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Dinosaur Jr.

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. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine & Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Now The Fall / Ricochet (Single)

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Track List: Watch The Corners (Single)

Comments

Follow for follow
I think j. Has q voice that suits the song it wouldent be the same without it. It makes them them
The guitars are absolute genius.
What's up with the name? No, I'm not gunna waste my time googling them, but yes, that would give me a definite answer.
Pavement changed my life! They speak 2! Love it
I sometimes feel all alone in my love for this band. Nice to read there are more of us out there!
As much as I love Dinosaur Jr., and am willing to nominate J. Macsis as one of the best living guitarists.. . Macsis is also one of the worst vocalists in rock music. I'm listening to I Ain't Sayin', and he's singing so far back in his throat that his voice threatens to cut out - he literally does not have enough vocal power to sing on this track. Granted, sometimes his back-of-the- t h r o a t singing is part of the charm (particularl y on more acoustic tracks), but... sheesh...
Love! Love! Forever love!
Kick a**!
dougiliana
Dinosur Jr. is DA BAWMB!
Nirvana nothing. Dino Jr for eva!
Saw them for the first time at Riot Fest last month. Too short of a set but still AWESOME.
Sublime what in the world, they sound noting like that junk!!!
I've driven many of Michigan back roads blasting this cassette tape!!!
nicko252008
It's like if the violent femmes sucked. Bahahaha
Its Awesome, I Love This Sound.
Just reading the below comments. I saw Dinosaur Jr. 4 times with them three times as headliners and once as opening for Built to Spill. Their shows, audience included, have not changed for the past 20 yrs. So if you're plannin on goin to a show, bring your ear plugs because regardless if they're opening or headlining, J Mascis brings his amp stacks. lol
I saw Dinosaur Jr a couple months ago. Amazing.

J. Mascis and Sebadoh opened. No big deal, right?
They are showing the track "yeah we know" off of Bug, but the song playing is "the "leper" from dinosaur. C'mon Pandora get it right lol.
This band sound nothing like sublime. Need to go see these guys live.
They were in Portland 3 months ago and I missed it?? Terrible
Saw j and the fog at the grog shop in Cleveland.. Modern day jimmy Hendrix
dlambert489
This band sounds like Sublime.
The year punk broke... Need I say more
Yeah, I had no earplugs. My ears were ringing for a couple days, but oh so worth it
need 97's album hand it over, then its a wrap!
J is the man.
Saw them last month in Portland, Maine. Good show but stupid, stupid loud. If I didn't have ear plugs my ears would have been bleeding.
Does the retail version of Farm actually have two discs? I bought one online but it turned out to be a promotional copy (which somebody illegally sold to a used music store) with no liner notes or disc art.
you're livin all over me doesn't even sound right??? needs to be living.....
Weeeeeeeeeee e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e e !
the best.
strider9jone s
yea, es cool
i likes
snobb
eveybody snort coke
skirtsoplain
2nd best band of all time. Only Nirvana was better.
I saw J Mascis at the Metro in Chicago about 10 years ago. He brought his own speakers (like 50 of them) and piled them on the stage. Loudest concert I have ever seen...I had to leave. It was the only time I had ever left a concert before it was done.
one likes only godsmack-the other isn't sure what sex he is-but you what-its okay-everyth i n g is okay.david bowie has no soul btw-i don't mean soul like colored people but no soul like lucifer-insi d e bowie there is no one home-emotion a l l y he is vacant-he just writes catchy song.what does this have to do with anything ? it doesn't...
bad brains are boring-flipp e r were drug addicts whose shows were too chaotic to watch unless drunk-j,maci a s is a great guitar player,great drummer and great singer.origi n a l - y e a , h e ' s no fuckkin perry como but who in the hell is except maybe-vic damone.both fatty willow work for the santa clara disposal co. and then tell everyone they work in silicon valley-well technically speaking-the y do.
Mix in a throat soothing Halls menthol J Macis. You have a 20 year old sore throat for crying out loud.
DK,Bad Brains, ... The Dead Boys, The Battered Wives,...
FLIPPER, KILLSLUG, GREEN RIVER, MELVINS, LIPS, DINO ! RULE THE GALAXY! I agree with AoA (DBT kick it, too!). Blue fatty - stay blue and fatty.
brandonianfo o t s o l d i e r
His singing is perfect for dino jr
He's the worst best singer in the world.
dino,meat pupets are the 2 best rock bands in our country now that neil young is washed up-only drive by truckers come close and sonic youth.
well-that was a bit harsh- i like gothic music-theatr e of tragedy,cure , z o l a jesus IMAX -especially- b u t death metal,black metal,thrash much more and dino-meat puppets-old neil young when he was awesome-dron e ,doom,stoner ' s rock good punk,metalco r e , d e a t h c o r e , h i p hop if it was done by slick rick or big boi...
Thank God for the reunion tour when I saw 'em play outside in the parking lot in Tampa FL 2007 at some skateboard tournament/c o m p e t i t i o n . Freaking awesome....y o u n g kids didn't know what to think....exc e p t awesome. Barlow? on bass was playin' like a lead guitar dude.....yes , awesome.
number one-carlos-y o u are right-dino is invincible but what radio ? there is no more radio-even college radio is just indie thrown on by some kids who play the record once and then sit on it with their bubblegummed a** jeans.there is no radio.that why you and me are on pandora.i hope wherever you live there are great record stores.yes-c d ' s are expensive but wtf !
keep moving on....to madonna-or lady gaga...adios
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