Dinosaur Jr’s J. Mascis lists 10 albums that changed his life
It goes without saying that Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis is one of the best and most influential singers, songwriters, and guitar players in alternative rock history, but every influential artist has the music that shaped their lives, and J has now made a list of 10 albums that changed his life for Music Radar. He presents the list roughly in order of when he got into each album, starting with the '70s rock and hard rock he grew up on, then moving into punk, hardcore, post-punk, and early alternative rock, and ending with the two albums he says he studied when his hardcore band Deep Wound was over and he was wanting to play guitar in a new band, Wipers' Over the Edge and The Stooges' self-titled debut. Here's his full list:
* Deep Purple - Machine Head (1972)
* Black Sabbath - Sabotage (1975)
* The Rolling Stones - Exile On Main Street (1972)
* Ron Wood - I've Got My Own Album To Do (1974)
* Buzzcocks - Singles Going Steady (1979)
* Eater - The Album (1977)
* The Faith/Void - Split (1982)
* The Birthday Party - Junkyard (1982)
* Wipers - Over The Edge (1983)
* The Stooges - The Stooges (1969)
J gave commentary on each pick, which you can read over at Music Radar, and here's a cool excerpt about Sabotage:
I got to interview Ozzy on the phone once and he didn’t like Sabotage, so I asked him why he didn’t like it and he just said because there were all these lawyers in the room, it was a bad time and it just reminded him of that, which I understood because I had that kind of feeling with the Bug album, with Dinosaur Jr. It reminds me of a bad time with the band.
Ozzy was great ‘cos he just answered all the questions that I had. Like, boom, boom, boom! It was awesome! Like, my favourite line is, ‘Smoking and tripping is all that you do’, and I was asking him about writing songs and he was like, ‘Blah blah blah, Geezer wrote most of the songs. I wrote some of the stuff.’ I asked him, ‘Who wrote that line?’ He said, ‘That was me!’ That line… [Laughs].
I saw them live about five years ago for the first time and I was struck by Iommi. I had never thought about Iommi as a guitarist. I just thought that the sound of Sabbath as one thing, but live he really shined and I was really impressed with his guitar playing, and it was interesting to see them play. He definitely stood out as being the most awesome. It was cool. Yeah, you see with the album, I just hear the whole thing and I don’t think of the parts. Seeing him play made me realise how good he was.
About the influences that specifically shaped his guitar playing, he said "Over The Edge by the Wipers and the first Stooges albums were what I took to learn how to play guitar. Those were the albums I was trying to make to make my own music, and then I still had a holdover from the Stones, Mick Taylor and Keith. So those were my four guitar influences starting out." He also added that Wipers vocalist/guitarist Greg Sage's 1985 solo album Straight Ahead was an influence ("I got a lot of inspiration from that when he put out the solo album and he’s playing on the acoustic guitar, but it’s still coming through an amp so it’s not fully acoustic but acoustic enough"), and he called The Stooges' self-titled album "still the best sound I’ve heard for guitar on a recording." Read more here.
Dinosaur Jr are gearing up for a tour with Clutch and Red Fang, and they'll also play the new Catskills, NY music festival Cave Mountain, alongside Weezer, Albert Hammond Jr, Sheer Mag, and more.