February 23, 2006 at 10:11 am #48789
Lou Barlow at the I-94 Bar
At the time Dinosaur Jnr was starting out what was your perception of the prevailing music scene?
J and I hooked up when we were in a hardcore bound called Deep Wound. And then in 1984 the hardcore scene started splintering, and then J went to college, and we started listening to other bands like The Birthday Party. We were always into different music but things became more so â€˜cause we started focusing less on hardcore. J became really obsessed with The Birthday Party and Nick Cave and I was really into Sonic Youth â€“ this is 1983 or 1984 â€“ Big Black, Killdozer â€“ there was always a lot of aggressive music going on.
How important was the support of Sonic Youth to the band in its early days?
With Sonic Youth it was a big deal. Weâ€™d only put out one record, and they were our favourite band. They took us on tour, a two week tour, after weâ€™d put out our first record. It was a huge deal, yeah.
The three recently re-issued albums demonstrate a progression in the bandâ€™s sound from the very raw and untamed sound on the first album to a slightly more polished (albeit still rough) feel on Bug â€“ do you have a personal favourite of those albums?
The second one, definitely. Youâ€™re Living All Over Me.
Whose decision was it to do the Peter Frampton cover, Show Me the Way?
It wasnâ€™t on the original record, it was on the B-side of a single. It was Jâ€™s decision to cover Show Me the Way.
Great art is often underpinned by human dysfunction â€“ personal and inter-personal â€“ do you think the inter-personal problems in Dinosaur Jnr contributed to the quality of the bandâ€™s music?
I dunno. My favourite record of ours was when we were getting along. I think it kind of makes a good story â€“ â€˜hey, they hate each other and itâ€™s all channelled into this incredible ball of sound. But the other side of it is that we really loved aggressive music and J happened to be writing really amazing songs and when he presented his songs to me he gave me something I could really bite into, that I really understood. So I could bring all the aggression and anger that I didnâ€™t feel I could pore into J. I wanted to make music that was aggressive â€˜cause that I really loved.
So the one record that I really think is the really great one is where we were getting along, and Bug was when everything had really fallen apart so itâ€™s not really my favourite â€“ although the songs are really great. But I donâ€™t hear the same fusion of sound. I dunno, itâ€™s just one of those things; people just love saying shit like that. To make the really great music we made we had to come together and have an understanding, and make that music, and we did. I was part of the creative process on Youâ€™re Living All Over Me and I think the communication we had at that time made a great record and we didnâ€™t have that communication it suffered.
Whatâ€™s your least favourite memory of your time with Dinosaur Jr the first time around?
There was a show where we switched up our set list. We usually played our slowest song at the beginning at the set, but for some reason we played our slowest song in the middle of the set, and I didnâ€™t really carry through with it, I just kind of starting making feedback and at the end of the song J attacked me. That was pretty negative. But we were never a band that congratulated itself, and we were always looking to the next thing. It was all pretty much like we were soldiers â€“ in a war zone (laughs). Not a real war zone, obviously.
A metaphorical war zone?
(Laughs) â€œYeah, we were fighting a metaphorical war.
What was the catalyst for getting back together? Did you have any initial reservations about getting together again?
My only reservation would have been wondering if J really wanted to do it. And once we actually made sure he was making enough money, we did it. Thatâ€™s all it really took.
How much contact did you have with J between the time you left the band and when you decided to get back together?
He started showing up at Sebadoh shows, maybe as earlier as 1994 or 1995. We were like â€˜what the fuck is he doing?â€™ He just kept showing up â€“ I even chased him out of one of the shows yelling at him. And after that he didnâ€™t show up. But we have a lot of friends in common, friends who both do work for us, like doing sound and stuff, so our sound guy â€“ the guyâ€™s who going to be doing sound for us when weâ€™re in Australia â€“ he was doing sound for J when he was playing with the Asheton brothers and Mike Watt when they were doing the Stooges thing. He invited me to the show in London that J was playing, so I went to that show and sang a song with them, and apologised to J for chasing him out of the earlier show. So that was kind of a turning point, I guess. It softened the ground a bit.
So are the communication problems that plagued the band in the latter part of the original bandâ€™s tenure now resolved?
No, theyâ€™re still there (laughs). Itâ€™s all the same, itâ€™s just not this negative undertone. Early on we were just young â€“ I was 22 when they kicked me out of the band. I think the band becoming successful was something no-one had ever predicted and it was something that didnâ€™t sit well with us, being successful. But now since J and I have been through so much separately, and Murph as well â€“ Murphâ€™s played with a bunch of people â€“ and to come back to something familiar, and successful, itâ€™s pretty obvious that that stuff we did together years and years ago has resonated, so for us to come back as experienced musicians and go â€˜yâ€™know people like this shit, letâ€™s do itâ€™. Weâ€™ve been â€˜round long enough to know that thatâ€™s not something you can really stop, you gotta go with it.
Whatâ€™s been the audience reaction in the US and Europe to the reformation shows? Have you been surprised at the support for the reunion show?
No, not really, â€˜cause weâ€™ve always been playing places that we havenâ€™t played before. We should keep doing it until weâ€™ve played to everyone who wants to see us. If we just played New York, Los Angeles and London then thatâ€™s not a reunion. The band was influential. As a musician I know what that means to influence people and so until we actually play Japan and we go to Australia we can even consider that weâ€™re done â€“ we canâ€™t call it a Dinosaur Jr and not play Australia! Thatâ€™s not fair! Australia is â€¦ people love rock in Australia and Dinosaur is a good rock band.
Iâ€™m not surprised because Iâ€™m a music fan and I know Dinosaur is a good rock band â€“ and I can say that â€˜cause I didnâ€™t write all the songs. If I wrote all the songs I wouldnâ€™t say that. But when it comes to Dinosaur I get kind of cocky â€˜cause I think itâ€™s great â€˜cause I think that what J did then was great, and that we play them great now and we should go and play to everybody before we decide not to play anymore.
Thereâ€™s been some suggestion youâ€™ll write some new material. Is that true?
Weâ€™re doing that right now.
How do you think the new material will marry with the older stuff?
I have no idea. Thatâ€™s a pretty good question. Right now Iâ€™d have to say I have no idea. Weâ€™re just doing our best. Weâ€™re all a bit mellower so to expect we would bring the same ferocity to the new material that we brought to the old material is a little, I dunno â€¦ weâ€™ll see (laughs).
Dinosaur Jnr were always a loud band, whatever the live environment â€“ do you still take delight in challenging peopleâ€™s eardrums?
Do you take great delight in challenging peopleâ€™s eardrums?
No. Itâ€™s just that J like to play at a certain volume to feel comfortable playing guitar. And now I just have enough equipment and enough ego so that I will try and match him. And sound systems now are much more adept at handling us. I think now our tones are much better. Back then a lot of the tones we were playing at were extremely harsh â€˜cause that was the mood of the time. So we werenâ€™t necessarily louder, we were just harsher.
Do you think the equipment you were playing with was rougher?
Probably yes. J now has an incredible collection of vintage Marshall heads and cabinets so his tone is now ferociously loud. Tell anyone whoâ€™s coming to wear earplugs.
Your website is called http://www.loobiecore.com â€“ and includes a definition of looby as â€˜an awkward, clumsy fellowâ€™. Is that how you see yourself now?
Sort of, somedays. Thatâ€™s the definition, itâ€™s not something I came up with. I think itâ€™s funny that there was a mediaeval definition for loobie. Iâ€™ve been called that for a while, and then I find that it means an awkward, clumsy and lazy fellow and that was funny to me, and it pertains to me. – PATRICK EMERYFebruary 23, 2006 at 1:18 pm #114952
Lou B has a couple solo dates in OZ…
‘Lou Barlow, the singer-guitarist behind Sebadoh and the Folk Implosion and bassist for Dinosaur Jr has announced a solo tour ahead(more like after… agap) of Dinosaur Jr’s Australian jaunt. See him on March 16 and 17 at the Northcote Social Club‘February 25, 2006 at 1:23 pm #114953
more dates & promo stuff from i94bar.com
LOU BARLOW AUSTRALIAN TOUR
With the Australian tour for the reformed Dinosaur Jr selling out well in advance (the score to date; both Melbourne shows and Friday 10th March @ the Metro in Sydney) Feel Presents are pleased to announce a solo tour by Lou Barlow, the bassist in Dinosaur Jr and the singer/guitarist behind the equally as seminal Sebadoh and the Folk Implosion. The solo tour will take place immediately after the Dinosaur Jr tour with shows in Wellington (NZ), Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane and Sydney. In stark contrast to the sonic boom of the live Dinosaur Jr experience, however, Lou Barlow will perform solo and acoustic covering material from his lengthy career and with a strong emphasis on last years solo release – and only his second in 11 years – "EMOH".
Adding further fire to the Barlow cannon, is the news that the the tour will coincide with the re-issue of "Sebadoh 111", the classic third album for Lou’s post Dinosaur Jr outfit Sebadoh, and the album that really put Lou Barlow on the map as a composer. An album that allmusic.com describes as:
The album is to be released as both a double CD pack, featuring bonus out takes, demos etc, and also on vinyl, featuring just the original record. The CD will also feature sleeve notes from the complete original line-up. Lou Barlow, Jason Loewenstein and Eric Gaffney.
Lou Barlow is sure to perform some of these classics as well so don’t miss him, performing live and acoustic this March. Tickets for all shows are on sale Friday 24th February and as per the Dinosaur Jr tour, are expected to sell fast.
Wednesday 15th: Wellington, Bar Bodega
Tickets $25 + bf from Slowboat Records
Thursday 16th & Friday 17th: Melbourne, Northcote Social Club
Tickets $25 + bf from the Venue at 301 High St, Northcote (Mon-Fri 12-8), Phone 94861677 and online at http://www.northcotesocialclub.com
Sunday 19th: Perth, Rosemount Hotel
Tickets $22 + bf from Mills Records, Fremantle, 78 Records, Perth Beat Records, Karrinyup and Planet Records, Mt Lawley.
Wednesday 22nd: Brisbane, The Troubador
Tickets $25 + bf from Rocking Horse & Skinnys Records
Saturday 25th: Sydney, Annandale Hotel
Tickets $25 + bf from http://www.annandalehotel.com or phone charge: 95501078
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