July 19, 2005 at 1:57 pm #48227
Gotta love that whole Partridge Family deal…
Reunion a treat for fans who didn’t catch Dinosaur Jr.
By Allison Stewart
Special to the Tribune
Published July 17, 2005
The members of Dinosaur Jr., one of alt-rock’s most beloved and fractured entities, are feeling good about their reunion tour — at least, to the extent that the members of Dinosaur Jr. ever feel good about anything.
Their reconciliation was years in the making, though the reasons for the initial split — and the ensuing deep freeze — vary depending on whom you ask. Bassist Lou Barlow blames immaturity. Singer J Mascis blames Barlow. "I guess Lou’s mellowed out quite a bit," Mascis figures.
"He’s apologized for his past behavior."
Formed by Barlow and Mascis in Amherst, Mass., in 1984, Dinosaur Jr. (rounded out by drummer Emmett Jefferson "Murph" Murphy ) released three great, indelibly weird albums that melded punk and sludgy ’70s hard rock, supplemented by copious guitar solos and an almost-unreasonable amount of hooks. Album sales were modest, but their influence was vast: Nirvana and Sonic Youth were fans.
"Dinosaur Jr. was a really important band to musicians and like-minded people," Barlow says.
From the beginning, no one in Dinosaur Jr. liked one another very much, and four years in a van together did little to improve things.
Mascis is a famously dictatorial, uncommunicative frontman, given to speaking in monosyllables to bandmates and reporters alike; Barlow was quiet and sensitive. Life on the road became a pas de deux of passive aggression and barely bottled rage, culminating one night in 1988 in an onstage brawl. Early the next year, Mascis and Murph eased Barlow out of the band by telling him they were breaking up (they weren’t).
Barlow went on to first form Sebadoh, a successful lo-fi outfit that, in its early days, mostly wrote songs about Mascis (sample song titles include "Jealous Evil" and "Punch in the Nose") and then Folk Implosion, authors of the 1995 hit "Natural One." Murph left a few year later, and Mascis, backed by a rotating cast of musicians, went on to release several more melodious and incrementally more successful Dinosaur Jr. albums.
There were tentative overtures at reconciliation over the years. Mascis attended a few Sebadoh shows ("one of those times I yelled at him and I apologized for yelling at him," Barlow remembers), and Barlow had gone to see Mascis play with his new band, the Fog.
Barlow joined Mascis onstage at a Stooges reunion in London, and the two briefly reunited their pre-Dinosaur Jr. band, Deep Wound, for a benefit show put together by Barlow’s mom. "She asked J to play it and she told me I was playing," Barlow recalls. "J really likes my mom."
The real impetus for a reunion came from Mascis’ people, Barlow says. "J’s management is just really aggressive. They even found Murph," he marvels. "But I just couldn’t believe J wanted to do it. J was like, `well, do what you want.’"
"They always wanted to do it," Mascis points out. "It was up to me to agree."
Barlow and Mascis are vague as to just why they’d put themselves through a reunion tour (money probably has something to do with it). Barlow says the spring reissues of the first three Dinosaur Jr. albums weren’t a factor, if only because nobody thought to tell him about them until recently.
"No one wants to admit they got back together because they needed help with their mortgage payments," says Ryan Schreiber, editor in chief of online indie rock site Pitchfork. "But it’s a win-win situation. Fans who never got a chance to see the band the first time around finally get to see a Dinosaur Jr. show. And it’s good for the individual members because it brings them back into the limelight."
Barlow, who released an acoustic album, "Emoh," last winter, isn’t so sure. "It depends on my mood. Sometimes I think this is completely overshadowing [my solo career]. It restarts the myth that everything J. and I did after Dinosaur Jr. was nothing. It’s not like people who come to the shows will think, `I really like the way that guy plays bass. I think I’ll buy his solo record. I hear it’s acoustic!’ It’s more like, `It’s good those guys got back together before their careers totally died.’"
Paradoxically, band relations are better than ever.
Mascis and his wife share a bus with Barlow, his wife and their 5-month-old baby in relative harmony, "like the Partridge Family," Mascis says. While the band’s European dates went well, stateside ticket sales haven’t been encouraging. The tour is slated to end in the fall, and since neither Barlow nor Mascis finds the idea of a reunion album particularly appealing, no one’s sure what will happen after that. "We’re just trying to make it through the summer," Mascis says.
"And then we’ll see how it goes."
Dinosaur Jr. performs at the Lollapalooza festival Saturday and Sunday at Grant Park. For ticketing and information, call 866-91-LOLLA.
[email protected]July 19, 2005 at 2:25 pm #111363
that was one whopping article. i am sure glad that newspaper owns my favorite baseball team GO CUBS!!! MORE COWBELL!!!!Quote:. While the band’s European dates went well, stateside ticket sales haven’t been encouraging.
two words = HOT TOPIC !!! these days kids will run to a hot topic tshirt featuring band concert like our momma’s did at a 1980’s cabbage patch kid give away!!!!! and most of them suck worse then elvis hitler ./.July 19, 2005 at 3:41 pm #111364
lookitssamParticipant"douchemaster" wrote:two words = HOT TOPIC !!! these days kids will run to a hot topic tshirt featuring band concert like our momma’s did at a 1980’s cabbage patch kid give away!!!!! and most of them suck worse then elvis hitler ./.
Sad but true man.July 20, 2005 at 7:43 am #111365
but hey at least they have some cool shit at hot topic… i got some bitchin wrap around shades there yesterday!July 20, 2005 at 8:31 am #111366
rosaParticipant"Coma Girl" wrote:"Dinosaur Jr. was a really important band to musicians and like-minded people," Barlow says.
what the hell? hahaJuly 23, 2005 at 7:23 am #111367
rambleonParticipantQuote:While the band’s European dates went well, stateside ticket sales haven’t been encouraging.
is this true?
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