Selected by Dan Grunebaum

J. Mascis

J. Mascis


Before grunge there was something called indie-rock (remember?!), and one of its leading men was J. Mascis, who at the front of his Dinosaur Jr. outfit gave a gritty, slightly off-key voice to the wimps and losers of the world, years before Cobain and Co. formed Nirvana. For two nights in February, Mascis will return to remind us hes still around, when he steps out in front with new band the Fog in a brief Japan tour to introduce his recent album, More Light.

There was never any doubt that J. Mascis, a notoriously difficult individual, in effect equaled Dinosaur Jr., the band he formed in the college town of Amherst, Massachusetts in 1983. A string of releases like 1987s You' Living All Over Me and 1988’s Bug on leading indie label SST crept insistently up the college charts, earning the band a growing fan base.

With his off-kilter chord progressions and monster guitar solos, Mascis was a major influence on the burgeoning grunge movement, writing songs that were intensely personal before notables like Kurt Cobain came along.

Dinosaur Jr. briefly disbanded in 1989, mainly as an excuse for Mascis to drop bassist Lou Barlow, who went on to form Sebadoh. After sitting in on drums with a succession of bands, Mascis reformed Dinosaur Jr. in 1991, releasing their first major label recording Green the same year.

Ironically, Nirvana supported Dinosaur Jr. on their Green tour. And, while Dinosaur Jr. were hailed as godfathers of grunge after Nirvana’s success and the alternative rock breakthrough, they never received even a fraction of the adulation accorded to Nirvana, and seemed content to remain cult favorites.

In 1996, Mascis released his solo debut, Martin and Me, and soon disbanded Dinosaur Jr. after their final 1997 album Hand It Over.

Issued this past September, More Light has been hailed as Mascis'best album in years. NME puts its stamp of approval on the work, gushing, “Coated in blatant ’70s AOR rock, casually tossed-away guitar solos and a liberal splash of that trademark guitar fuzz, a timely reminder of his pervading influence."

In a recent in-store performance at a Tokyo HMV, Mascis put down his electric guitar and performed songs from More Light on unaccompanied acoustic guitar, hypnotizing the audience and providing a taste of what concertgoers can expect from a still-burning light in the rock firmament.

J. Mascis plays at On Air East on Feb 13 and Akasaka Blitz on Feb 17. See listings for details.

Concert Listings
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel


392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana