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    …think Murph has that cardio deal worked out now… ;)

    J. Mascis: Whatever’s Cool With Him

    By Randy Harward

    J. Mascis has a cell phone. Why this laconic indie rocker, with less to say than a monk, packs a device designed for unrepentant chatterboxes is fascinating irony. So too, is the fact that he’s virtually unmoved concerning the reunion of his legendary band, Dinosaur Jr., and the re-release of their first three albums.

    “It’s pretty weird,� Mascis comments while awaiting the start of former Dinosaur Jr. bassist Mike Johnson’s set at New York’s Irving Plaza. It must be; Mascis, original bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph haven’t played together in 15 years, and their final years were marred by bitterness, silent bus rides and summary evictions. Thus a Dinosaur Jr. reunion was previously thought to be a never-gonna-happen kind of thing. But people change and albums get reissued-next thing you know, the band’s gettin’ back together.

    Barlow and Murph had long been ready to rock; Mascis was the admitted holdout. “I guess I was the least game,� he deadpans. “I had to be convinced the most.� His reasons ranged from being content with his new band, the Fog, to concern that Murph might lack the juice to get through a whole set. But when Merge Records decided to reissue Dinosaur, You’re Living All Over Me and Bug this year, Mascis “just decided to give it a try.�

    So Dinosaur Jr. reconvened earlier this year to rehearse for a series of shows, including a European jaunt this June and an East Coast run in July. Mascis says it has been mostly like riding a bike-the songs came second-nature, and they even have most of the same gear from back in the day. The only hiccup has been Murph.

    “Murph’s runnin’ out of steam sometimes,� Mascis dishes, saying it is as he feared: The drummer is “unpredictable� and has to “take a few breaks� during sets. It’s enough, Mascis says, that set length depends on Murph’s condition. “He’s gotta get some cardiovascular thing goin’,� Mascis jokes.

    Despite this difficulty, the first reunion show, on April 16 at Hollywood’s Spaceland, went “pretty good.� Despite that, Mascis says he’s still “not quite convinced� the reunion is such a great idea, although there seems to be one thing about the experience that interests him: nostalgia. But how does a band with so much baggage fondly reminisce? Well, they can’t, really. They have to take a different approach.

    “Most of [Dinosaur Jr.’s] nostalgia would be bad memories of not getting along,� says Mascis. “So [the reunion experience has been] better than most memories I have of when we were together.� In a nutshell, Murph, Lou and J. are writing decent memories over bad ones.

    For now, that’s all they’re writing together. As to the burning question of whether Dinosaur Jr.’s reconciliation may extend beyond the summer tour, Mascis says, “It doesn’t seem like that right now. Of course, you never know.�

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