s "Just Like Heaven," it only made musical sense.

    "I think my songs just come out that way," says Mascis, when asked if he intentionally shies away from big shiny tunes. "That’s the kind of music I like, too. I’m not a big fan of, like, happy music."

    Neither are some of his friends — specifically those who helped Mascis on his latest album, although they, too, possess an ability to create melody without making pop. More Light, Mascis’ recent solo record, features an appearance by Bob Pollard (Guided By Voices) and was co-produced at Mascis’ home by Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine). Mascis met Shields back when both were creating their own versions of noisy glory on opposite shores of the Atlantic.

    While some would be quick to say Mascis was lucky to record with the reclusive, legendary Shields, it should be pointed out that Shields had the privilege of participating in Mascis’ return to tumultuous form. More Light isn’t much different than Mascis’ previous work with Dinosaur Jr., but somehow he breathes new life into the ruckus with his best material in years. Perhaps the new songs were informed by Mascis’ recent acoustic work (including soundtrack work for filmmaker Alison Anders), though Mascis partially credits the fact that he wrote some of the songs on less familiar instruments.

    "I wrote some of the songs on the keyboard," says Mascis. "When you do that, you can be bit more open to whatever happens."

    Whatever the reason, the media have almost unanimously praised More Light — those that bothered to review it. Since the groundswell of grunge receded, "alternative" has no longer been the A&R meal-ticket-cum-hobby-horse. The media were bound to treat Mascis differently.

    "Yeah," he says. "They’re not interested."

    With that, he laughs. It doesn’t sound sarcastic or as if he’s masking bitterness. It sounds as if he’s laughing because, well, it’s funny. J Mascis is not prone to analyzing his career or brooding over it. He is also not particularly enamored of the press. He keeps his answers compact and precise, like a guy who’d rather be working on the next record. This, of course, has always been his reputation; one can imagine how his record label, circa Dinosaur Jr.’s rise, must have wished he were more soundbite savvy. The record company could have "suggested" Mascis work on his media friendliness, but it probably wouldn’t have done much good.

    "I never understood, you know, people who said, ‘Oh, the record company makes you do this and that,’" he says. "I don’t know. If you don’t let them, it doesn’t happen, you know?"

    Which means that Mascis does it all for himself, including touring with his "band" The Fog. The Fog were never truly a band to begin with, but for the purpose of touring he has recruited some friends and acquaintances, including bassist Mike Watt (whom Mascis knows from Minutemen gigs and, eventually, producing fIREHOSE). He sounds pleased with the line-up and pleased with his career status, even though he lacks the requisite rock star need to prattle on about it. When asked if he ever thinks about the longevity of J Mascis songs — how people will look back on his career decades from now — his answer is simple.


    And again, he laughs — a laugh that says more than some musicians could say in two paragraphs.



    Very Cool post Bezzle.

    Thanks for sharing.



    Jam on it—Nucleus

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