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- Posted on Jun 23rd 2011 4:30PM by Cameron Matthews
While this tour is a celebration of the album, the era of 'Bug' wasn't all smooth sailing for Mascis, drummer Murph and bassist Lou Barlow, who was kicked out of the band shortly after completing the album. The band's slow disintegration affected the sessions, and though it produced an incredible album, it also marked the beginning of the end for Dinosaur Jr. Spinner spoke with Mascis about his lasting memories of 'Bug,' some of which may surprise you.
It's been 22 years since 'Bug' was released. What's your favorite memory from the recording sessions?
Um, maybe just like listening back to 'Freak Scene' and how it came out. Thought it sounded pretty good.
I remember ... certain people coming to see us and being surprised or something. Like Jesus and Mary Chain or Fetus or something coming to our shows around then. And I was just like "Why would these guys want to come to our shows?" [laughs]
I did most of [the recording] by myself. Me and Lou and Murph were in the studio for like two days then I spent another couple weeks by myself doing it.
Did you have any idea 'Bug' would be as big as it is now?
No. I had no idea about anything back then.
When you listen to the record now is there anything you wish you could change?
I don't really think like that. It's just like ... a photograph. Kind of a moment in time captured.
What do you like most about 'Bug?'
I mean, I don't love it that much. It's like my least favorite album. It just reminds me of a bad time, and then the band falling apart.
Yeah, it was Lou's last record with Dinosaur Jr. before you guys reunited. Do you guys look back and laugh at how the band used to be or have you avoided talking about it?
Oh, I don't know [laughs nervously]. I'll see when we start playing it. I'm not sure what it'll bring up.
Your band has always had a wonderfully charming lo-fi aesthetic. Do you think that type of sound is missing within modern music?
I think there's definitely a lot of lo-fi stuff happening now especially when people are recording their own stuff. I usually hate most music that's going on at any one time but like some stuff. It's kind of the same now.
What bands are you into that are doing the lo-fi thing these days?
I like Magik Markers. Awesome Color.
In the book 'Our Band Could Be Your Life,' it was reported that while you were recording 'Bug' Lou sang 'Don't' with such vigor that he coughed up blood. Is that true?
[Laughs loudly] Yeah! That's true.
What did you do?
Keep rollin'! [Laughs] I don't think it was a hospital [thing]. He broke a few blood vessels or something. It was good for effect.
After all this time how does the original lineup feel on stage?
Oh, you know. Pretty similar. Feels pretty solid I guess. I guess Murph is mostly the variable these days and me and Lou seem to be far-more on. And Murph is kind of like the "question mark" on whether he's gonna play well.
How do you go about writing your more romantic material? Is it based in reality or is it fictional?
I don't think it's very literal for anything. It's more fictional or a lot of times there's the third-person thing, like people asking me things. [I] try to write from somebody talking to me's perspective. Once in a while it's just me, talking.
It doesn't necessarily have to be truthful?
No. It could be anything.
Given the nature of your live shows, How can you possibly still hear?
Well, earplugs I guess.
It's just fun to physically feel the air moving and stuff. That's why I always wore earplugs because I wanted that sensation. I had come from drumming, which gave me a lot more of that sensation. Guitar seems much less physical, so I wanted to make it more physical somehow by playing loud.
How do the experiences differ?
Drumming is fun, it's more therapeutic somehow, just pounding on drums. I guess singing is the hardest thing. Playing guitar is the easiest but playing guitar and singing is harder than playing drums. Singing, you never know if your voice is gonna be there, if you're sick or something. Yeah, I guess it's funner to play drums ultimately and it's easiest to play guitar and not sing.
Anything going on with your side project Witch?
Trying to get it together, it's just hard with everyone's schedules.
Henry Rollins will be interviewing you guys before your upcoming tour. How did this come about and do you have any idea what he'll be asking you?
I don't know him really well. We're acquaintances. We asked him if he wanted to do stand-up and he said he wanted to interview us on stage. I just thought it was too weird, I guess, to not try it. I can't really imagine what it'll be like. I'm sure it'll be entertaining [laughs].
I doubt he would ask the same questions every night, but you never know. I'm sure we wouldn't have the same answers every night.