July 21, 2004 at 2:58 pm #47184
well, i’m going to post this one in sections like the raygun interview … hope that’s ok … just a word of warning … this one’s pretty long too …
btw. record collector is a UK mag …
john reed overcomes the apathetic attitude of the american guitar band + tracks their massively influential career
during the late 80s, the british independent scene was hardened by an invasion from across the atlantic. after the demise of pioneering US acts like husker du + big black, it was left to their contemporaries, sonic youth + the butthols surfers, to provide an ear splitting invective that cut a swathe through prevailing trends. subsequently blanketed w/an all-consuming "grunge" banner, this new underground rock movement culminated in the enormous crossover success of nirvana, a band whose spirit owed much to another of america’s finest alternatives, dinosaur jr.
back in 1988, dinosaur jr’s singer, guitarist + songwriter j mascis sported long hair, indulged in overtly rock guitar solos + sounded like neil young, characteristics which were far from fashionable at the time. cue dinosaur jr’s first official UK single, "freak scene" — a glorious marriage of loping, fuzz-drenched riffs + melancholic lyrics, + the musical goal posts were shifted seemingly overnight. looking like he’d just stumbled out of bed, j mascis evolved into an unlikely cult hero, while "freak scene" instantly garnered adulation from both the critics + the indie fraternity — as well as the countless aspiring indie bands on both sides of the atlantic. an irreverent cover of the cure’s "just like heaven" followed, bringing dinosaur jr to the attention of a wider audience– not least warner bros who, after a spate of line-up changes, signed the band in 1990.
with the news that dinoaur jr are to release their second warners LP on the day this issue of "record collector" hits the streets, an interview was arranged to discuss what’s only their fifth album in eight years. my plan was to unearth details of j’s apparantly stillborn seaweed label (anyone heard about that before ), find out about his rare EP as drummer w/early eighties hardcore act deep wound and document his many guest appearances as drummer, producer or backing vocalist, with contemporaries + oddball outfits. in fact, the chat had been originally scheduled at the end of 1991, during the band’s european tour. but true to their apathetic reputation, they didn’t turn up + it was left to an apologetic press officer to bemoan technical problems at london’s town + country club for keeping me waiting expectantly in a cold hotel lobby.
this time around, however, i caught up w/j mascis + recent recruit mike johnson, who were ensconced in a snug little office in warner bros’ london offices, + managed to grab a few moments w/them before they left to remix an acoustic session for john peel’s radio show.July 22, 2004 at 1:37 pm #103704
great project, rambleon!!!
…the interviewer appears to be rather indifferent so far, but of course I’m lookig forward now, to what is said in the interview"rambleon" wrote:my plan was to unearth details of j’s apparantly stillborn seaweed label (anyone heard about that before )
can’t remember that I’ve heard of that seaweed labelJuly 24, 2004 at 1:32 pm #103705
yeah, me either … hmmm … that’s weird … anyhow … part 2 coming up real soon … :aliensmile:July 25, 2004 at 12:51 pm #103706
Remember reading about this in an article somewhere in 1993 – from what I gather he talked about setting up Seaweed around ’89 – ’90. Dunno if anything ever came of it thoughJuly 27, 2004 at 2:54 pm #103707
record collector : i hear you were on "the clothes show" yesterday. what was that about ?
j mascis : we were talking about grunge fashion.
rc : what’s grunge fashion ?
jm : i’ve never heard of such a thing so … they don’t know what it is.
rc : er, i see … my first impression of your new album, "where you been", was that it returns to the feel of 1988’s "bug", away from the upfront rock sound of your last lp, "green mind."
jm : a piece of shit, is that what you’re trying to say ?
rc : (cringes) i didn’t like it so much.
jm : okay.
rc : umm, was there a conscious decision, then, as a producer to change the sound for your new album ?
jm : no, basically, i don’t know what i’m doing so … (long pause)
rc : when i spole to george clinton recently, he talked about his production work on funkadelic’s ground-breaking early LPs, quoting sly stone’s advice that you shouldn’t ‘learn any better’, i.e. if your records sound ok, don’t refine them — is that how you feel about recording ?
jm : mmm … it’s a good story.
since my line of questioning seemed to be heading nowhere, i changed tack + headed straight for the jugular — j mascis’ earliest recordings.
rc : rather than talk about the new album, perhaps we could talk about the history of dinosaur jr. do you mind ?
jm : i mind everything.
rc : tell me about the groups you were in before deep wound.
jm : well, you know — just bands, no records. except i was on this record for the allstate band in 7th grade. they made records of the performance. they picked kids from different schools around the state + put them into one band + held a concert.
rc : were you in deep wound at the time ?
jm : no, i was really young.
rc : so how did they come to pick you ?
jm : i dunno. i think somebody got sick or something. and there were different ones — an orchestra, a concert band.
rc : did you play guitar ?
jm : no, drums. and they got this guy who made records + you could order one at the show + he could send you a record w/a cover. it’s a double album.
rc : how old were you, fourteen ?
jm : thirteen.
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