Indie legend Dinosaur Jr. returns from extinction

Mascis’ responses tend to be of the clipped, yes-or-no variety. He mumbles a lot, and the pauses between words could fill canyons. If he didn’t happen to be one of the most gifted and unique artists in rock music, it would be damned annoying.

“I don’t like (interviews) especially,” he said. Pause. “Phone interviews are harder.” Long pause. “It just depends.”

The slacker voice doesn’t match the music. As the driving force behind Dinosaur Jr., Joseph Donald Mascis has produced some of the fiercest, loudest and most passionate rock ‘n’ roll since Chuck Berry picked up a Gibson.

The band’s signature sound, a blend of distortion-heavy guitars and disaffected lyrics, presaged much of the Nineties’ alt-rock scene. And in a post-punk milieu that scoffed at such things, Mascis helped make guitar solos cool again.

The trio’s combustible mix of personalities, however, fueled constant drama. In the end, the three members barely spoke to one another. But time heals all wounds.

“It’s like a family,” Mascis said. “You don’t pick your family, and you might not get along with them sometimes.”

Phil Bacharach

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