* Mike Johnson * George Berz
DINOSAUR JR. is an American rock band formed in Amherst,
The band was founded by J Mascis (guitar, vocals, primary songwriter), Lou Barlow (bass, vocals), and Murph (drums). After three albums on independent labels earned the band a reputation as one of the formative influences on American alternative rock , creative tension led to Mascis firing Barlow, who later formed Sebadoh and Folk Implosion . His replacement, Mike Johnson came aboard for three major-label albums. Murph eventually quit, with Mascis taking over drum duties on the band's albums before the group disbanded in 1997. The original lineup reformed in 2005, releasing four albums thereafter.
Mascis's drawling vocals and distinct guitar sound, hearkening back to 1960s and '70s classic rock and characterized by extensive use of feedback and distortion , were highly influential in the alternative rock movement of the 1990s.
* 1 History
* 1.1 Formation * 1.2 _Dinosaur_ * 1.3 _You\'re Living All Over Me_ * 1.4 _Bug_ and Barlow\'s departure * 1.5 Major label years * 1.6 2005 reunion and onward
* 2 Musical style and influences
* 3 Band members
* 3.1 Timeline
* 4 Discography * 5 Notes * 6 References * 7 External links
Mascis and Barlow played together, on drums and guitar respectively,
in the hardcore punk band
Deep Wound , formed in 1982 while the pair
were attending high school in western
Deep Wound broke up in mid-1984. Cosloy had dropped out of the
The band was initially named Mogo, and played their first show on
Mascis took Cosloy up on his offer to release an album and Dinosaur
recorded their debut album for $500 at a home studio in the woods
After the record's release, Dinosaur would often drive to New York City to perform shows. At one of their shows, the New York-based alternative rock band Sonic Youth was at first unimpressed by the first Dinosaur performance they saw, but after watching them play several months later, approached the band declaring themselves as fans. Sonic Youth invited Dinosaur to join them on tour in the American Northeast and northern Midwest in September 1986.
_YOU\'RE LIVING ALL OVER ME_
Dinosaur recorded much of their second album _You\'re Living All Over
Me _ with
Sonic Youth engineer
Wharton Tiers in New York. During the
recording process, tension emerged between Mascis and Murph because
Mascis had very specific ideas for the drum parts. Barlow recalled, "J
controlled Murph's every drumbeat...And Murph could not handle that.
Murph wanted to kill J for the longest time."
Gerard Cosloy was
excited by the completed album, but was devastated when Mascis told
him the band was going to release it on California-based
_You're Living All Over Me_ was released in 1987; early copies of the record in the Boston area were packaged with the _Weed Forestin'_ tape, the first release by Barlow's side project Sebadoh . The album received much more attention in the indie-rock community than the debut. While the previous record had featured different musical styles for each song, _You're Living All Over Me_ found the band's various disparate influences merging into each individual song. Although the hardcore punk influences were noticeably more muted than on _Dinosaur_, the overall sound was much more powerful, with the instruments often recorded very loud and with considerable distortion. While Mascis's guitar, alternating between Black Sabbath-like riffs, squalling solos, dissonant noise-rock and occasional quiet passages, was the main attraction, Barlow's bass, melodic, highly distorted and often playing thick two-note chords, competed for attention. Meanwhile, Murph played the Mascis-composed drum parts in a very heavy and powerful fashion, resulting in a version of the power trio format. Mascis did most of the lead singing, in a detached drawl that presented a contrast with the extreme music. The songs were highly melodic, albeit with odd song structures that avoided the typical verse-chorus-verse patterns of most rock and pop songs. Barlow also composed two songs: the hardcore-influenced "Lose" and an acoustic sonic collage entitled "Poledo" that anticipated his work with Sebadoh .
Immediately following the release of _You're Living All Over Me_, supergroup The Dinosaurs (featuring ex-members of Country Joe and the Fish , Quicksilver Messenger Service , Hot Tuna , Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane ) sued them over the use of the name, prompting the addition of "Jr."
_BUG_ AND BARLOW\'S DEPARTURE
_Bug_ was similar in musical style to _You're Living All Over Me_, with the contrast between the extremely distorted instruments and the melodic vocal parts intact, as was the band's unique blend of musical influences. However, this time out, there was even more melody and the song structures were more conventional. Mascis was exhibiting an even tighter control over the band's sound, singing lead vocals on all but one song and composing the parts for Murph and Lou to play. Barlow's only lead vocal was on the album's final track, featuring an overdriven, noise-rock backing track and Barlow screaming "Why don't you like me?"
Mascis has described _Bug_ as his least favorite of the band's albums. In an interview in 2005, after the original line-up had reformed, he said, "_Bug_ is my least favourite of all our records. I like some of the songs but, I dunno, I guess I really don't like the vibe of it."
Despite the album's success, tension between Mascis and Barlow began
interfering with the band's productivity, and in 1989, after touring
in support of _Bug_, Barlow was kicked out of the band. Barlow now
focused all of his attention on the former side-project
Sebadoh . "The
Freed Pig", the opening track on 1991's _
Sebadoh III _, documents
Barlow's frustration with Mascis and feeling as if he were treated
Meanwhile, the band embarked on an Australian tour with Donna Dresch filling in for Barlow. In 1990, the band released a new single, _The Wagon_ on Sub Pop , their first release since Barlow's departure. The single featured a short-lived lineup including guitarist Don Fleming and drummer Jay Spiegel from the band Gumball, in addition to Mascis and Murph.
MAJOR LABEL YEARS
Despite the ongoing lineup turmoil,
For touring purposes, Mascis first added Van Conner , and then Mike Johnson to handle the bass parts and embarked on several tours to support _Green Mind_, with support acts that included Nirvana . In 1991, Sire records released an EP titled _Whatever\'s Cool with Me _ that featured old B-sides coupled with one new track. In 1992, the band was part of the Rollercoaster Tour , a package tour based on the successful Lollapolooza festival, which featured The Jesus and Mary Chain , My Bloody Valentine and Blur .
The band found their live shows well received in the changing musical climate of the early 1990s, and decided to record new material with the new lineup. This time, the recording sessions were with full participation from Murph and Johnson, with the former playing most of the drums and the latter playing all of the bass parts, singing harmony vocals and even contributing a few guitar solos. This material represented the peak of the band's commercial success, with the single "Start Choppin'" reaching the top 20 in the UK, and the album that followed, _ Where You Been _, reaching the UK top 10 and the US top 50. The opening track, "Out There", had an accompanying video and was aired on MTV for a short time, as the show _ 120 Minutes _ was still popular as a late-night "alternative" video show. Although the new material was more accessible than the band's 1980s albums, in terms of playing it represented a partial return to the more unrestrained power-trio sound of the original lineup.
Murph left the band after touring for _Where You Been_ and was
replaced for the band's live shows by George Berz, leaving Mascis as
the sole remaining original member. However, the band's subsequent
albums would be recorded mostly by
J Mascis on his own, playing
everything except for the bass and some of the harmony vocals, which
continued to be handled by Mike Johnson. The commercial success
continued with 1994's _
Without a Sound _, which placed well in both
the US and UK album charts. After 1997's _
Hand It Over _, Mascis
finally retired the
2005 REUNION AND ONWARD
The beginnings of a Mascis–Barlow détente started in the mid-'90s when Mascis began showing up at Sebadoh shows. "I think he was kind of aware of how much shit I was talking about him, but I don't think he really ever pursued any of it. One of the things that really triggered this, for me to finally just go, 'Hey, you know, maybe this could work,' is when I realized that maybe J wasn't really holding any kind of grudge against me because he didn't like me. I was thinking, maybe he just didn't realize what he had done, or maybe he wasn't really aware of how much he'd actually hurt me. And when I started to realize that, he kind of became more human to me," Barlow noted in a 2005 interview.
In 2002, the two shared the stage for two shows in London, with
Barlow singing _I Wanna Be Your Dog_ along with Mascis,
Ron Asheton ,
Scott Asheton and
Mascis regained the master rights to the band's first three albums
from SST in 2004, and arranged for their reissue on Merge early 2005.
Later that year, he and Barlow shared the stage at benefit show for
Smith College organized by Barlow's mother in Northampton,
Following the reissues in 2005, Mascis, Barlow and Murph finally
reunited to play on _
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
In 2007, the original members of
In February 2009, the band signed with indie label Jagjaguwar . The band's first release on the new label was titled _Farm _ and released on June 23, 2009. Murph said the album was recorded at Mascis' home and marks return to the heavier, _Where You Been_ LP era. The album was released to positive reviews. To promote the album, the band played _Farm'_s lead-off track, "Pieces", on _Late Night with Jimmy Fallon _ on June 25, 2009.
In December 2015, Murph confirmed the band had entered the studio to begin working on their follow up to _ I Bet on Sky _. The album _Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not_ was released on August 5, 2016 on Jagjaguwar.
MUSICAL STYLE AND INFLUENCES
_ "Freak Scene" Sample of " Freak Scene " from the band's third album Bug _ (1988), a song that features Mascis' distinctive "slacker" vocal drawl and a layered guitar sound. -------------------------
_Problems playing this file? See media help ._
Mascis listened to classic rock artists such as the Rolling Stones
and the Beach Boys , elements of which were incorporated into Dinosaur
Jr.'s sound. In addition, Mascis was also a fan of many punk and
hardcore bands such as The Birthday Party , and has frequently noted
Nick Cave as an influence. Dinosaur Jr.'s members also combined
elements of hardcore punk and noise rock in their songs, which often
featured a large amount of feedback, distortion and extreme volume.
When the master tape of _You\'re Living All Over Me _ arrived at SST,
the label's production manager noticed the level on the tape was so
high it was distorting; however, Mascis confirmed it was the way he
wanted the album to sound. To accentuate their use of volume, the
band employed and popularised the quiet–loud change of dynamic in
many of its songs, a technique that would be later popularised by
Similar to Mascis's guitar work, Barlow's bass lines, with their
alternating heavily distorted, fast chords and pulverizing lows, draw
heavily from both his hardcore past and musicians such as
Mascis's vocals are another distinctive feature of Dinosaur Jr.'s music. He attributed his "whiny low-key drawl", the opposite of the hardcore punk "bark", to artists such as John Fogerty and Mick Jagger . His style also resembled Neil Young's, but Mascis disputed this, and later commented: "That got annoying, being compared all the time." His drawl epitomised the band's slacker ethos and relaxed attitude; author Michael Azerrad said "even Mascis seemed removed from the feelings he was conveying in the music".
* J Mascis – lead/rhythm guitar, lead vocals, keyboards (1984–1997, 2005–present); studio drums (1991, 1993–1997) * Lou Barlow – bass, backing vocals, lead vocals (1984–1989, 2005–present) * Murph – drums (1984–1993, 2005–present)
* Mike Johnson – bass, backing vocals (1991–1997) * George Berz – live drums (1993–1997)
Main article: Dinosaur Jr. discography
* _Dinosaur _ (1985) * _You\'re Living All Over Me _ (1987) * _Bug _ (1988) * _ Green Mind _ (1991) * _ Where You Been _ (1993) * _ Without a Sound _ (1994) * _ Hand It Over _ (1997) * _Beyond _ (2007) * _Farm _ (2009) * _ I Bet on Sky _ (2012) * _ Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not _ (2016)
* Azerrad, Michael (2001). _Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981–1991 _. Little Brown and Company. ISBN 0-316-78753-1 .
* ^ "
* ^ "Rank Your Records:
J Mascis Rates