CONTEST HAS ENDED!
The winner has been contacted. It was the entry submitted under the name “ills.” It won because it was about cats drinking beer.
[CLICK HERE to jump directly to giveaway]
*the first 3 albums and decline of Dinosaur Jr*
Dinosaur Jr formed in 1984 out of the ashes of Westfield, Ma hardcore band Deep Wound, with guitarist, Lou Barlow moving over to man the bass and drummer, J Mascis taking over guitar and songwriting duties. Originally, the duo recruited drummer, Emmett Jefferson “Patrick” Murphy III (aka: Murph) and asked Charlie Nakajima to carry over his role as vocalist from Deep Wound, forming a quartet known as “Mogo“. That lineup was short-lived (only 1 show), as Mascis quickly dissolved the group as a round-about way of kicking Nakajima out of the group. The remaining trio reformed under the name of “Dinosaur” with Mascis and Barlow opting to handle the vocals themselves. Dinosaur recorded their self-titled debut LP for $500 and released it on the now-iconic Homestead Recordings. Even then, they were pushing the envelope as far as style, jumping from more traditional hardcore punk elements to low-fi folk and distorted country throughout various tempos. It’s a classic release that I still listen to regularly and when I saw Mascis play “Repulsion” during a solo show last year, it still sounded as relevant as ever. At the time of it’s release, the album wasn’t exactly a smash hit, but the consistently-ahead-of-their-time Sonic Youth did take a shine to them, after seeing their live performances, and took the young group on tour with them in 1986.
The following year Dinosaur moved to SST records for the album You’re Living All Over Me but, due to a lawsuit, it was shortly after this point when they were forced to officially change their name to Dinosaur Jr. While their debut explored a nice range of territory, their sophomore release found all of those elements really coalescing into a unified sound that would eventually make the name Dinosaur Jr an identifiable musical reference all its own. Mascis confidently took the reigns with his unmistakable vocals and swirling distorted blanket of guitars screeching like harrier jets over a solid throbbing foundation of Barlow‘s bass work and Murph‘s tank-like pummeling beats and tight drum fills. The release helped with their notoriety, but issues were already appearing with the trio. There was some conflict created from Mascis micromanaging Murph‘s drum parts and, while the release did feature 2 Barlow-penned tracks, Lou had already found another musical creative outlet with his recently formed side-project Sebadoh.
1988‘s BUG (SST), which continued with the soaring guitar work and shrieking feedback, essentially became a one man operation for Mascis. The frontman left little room for collaboration, writing all of the material by himself and, instead of allowing his cohorts to find their own voices within the tracks, he used hyper-specifics to instruct both Barlow and Murph on how/what to perform on their own respective instruments during the recording sessions. Critically, BUG was successful (especially, in the UK), but it would be the last album to feature the original lineup, before Barlow‘s expulsion from the group shortly after. As legend has it, Lou was given a similar treatment as Nakajima, with Mascis and Murph selling him the idea that the band was breaking up, only to have an immediate tour and a replacement bassist to play it waiting in the wings. As far as potential reunion tours go, the original Dino lineup was right up there with the Talking Heads. As far as tours featuring a group covering one of their seminal albums from start to finish was concerned, the album that epitomizes the downfall of that original union was even less likely. Regardless of any potential factors to the contrary, that’s exactly what happened when the 80s power trio took BUG on the road last year and, fortunately for anyone who missed it or would like to witness it again, there’s actually video evidence (complete with interview footage) available to own on DVD or Blu-Ray beginning this Tuesday Feb. 21st.
Post Dinosaur Jr & Reunion
Along with bands like The Pixies and fellow SST artists, Meat Puppets, those first 3 Dinosaur Jr albums really helped to lay a foundation for the “grunge” and alternative rock movements of the 1990s. Mascis signed to a major (Sire) in 1990 and rode the Dino Jr name throughout the decade but, with the exception of Where You Been (1993) -featuring solid contributions from Murph and new collaborator/bassist Mike Johnson– the slightly more “accessible” 90s version of the band was often just a glorified Mascis solo project. The new output was still more than respectable, but Murph jumped ship after the aforementioned release in 1993 -later joining the Lemonheads. J eventually put the Dinosaur Jr name to rest in 1997, continuing to produce albums for other artists and record under the name of J Mascis & The Fog, later playing drums in the band Witch and forming Sweet Apple. Redirecting his negative feelings about being booted from his previous band -much of the time very publicly through his lyrics- Barlow spent the 90s turning Sebadoh into a huge influential indie rock force of it’s own, while simultaneously playing in Folk Implosion. Basically, everyone had moved on to other successful ventures and to those of us outside of their immediate circle, it seemed as if Mascis and Barlow still legitimately “hated” each other. Why would they ever want to get back together or even need to? Then, with the Merge Records re-release of those first 3 albums in 2005, everything seemed to make a drastic change and the trio reformed to embark on a full on tour, even playing You’re Living All Over Me in it’s entirety as part of All Tomorrows Parties‘ Don’t Look Back Series, later that year. Then, torching any assumptions that this was the typical one-off reunion gimmick, an album of all new material came in 2007 (Beyond – Fat Possum Records ) and another in 2009 (Farm – Jagujaguar). The group has stated that they have even more new material on the way, Sebadoh is playing again, and Mascis put out an amazing collection of tracks last year with his solo album Several Shades of Why (Sub Pop), so why revisit the album BUG now? It just seemed like an odd move, to put it lightly.
While many fans still have positive feelings towards the album, BUG is widely acknowledged to be the original trio’s least favorite of their output. Barlow has had intense negative feelings towards the release over the years, but has stated that, as his memory slowly melds together over time and through more listens, he’s been able to detach himself a bit and hear it a little more for what it is, as opposed to just a bunch of little reminders of shit that was pissing him off at the time. Even Mascis has issues with BUG, citing the overall “vibe” that he connects to it being the source for his distaste. Maybe their choice to revisit the entire album night after night through a full tour would be a method for them to work through and rewrite that past, or at least their own personal associations to it. Maybe they would find a new affinity for the tracks or a connection to them, by getting over themselves and seeing the type of reception that they actually yield from their fanbase. Who knows, but the idea to do such things as incorporate pre-show interviews with Henry Rollins, added another dynamic to the bare-all approach of shining a spotlight at the elephant in the room. For one specific show at the 9:30 Club in DC, 6 fans were actually selected to have the opportunity to film the performance live. Furthermore, they were allowed to interview the band, finally asking the questions that they’ve always wanted to know. I’ve met J Mascis before and he doesn’t seem like the most talkative character. With the interviews surrounding what was arguably the most tumultuous time in their run as a band, it’s hard to think that things wouldn’t get interesting. While on the surface many people might think, “Who gives a fuck about this tour? Doesn’t the band hate BUG anyway?” in reality, this might be one of the more interesting avenues that they could have taken on at this stage in their career. It’s a loaded topic, a loaded album, and a loaded history.
Available on DVD and Blu-Ray, Dinosaur Jr – Bug Live At 9:30 Club: In The Hands Of The Fans DVD or Blu-Ray features the live fan’s recording of the performance, as well as the interviews between then and Dino, the one conducted by Rollins, and more. Our friends at MVD visual have offered us a copy of the release to give away to whichever one of yooz guyz wins the giveaway (below), with a choice between the DVD or Blu-Ray format.
Bug Live At 9:30 Club: In The Hands Of The Fans
Through an online contest, six fans are selected to film Dinosaur Jr. performing “Bug” in its entirety at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC, June 2011. Experience the fans’ joy as they witness a classic performance and meet their heroes face to face in an exclusive interview with the band. Under the awesome direction of Dave Markey (The Year Punk Broke), “In the Hands of the Fans” brings the fans closer to the band and the music closer to you. Includes bonus footage of Henry Rollins speaking candidly to Markey about the the band, and interviewing them on stage before the show.
- Freak Scene
- No Bones
- They Always Come
- Yeah We Know
- Let It Ride
- Pond Song
- The Post
- On Stage Interview with Henry Rollins
- Backstage Interview with the Fans
- J & Dave Markey Interview
- Rollins on the 9:30 Club
- Bonus Live Footage: In a Jar & The Wagon
THE CONTEST / GIVEAWAY:
*One winner will receive a copy of Dinosaur Jr. – Bug Live At 9:30 Club: In The Hands Of The Fans in their choice of either DVD or Blu-Ray formats. [Product details above]
HOW TO ENTER:
This contest is based around Dinosaur Jr’s notorious inability to communicate with each other and passive aggressive approach to handling things.
Think of an example of something that you find passive aggressive which “BUGS” you.
Post it in the comment section below.
There is no part 3. That’s all there is to the contest. It’s pretty easy… but you should probably read the fine print.
The Fine Print:
All entries must be received by Monday, March 5th at 11:59 pm to be eligible.
U.S. Residents only.
You can enter as many times as you want, but use a valid email so that we can contact you.
If you sign in w/Facebook, make sure your account accepts messages.
Winner will be chosen arbitrarily, based on our personal “favorite”, so try to be interesting.
If we are unable to contact the winner in a reasonable amount of time, a new winner will be chosen.
Smoke weed everyday (optional).
[If you have any intentions to post comments asking us to pick you, or asking when the winner will be announced… how about, just don’t do it? It’s pretty fucking obnoxious and it won’t help your chances.]