|

Click here to expand and collapse the player

Dinosaur Jr.

Rate It! Avg: 4.0 (1109 ratings)
  • Dinosaur Jr.

  • Dinosaur Jr.

  • Dinosaur Jr.

Albums

Biography All Music Guide

Group Members: Lou Barlow And Friends, Lou Barlow, Lou Barlow & Rudi Trouve, Murph, J Mascis, J Mascis & Friends, J Mascis and the Fog

All Music Guide:

Dinosaur Jr. were largely responsible for returning lead guitar to indie rock and, along with their peers the Pixies, they injected late-'80s alternative rock with monumental levels of pure guitar noise. As the group's career progressed, it turned into a vehicle for J Mascis' songwriting and playing, which had the ultimate result of turning Dinosaur's albums into largely similar affairs. Over time, Mascis shed his hardcore punk roots and revealed himself to be a disciple of Neil Young, crafting simple songs that were delivered at a crushing volume and spiked with shards of feedback. Consequently, Dinosaur Jr.'s '90s albums -- when the group was essentially a front for Mascis -- don't sound particularly revolutionary, even with their subtle sonic innovations, yet their original '80s records for SST were a different matter. On their early records, Dinosaur lurched forward, taking weird detours into free-form noise and melodic soloing before the songs are brought back into relief by Mascis' laconic whine. Dinosaur's SST records laid the foundation for alternative rock's commercial breakthrough in the early '90s, and while the band's profile was raised substantially in the wake of Nirvana's success, they never really became much bigger than highly respected cult figures.

Mascis (born Joseph D. Mascis; guitar, vocal) formed Dinosaur Jr. in Amherst, MA, after his hardcore punk band Deep Wound broke up in 1983. Hooking up with fellow high-school student Lou Barlow (bass), Mascis initially played drums in Dinosaur, but shortly afterward, former All White Jury drummer Murph (born Emmett "Patrick" Murphy), joined the group and J moved to guitar. Over the next year the group developed a local following, and in 1985 the trio released its debut album, Dinosaur, on the Homestead label. The record and the group's crushingly loud concerts developed a cult following over the next year. By the end of 1986, a hippie rock group called Dinosaur -- featuring former members of Jefferson Airplane and Country Joe & the Fish -- sued the band, which changed its name to Dinosaur Jr.

In 1987, Dinosaur Jr. signed to Black Flag's indie label SST and released You're Living All Over Me, which became an underground sensation, with groups like Sonic Youth championing Mascis' wild, feedback-drenched guitar. Early in 1988 they released the seminal single "Freak Scene," a song that captured the feeling and tone of the emerging American post-punk underground. "Freak Scene" became a college radio hit, and it led the way for their acclaimed 1988 album Bug. Although the band's popularity continued to grow, tensions were developing between Mascis and Barlow, who rarely talked to each other. In 1989, Mascis told Barlow that the group was breaking up; the following day, he "re-formed" Dinosaur Jr., this time without Barlow, who went on to form Sebadoh.

Without Barlow, Dinosaur Jr. relied on a rotating array of guest bassists, including Don Fleming and the Screaming Trees' Van Connor. In 1989, the group had an underground hit with their non-LP cover of the Cure's "Just Like Heaven." The following year, they signed with Sire Records. After "Just Like Heaven," Mascis remained quiet for several years as he produced acts like Buffalo Tom and collaborated with friends like Sonic Youth and Fleming's Velvet Monkeys. Green Mind, Dinosaur's 1991 major-label debut, was recorded almost entirely alone by Mascis, and its varied, eclectic sound was received poorly in many alternative rock circles. Before the Green Mind tour, former Snakepit member Mike Johnson became the group's full-time bassist. On the subsequent tour, Dinosaur Jr. were supported by Nirvana, whose success with Nevermind soon overshadowed Dinosaur's.

Instead of capitalizing on the commercial breakthrough of alternative rock, Dinosaur released an EP, Whatever's Cool With Me, in early 1992 and disappeared to record their next album. Released early in 1993, Where You Been benefited greatly from the commercial breakthrough of alternative rock, and many of the articles surrounding the album's release hailed Mascis as an alternative godfather. It became the first Dinosaur album to chart, peaking at number 50, and it generated the modern rock hit "Start Choppin." That summer, the group played on the third Lollapalooza tour. Mascis recorded the band's next album without Murph, who unceremoniously left the band; he later joined the Lemonheads. Dinosaur Jr. released Without a Sound in 1994 to mixed reviews, but the album was a moderate hit, thanks to the MTV and modern rock hit "Feel the Pain." In the fall of 1995, Mascis launched his first solo acoustic tour, which was captured on his first official solo album, Martin & Me, released in the spring of 1996.

After contributing several Brian Wilson-styled songs to Alison Anders' 1996 film Grace of My Heart -- he also made an appearance in the movie -- Mascis completed Dinosaur's next album on his own, leaving Johnson to his solo career. Upon its spring 1997 release, Hand It Over was hailed as Mascis' best album in years, although it failed to generate a significant hit. By the late '90s, Mascis decided to break up Dinosaur Jr. and launch a solo career, resulting in the release of More Light in 2000 (under the name of J Mascis + the Fog, a group that also featured former Minutemen bassist Mike Watt). The new group's ensuing tour was cut short in June of 2001, however, when their tour bus was involved in a serious accident in Sweden, resulting in Mascis cracking two vertebrae. In the wake of their breakup, a pair of postmortem Dinosaur Jr. collections saw the light of day in the early 21st century: 2000s live-in-the-studio BBC Sessions and 2001's Ear-Bleeding Country: The Best Of. In addition, the history of Dinosaur Jr.'s original lineup was documented in Michael Azerrad's excellent 2001 book of '80s alt-rock pioneers, Our Band Could Be Your Life.

In 2005 the first three albums were reissued on Merge and Mascis announced the original band would be reuniting for a short tour. A year later, Green Mind and Where You Been were reissued by Sire with bonus tracks while Rhino released J Mascis Live at CBGB's, a recording of an acoustic gig from 1993. To coincide with the 2006 reissues, the reunited band began a world-wide tour and announced plans to work on material for a new album, which surfaced in 2007 in the form of Beyond. The reunion stuck, and the original lineup of Dinosaur Jr. eventually releasing Farm in 2009, followed by I Bet on Sky in 2012.

more »

Tour Dates All Dates Dates In My Area

Date Venue Location Tickets
07.17.15 The Dome at Oakdale Theatre Wallingford, CT US
07.18.15 Lincoln Theatre Raleigh, NC US
07.19.15 Black Cat Washington, DC US
07.20.15 The Fillmore Charlotte Charlotte, NC US
07.22.15 The National Richmond, VA US
07.23.15 Festival Pier at Penn's Landing Philadelphia, PA US
07.24.15 The Stone Pony Asbury Park, NJ US
07.25.15 Blue Hills Bank Pavilion Boston, MA US
07.27.15 Thompson's Point Portland, ME US
07.28.15 Mountain Park Holyoke, MA US

eMusic Features

0

Who Are…Speedy Ortiz

By Annie Zaleski, Contributor

Speedy Ortiz began as the solo project of New York native (and ex-Quilty vocalist/guitarist) Sadie Dupuis. But by early 2012, the songwriter — who's also working toward an MFA in poetry at UMass-Amherst and teaching expository writing — had enlisted several of her New England musician pals, including drummer Mike Falcone (whose band Ovlov frequently played with Quilty), bassist Darl Ferm (who had gotten to know both Dupuis and Falcone from booking their bands at… more »

0

Who Are…The History of Apple Pie

By Annie Zaleski, Contributor

Two years ago, Stephanie Min and Jerome Watson formed The History of Apple Pie as a modest bedroom project. Little did they know how fast things would move: A warm reception to a few songs they posted online caused them to cobble together a live band; in the months that followed, the pair used the classified ads to connect with James Thomas, met Aslam Ghauri through Thomas and found Kelly Owens through their pals the… more »

0

Who Are…PAWS

By Marc Hogan, Lead News Writer

PAWS released an EP early last year that was mastered by Shellac's Bob Weston, and their scrappily melodic, garage-rock approach wouldn't have sounded out of place on a vintage episode of MTV's 120 Minutes. But drummer Josh Swinney quickly rejects the idea the Scottish trio is part of any kind of '90s revival. "It's just music that young people are making that's evolving," he says. When you consider that similar comparisons have been leveled at… more »

0

Who are…The Men

By Austin L. Ray, Contributor

On 2011's Leave Home, The Men unleashed a sprawling, overwhelming, brute-force basher of a rock 'n' roll record on a mostly-unsuspecting public, leaving a bunch of exhausted, gape-mouthed listeners in its wake In following up such a galvanic-if-difficult release, the Brooklyn foursome presents Open Your Heart, a more accessible and delightfully mixed bag that touches on hardcore, Buzzcockian power pop, classic country drinking songs, straight-ahead rock and propulsive, building jams the likes of which would… more »

0

Label Profile: Fat Possum Records

By Marc Hogan, Lead News Writer

File Under: From raw, gutbucket blues to soul, rock and pop with a similar unspoiled spirit Flagship Acts: R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Solomon Burke, the Black Keys, Andrew Bird, Band of Horses, Dinosaur Jr., Wavves, the Walkmen, Smith Westerns, Yuck, Tennis Based In: Oxford, Mississippi Like the Delta bluesmen whose records he started Fat Possum to release, Matthew Johnson is part of a dying breed. Rock owes much of its early legacy to eccentric, mostly European-descended label owners… more »

1

Icon: Dinosaur Jr.

By Jess Harvell, Contributor

If things had gone differently, J. Mascis might be a death metal god. Mascis's early '80s hardcore band, Deep Wound, recorded only one demo and one 7-inch single, but they were so fast, so bracingly violent, that they've become holy objects among fans of extreme metal. Instead, Mascis found a guitar, formed Dinosaur Jr., discovered he was a natural tunesmith; he brought old-school virtuosity into punk and helped create what we now call indie. Not… more »

1

Icon: Dinosaur Jr.

By Jess Harvell, Contributor

If things had gone differently, J. Mascis might be a death metal god. Mascis's early '80s hardcore band, Deep Wound, recorded only one demo and one 7-inch single, but they were so fast, so bracingly violent, that they've become holy objects among fans of extreme metal. Instead, Mascis found a guitar, formed Dinosaur Jr., discovered he was a natural tunesmith; he brought old-school virtuosity into punk and helped create what we now call indie. Not… more »

0

Behold the Shoes: A Brief History of Shoegaze

By Douglas Wolk, Contributor

No, it's not a great name: "shoegazing." Very few artists who've actually played in that style like the term; Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai has called it "a dumb term made up by clueless... idiots... if someone called us shoegazers, I'd be pretty unhappy." The other leading candidate seems to be "dreampop," which is also not quite satisfactory. But we're stuck with those words, because it's undeniable that there's a certain tendency in rock music, especially British… more »

Activity

  • 07.04.15 RT @LogFlume: Celebrating the birth of our nation with the most American thing I know: J Mascis guitar solos
  • 06.29.15 RT @premierguitar: #RigRundown @jmascis @dinosaurjr tours with an entire vintage guitar shop's worth of gear: http://t.co/3b5nS8dHVi http:/…
  • 06.23.15 RT @subtchicago: Believe it! @kickstandshows presents @dinosaurjr Aug. 9th! Tickets on sale this Fri. at 10am: http://t.co/S4s1G2S1jN http:…
  • 06.19.15 Chicago, we're on at 9pm tonight at @tasterandolph - Festival entry is a suggested $10 donation. More show info at http://t.co/nb2NIXTQjT
  • 06.16.15 RT @tasterandolph: We are down to 3 DAYS AWAY from #TOR2015! Have you created your custom schedule yet? || http://t.co/nRDqhXaxrK http://t.…
  • 06.12.15 RT @RiotFest: CHICAGO. @dinosaurjr & @TheDandyWarhols are coming to @tasterandolph next weekend. RT for a chance to win VIP tix! http://t.c…
  • 06.12.15 RT @rubbertracksnyc: The wizard in his tower - throwback to @jmascis in his home studio, recording for the @Converse CONS EP VOL. 3 http://…
  • 06.09.15 RT @leftfordamian: Tomorrow on #TOAP: Damian makes @jmascis talks about #Rattus and being kindred spirits with the #Neos SUBSCRIBE: https:/…
  • 06.08.15 RT @pitchfork: Listen to Kim Gordon (@KimletGordon) and @jmascis team up on new song "Slow Boy" http://t.co/hkXe5BAKg5 http://t.co/7k9qhCT…
  • 06.08.15 RT @jmascis: TONIGHT: J w/ @meglingbaird at @SweetwaterMV. Tickets at https://t.co/IfKQepnWaV
  • 05.02.15 Soundcheck at Strawberry Music Fest Shanghai https://t.co/OSA1Hkkqlv
  • 04.27.15 RT @rubbertracksnyc: It's on. @Converse #RubberTracks Live #Boston starts tonight w/ @TheReplacements, @dinosaurjr, and @YoungLeavesMA. htt…