Five Awesomely Awkward J Mascis Interviews


Let us not ask too much of J Mascis. The Dinosaur Jr. frontman has given us much already: classic albums, amazing videos, monster solos befitting the name Dinosaur Jr, scientific proof that not all post-reunion albums need suck. And now, he’s also given us a lovely acoustic album, Several Shades Of Why and accompanying solo tour.

Fortunately/unfortunately, Mascis has not given the world a great deal of interviews to support his new project. Which is something of a loss, because as the good people at the AV Club pointed out last week, Mascis is one of the most hilariously disinterested interview subjects possible. Here are five of Mascis’s most awkward interviews, for your cringing enjoyment.

1. The One In Which Mascis Says He Doesn’t Like Playing Guitar.

In 1989, Spin sent reporter Erik Davis to profile Dinosaur Jr. for one of the first big profile pieces for an American magazine about the band. Our man didn’t disappoint:

And why does J enjoy playing at high volume? “It’s basically because I don’t like to play. The guitar’s such a wimpy instrument, and it’s the only way to make it halfway bearable. I mean I like listening to guitar, but to me it’s never loud enough because it’s so weird and undynamic an instrument.”
“You really don’t like to play guitar?”
“Why do you do it?”

2. The One In Which Mascis Says He Likes Lou Barlow Better When He Doesn’t Talk. A couple years, one Lollapalooza stint and a Spike Jonze video later, someone found himself on the cover of Spin with the headline “J Mascis Is God.”

It’s likely no one was more confused by this development than J. He was clearly blown away by the opportunity (“Interviews are stupid. Most of the time they want to talk about the album. I have nothing to say about it. It’s an album, listen to it.”) and took the time to give an nuanced, delicate explanation for why the band was (at the time) no longer working with founding member/Sebadoh leader Lou Barlow. “It was fine until he started talking,” Mascis explains. “Lou didn’t talk for years, and then he got a girlfriend and started talking. I realized I didn’t like what he had to say.”

3. The One In Which He Shouts Out a Soap Opera. So how do Dinosaur Jr. spend their days, anyway? “Come home. Go to somebody’s house. Sit there for a while. Come home. Watch All My Children. Go to sleep.”

4. The One In Which Mascis Renounces That Widely Reported Television Habit. In this interview of unknown origin, Mascis says he doesn’t really watch that much TV and then offers this exchange:

“My friend said people think I’m lazy because I talk so slow.”
“Why do you talk so slow?”
“I don’t know. I guess because I’m lazy.”

5. The One In Which Mascis Admits That What Powers His Guitar Solos Are “Very Weird Thoughts.” And one more from the Spin archives. In fairness to J, there was probably no way an issue guest edited by the current cast of Saturday Night Live wouldn’t come out weird. Kudos to Tim Meadows for trying anyway:

“What do you think about when you’re doing your guitar solos?”
“Oh, you know, what’s for dinner and…very weird thoughts.”

For the record, this reporter interviewed Dinosaur Jr. drummer Murph once. Totally cool, talkative dude.