Home Forums Dinosaur Related Discussions Dinosaur/J News & Discussions Old Dinosaur Interview from NME 1987

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  • #47893
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    IMMMainecoffKoon
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    This is the first thing I ever read about Dinosaur way back from NME, Nov 28, 1987.
    There was a great photo with this article (which is sadly long lost) of a relaxed J , kind of staring , half smiling with really lank greasy long hair. Looking like a true clown the best sense of the term.
    A breath of fresh air in the context of the uptight ’80’s. Almost the same time I heard them on John Peel and immediately went out and got YLAOM, was totally blown away. I went out and bought Dinosaur three days later. I have another interview with the band with the same writer from ’89 where he just totally slags them off having discovered the joys of ecstacy and the rave scene. Typical NME. If it turns up I might post it here.
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    Prehistoric beasties DINOSAUR JR. tell Jack Barron why they’ve swapped mohawks for wah wah pedals.Photo by Eye & Eye.

    Backstage at the Futurama in Belgium a television camera
    points it’s unblinking eye at three bemused young americans
    who gawp with all the discomfort of facing a firing squad.
    "Okay! Now just tell us who you are, where you come from,
    what you do and all that stuff," commands the presenter.

    Mascis thinks for a moment, shrugs his coat-hanger thin shoulders, pushes a fringe not quite as long as his drawl outof his eyes and slurs:
    "Our name is Dinosaur Junior(sic). We come from Amherst, Massachusetts."
    The Camera squints its red recording light at the trio and they stare back at it’s lidless lens. Ten seconds of silence pass.
    "Uhm, well, thank you very much," says the bewildered presenter.
    "Think nothing of it. It’s our pleasure," smiles Mascis.
    Another Dinosaur Junior interview is over. If only the presenter had asked about haircuts.

    "Haircuts? They’ve always been a signal of where I’m coming from musically," grins J with laconic irony. Ensconsed in the rickety tour van which has taken Dinosaur around Europe, the guitarist with
    the most hazily wry rock band to be bucked from the saddle from Reagan’s horse latitudes in 1987 cradles a bottle of mineral water like it’s a baby.
    "I had long hair in ninth grade and my Mom would shriek at me,
    ‘Cut your hair! Cut your hair!’" Mascis pronounces each syllable like his tongue is two foot long."So then I shaved of all my hair and joined a hardcore band and my mom shouted’Grow your hair!Grow your hair!’"
    ‘So I grew it out and stuck shit all over it so it stuck up like a mohawk and my mom went’Comb your hair!Comb your hair!’
    So I grew it long again and and my mom goes ‘Cut your hairs!Cut your hair!’.You can’t win, can you? Hey, but my Grandma liked my
    skinhead phase.She thought it looked cute."

    Like his fellow sound corrosives- Lou Barlow and Pat Murphy-
    J Mascis grew up in white middle class America yawning for
    a thrill. The son of a dentist, his early childhood years were spent listening to Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix and watching
    pictures of Vietnam and road accidents on Television. Later he developed several obsessions.

    Now, for example, if he walks down the road and kicks a pebble he has to put it in the gutter.
    "I don’t know why, I guess it fills the time. It makes life a little less boring. I have this thing about the number 13 as well. No, I don’t know why, it’s just something to occupy your mind.
    ‘Do I worry for my sanity? No, If you lose it you lose it, what can you do? The worst thing that can happen is you’ll just walk around the streets babbling. And that’s cool in a way."

    This pecadillos didn’t figure in J’s teenhood when he played classical drums for a symphony orchestra and offbeats for a jazz combo. Mind you, even then he didn’t like the way his sister counted the amount of seconds he left the fridge door open when he was looking for food. He still doesn’t.

    Given J’s sensitivity to micro-social friction and domestic trauma it’s hardly an accident that Dinosaur’s second album is called
    "You’re Living All Over Me".
    A leap beyond their eponymous debut, it takes the cork out of the can of worms marked ‘Emotional Claustrophobia’.
    On it, to filch a lyric- "Sunlight brings the raincloud in your eyes"- and the song claws to the surface like a diver with a bad case of the bends and nitrogen bubbles in his head.

    It wasn’t always this way though. In the early ’80s punk had never really happened in the U.S.A. Alienated from AOR sheen and FM static, the frustration felt by (mostly) white middle class American youth suddenly jabbed with a bruised fist into hardcore, a faster and fiercer variant of Britpunk. J liked the interference, found a noise he could identify with, and promptly cut off all his hair. It didn’t please his mum. With the Neos, Rudimentary Peni and Minor Threat bleeding in his ears, and his glaming scalp freezing in a wind of moral indignation, he formed his first band with high school guitarist friend Lou. The group was called Deep Wound and thrashed like a beached conga eel.

    "The phsyical energy involved in playing hardcore was the main thing," explains Lou. "It also gave you a purpose,something to identify with. It’s like when you were listening to a Minor Threat record you knew you were listening to the greatest piece of music ever made and it was speaking directly to you."

    Freshman-faced Lou, with a question mark crinkling his brow, is the self-confessed wlfare worker of the band.The son of a father who "works in some sort of office"and a mother who is a legal secretary, Lou looked after old ladies when not playing music."It entailed cleaning them up and keeping them warm. I originally did it to see if it would bother me, but it didn’t Now I do it because I care."

    "Hey, you used to have to clean the shit out of their mouthswhen they ate their own shit,"adds J, showing some amusement at the thought. There’s nothing malicious in his tone, just aamazement that these things happen to people when they get old.

    Meanwhile in the UK, Discharge and Blitz came and went.So did J’s mohican, and Deep Wound were cauterised.
    "I hadn’t heard any hardcore that was exciting for quite a while and it no longer excited us, so we stopped the band dead.’ Time, eternal insomniac, was impatient. A rethink was necessarry. Eventually Pat Murphy, a Zappa and jazz fan whose father taught at an an Amherst college and wrote books on Africa , was enticed away from an American Oi! outfit called-with sarcasm- All White Jury. And so Dinosaur was born with a new drummer and forceps around its head into the identikit hardcore culture of America. Right down to their name they didn’t fit.

    To make the severence with Deep Wound complete and to envigorate their musical re-direction Lou switched to bass and tape collages and J forsook his Buddy Rich kit for wah-wah over-drive guitar.
    ”Switching around instruments not only kept us on our toes but it was also pretty essential for us to make a transistion," continues Lou. "After generic hardcore we wanted to find a more expressive form of music and switching roles forced us to experiment. We’ve always
    maintained the high energy levels of hardcore, we’ve just
    re-routed them."

    "What really happened was we got older and mellowed a little,"
    says Murph with a shamrock smile.
    "And we had sex," adds J."you lose the thrashing drive after
    sex."

    After sex, happily, is the perfect corollary for post-hardcore blues.
    The once generic virginity of thrashpunk is now soiled with the seed of many musics; country (early Meat Puppets), Fairlight sampled hardcore (Pailhead), jazz (Gone), and cavenous space (Swans).
    Jesus, even the Beastie Boys were hardcore kids once.
    And of all the hybrids that have emerged perhaps the most elevating
    is that which fuses the viscerality of thrashpunk with peripheral
    glances of garage psychedelia, as exemplified by Sonic Youth and The Butthole Surfers. It’s in this area that Dinosaur idiosyncratically roam with a limp, slaves to the distortion but no to the attitude of their buckskinned predecessors.

    "What do we think of ’60s bands? Not a lot ," explains J.
    "We even had to change our name because of them. We had to add
    the junior tag because we got sued by this band called The Dinosaurs
    who’re ex-Big Brother and the Holding Company, Country Joe
    and The Fish and Quicksilver Messenger Service."

    Though they perform gill-ripped music which is lyrically arcane as early REM, Dinosaur Junior themselves aren’t dope fiends. Dopey with non-biz mores, perhaps. Indeed, J is straight-edged and when pushed for an analogy to the band’s music likens it to the effect of "Fizzy lifting drinks".

    Maybe so. Certainly it’s the closest Dinosaur Junior ever get to
    explaining the content of their songs. When I quote lyrics at them
    like "Try to think what’s over me/it makes me crawl"(‘Little Furry Things’) their lips turn into cryptic clams.
    "There’s nothing specific about the songs’ lyrics," explains Lou.
    "They’re just words to swirl around in your head for a while and
    then you put them together. We like people to have the space to
    make their own interpretation of the songs. We don’t have any
    manifesto to put over."
    "I’ve always like music where you can’t understand the lyrics,"
    adds J. "The sort of music that forces you to sing your own
    interpretations. When you discover the true lyrics to a song
    your own lyrics are invariably better anyway."

    Friendly if withdrawn and enigmatic in small-talk to the point
    of being downright goofy, onstage Dinosaur shed their
    conversational chrysalis and turn into something monumentally
    fierce. Their instrumental furnace- not yet captured so well
    on record -is so hot the strains of thrash and psychedelia the draw
    upon melt into strange shapes before the hit your ears.
    "Yes, we’re completely different onstage," Lou agrees.
    "But once we start taking a lot of speed and heroin, we’ll be
    sure to start smashing things, being disorderly, and living up to
    that rock ‘n roll myth. We’re just coming to the realisation that
    allour heroes did that, so we might have to follow in their
    footsteps."
    "Yeah, but I guess that’ll have to wait until we get to Berlin,"
    laughs Murph. Thurston Moore, The person who introduced me
    to the delights of Dinosaur 18 months ago, reckons their music
    "Just explodes!" Without doubt burned-love-songs- that’s how I hear them anyway -have rarely been more like shrapnel to the heart.

    #109295
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    AGAP
    Participant

    Thanks for posting that, great article!

    Gotta love J’s hair story…:mrgreen:

    Fingers crossed the 89 NME makes an appearance 8)

    #109296
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    rambleon
    Participant
    Quote:
    I’ve always like music where you can’t understand the lyrics,"
    adds J. "The sort of music that forces you to sing your own
    interpretations. When you discover the true lyrics to a song
    your own lyrics are invariably better anyway."

    see … breeds, breathes, whatever … doesn’t matter … :wink: :lol:

    #109297
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    rambleon
    Participant

    i like the bit about the fridge as well :D :lol:

    #109298
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    Rob
    Participant

    that was awesome

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