August 19, 2005 at 7:57 am #48363
…think Murph has that cardio deal worked out now…
J. Mascis: WhateverÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s virtually unmoved concerning the reunion of his legendary band, Dinosaur Jr., and the re-release of their first three albums.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pretty weird,Ã¢â‚¬? Mascis comments while awaiting the start of former Dinosaur Jr. bassist Mike JohnsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s set at New YorkÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Irving Plaza. It must be; Mascis, original bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 bandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gettinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ back together.
Barlow and Murph had long been ready to rock; Mascis was the admitted holdout. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I guess I was the least game,Ã¢â‚¬? he deadpans. Ã¢â‚¬Å“I had to be convinced the most.Ã¢â‚¬? 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, YouÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re Living All Over Me and Bug this year, Mascis Ã¢â‚¬Å“just decided to give it a try.Ã¢â‚¬?
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.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“MurphÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s runninÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ out of steam sometimes,Ã¢â‚¬? Mascis dishes, saying it is as he feared: The drummer is Ã¢â‚¬Å“unpredictableÃ¢â‚¬? and has to Ã¢â‚¬Å“take a few breaksÃ¢â‚¬? during sets. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s enough, Mascis says, that set length depends on MurphÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s condition. Ã¢â‚¬Å“HeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s gotta get some cardiovascular thing goinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢,Ã¢â‚¬? Mascis jokes.
Despite this difficulty, the first reunion show, on April 16 at HollywoodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Spaceland, went Ã¢â‚¬Å“pretty good.Ã¢â‚¬? Despite that, Mascis says heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s still Ã¢â‚¬Å“not quite convincedÃ¢â‚¬? 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 canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t, really. They have to take a different approach.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Most of [Dinosaur Jr.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s] nostalgia would be bad memories of not getting along,Ã¢â‚¬? says Mascis. Ã¢â‚¬Å“So [the reunion experience has been] better than most memories I have of when we were together.Ã¢â‚¬? In a nutshell, Murph, Lou and J. are writing decent memories over bad ones.
For now, thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s all theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re writing together. As to the burning question of whether Dinosaur Jr.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s reconciliation may extend beyond the summer tour, Mascis says, Ã¢â‚¬Å“It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem like that right now. Of course, you never know.Ã¢â‚¬?
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