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    Sunday,October 29,2000


    The laid-back Mascis (pronounced MASK-us) wasn’t sure himself why he was conducting interviews from this tiny room with only one chair rather than, say, one of the spacious trendy coffee shops that dot his neighborhood.
    The gravely voiced multi-instrumentalist and former Dinosaur Jr. frontman also has a recording studio, Bob’s Place (named after his dog), at his other home, a house in Amherst, Mass., that would be ideal for receiving members of the press.

    Nevertheless, Mascis, who seems to be, dare we say, a dinosaur from a more innocent indie rock age, was at the Time diligently doing a round of Q&As to promote "More Light," his first solo album of new material released under the band name J Mascis & the Fog.

    On Wednesday, he’ll perform old material and songs from "More Light," which was released last week, at the Bowery Ballroom. Mike Watt, formerly the bass player with fIREHOSE and the Minutemen, and George Berz (a former Dinosaur Jr. drummer), will join him as his backup band.

    Fans of Dinosaur Jr. should feel right at home with Mascis’ new effort. "More Light" features the wailing guitar and Neil Young whine that characterized the band’s 13 albums.

    The difference here is that Mascis composed most of the songs on "More Light" on an electric piano. In his Dinosaur Jr. days, the guitar was Mascis’ instrument of choice.

    "I can’t play [the electric piano] well," Mascis admits. "I can only play the white keys."

    Mascis is fond of switching instruments. When he started Dinosaur Jr., he played the drums. He changed to guitar partly out of necessity – the band got a new drummer, Murph (he goes by one name) – but also because he likes the way that being unfamiliar with an instrument affects his songwriting.

    The electric piano is the latest example of his musical shiftings.

    "It’s more primitive," he says. "I can’t get that on the guitar. I like working with limitations. Guitar’s not that hard."

    Dinosaur Jr. was formed in 1984 in Amherst by Mascis and bass player Lou Barlow, who now plays with Sebadoh and the Folk Implosion.

    The ’80s marked the beginning of what became known as alternative music, and Dinosaur Jr. became one of the genre’s biggest names – with particular emphasis on the band’s lead singer. In 1992, Spin magazine put Mascis on its cover with the headline "J Mascis is God."

    "That was probably the most embarrassing moment of my life," he says now. "It seemed so preposterous."

    But to many music fans, Mascis was some kind of god, a pre-grunge, alternative, authentic rocker.

    Dinosaur Jr. broke up in 1997, and Mascis went on to work in movies – he scored Allison Anders’ film "Gas Food Lodging" – and as a producer for bands like fIREHOSE and Tad.

    For all his versatility, Mascis is something of a throwback, from his own music to the bands he personally prefers.

    He and Watt recently stormed a number of small New York venues playing covers of Iggy Pop’s pre-punk, hard-rockin’ Stooges songs.

    "They’re pretty much the cornerstone of music," he says. "It’s like playing American folk songs."

    And if the Stooges are the beginning, then what’s the end?

    "The Stooges," he says.

    But of course.

    Original Source : http://www.nypost.com/10292000/entertainment/14725.htm


    Sold my soul and all I got was this lousy T-shirt…

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