live’n’loud: Solo gig for Di­nosaur Jr’s J Mas­cis.................

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAYCONTENTS - – KATHY MC­CABE

THEY were the ar­chi­tects of al­ter­na­tive, the in­no­va­tors of in­die and set the stage for Nir­vana and the seis­mic shift of rock mu­sic more than 20 years ago.

Di­nosaur Jr forged the for­mula of un­de­ni­able hooks with walls of fuzzed-out gui­tar noise which made ears bleed and heads bang.

Front­man J Mas­cis, bassist Lou Bar­low and drum­mer Em­mett Jef­fer­son ‘‘Murph’’ Mur­phy railed in front of that nascent live com­mu­nity to be for­ever known as the moshpit.

While most of the ’90s front­men have ex­plored the pit­falls and pay-offs of the solo al­bum, to grow old grace­fully with their au­di­ence, Mas­cis has re­sisted un­til this year when he re­leased Sev­eral Shades of Why.

He has played un­plugged be­fore, but it was the sug­ges­tion of a trusted ally at his la­bel Sub Pop which steered him to dive into un­charted ter­ri­tory. The re­sults re­tain his DNA – the vo­cal rasp and gnarly fuzz – but with a del­i­cate touch and melodic beauty. Mas­cis says he had to be pa­tient while he waited for the songs to come.

‘‘Writ­ing for this al­bum with it in mind that it would be acous­tic brought up cer­tain rules. (If it) sounded too elec­tric, I would pass them up and wait for some­thing more ap­pro­pri­ate to think of,’’ he says.

J Mas­cis and Danny Wid­di­combe play The Sound­lounge, at Cur­rumbin RSL, on Satur­day. Doors open 7.30pm. Tick­ets are $36. ‘‘I tend to watch a lot of tele­vi­sion while I’m writ­ing. It helps when play­ing the gui­tar. I can watch tele­vi­sion at the same time. I’m into mul­ti­task­ing.’’

The bi­og­ra­phy on his la­bel’s web­site lists his at­tributes as ‘‘skier, golfer, song­writer, skate­boarder, record pro­ducer and mu­si­cian’’, although Mas­cis says he has not spent much time ski­ing or golf­ing of late.

‘‘I don’t seem to have the time it takes these days. Nei­ther do my friends. It used to be a good time to hang out with peo­ple, but it seems no­body has the time. We will have to re­tire,’’ he says.

One of the Syd­ney Fes­ti­val’s mar­quee acts, Mas­cis has had to ne­go­ti­ate the ex­pec­ta­tions of sto­ry­telling which peo­ple have now with solo shows.

‘‘I am too ner­vous to talk, but you never know. I want to just keep go­ing. Mostly it feels weird for me to start talk­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘The show is some­thing to do. I am not try­ing to con­quer any­thing – I amjust try­ing to make it to the end of the show with­out fall­ing apart. And there is more good news for his devo­tees. The lat­est Di­nosaur Jr re­union will ex­tend to a new record next year.

J Mas­cis in solo mode at the Falls Fes­ti­val, in Lorne, Vic­to­ria, on New Year’s Eve

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