Dinosaur Jr. reunites to rerelease three albums
Dinosaur Jr., it’s fair to say, is among the most underappreciated bands of the alt-rock era. While abundant credit is tossed the way of the Pixies or Sonic Youth, the boys from Amherst, Mass., did as much as either to set the stage for the explosion sparked by Nirvana. Between 1984 and 1989, singer and guitarist J Mascis, bassist (and sometimes vocalist) Lou Barlow, and drummer Emmett Jefferson ”Murph” Murphy III recorded and toured behind three genre-defining albums of melody and feedback: Dinosaur, You’re Living All Over Me, and Bug (which have all recently been rereleased on Merge). Then Mascis and Barlow’s seething tensions led to the latter’s being booted from the band. Mascis blamed Barlow’s increasing insolence and negative attitude; Barlow blamed Mascis’ ego and need for unwavering control. Murph, well, he was stuck in the middle. He said the two just couldn’t coexist. Mascis and Murph turned out two more albums, including 1991’s Green Mind and its alt-rock anthem ”The Wagon,” while Barlow focused on his band Sebadoh, and then the Folk Implosion, whose song from Larry Clark’s 1995 movie Kids, ”Natural One,” became a Top 40 hit.
”There was definitely a real ice age after they kicked me out of the band,” Barlow recalls. ”I was really pissed. I was even writing songs about J — about what an a–hole he was — because I knew he’d never listen, and he didn’t.”
Fifteen years on, there seems to be a change of heart — or at least enough of a bad-vibe thawing for the original Dinosaur trio to do a 17-date mini-tour of the States this summer.
”I think maybe Lou’s mom talked some sense into him,” says Mascis. ”He’s also mellowed in his old age. I think he’s got some perspective now.”
Considering their troubled past, we thought it would be fun to have the three original Dinosaurs delve into their complex relationships and tell LTT what each likes and dislikes about the other two. They didn’t necessarily agree; all three members were more than a little hesitant to pick at old wounds. As Lou puts it, ”This reunion thing definitely has a fragile aspect to it and I don’t want to do anything to screw that up. When I read press of J going over all the things he doesn’t like about me I get pissed.” Get ready, Lou. . .
THREE THINGS J LIKES ABOUT LOU. . .
1. His bass playing — it’s like he’s playing guitar on bass.
2. We played mini-golf a couple times. That was pretty fun.
3. He seems like a nice enough guy — except when he’s suing me.
THREE THINGS J DISLIKES ABOUT LOU. . .
1. He doesn’t ski.
2. There’s not that much we can talk about. We’ve always been pretty much just obsessed with music.
3. It used to be hard to have a discussion and get through to him.
THREE THINGS J LIKES ABOUT MURPH. . .
1. He’s a good driver. That’s the most natural thing that he does. He seems like a natural driver.
2. He’s usually not depressing like a lot of our other friends can be — even though sometimes he should be.