19 Sep 2014

A few words with Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis

8:24 am on 19 September 2014

Dinosaur Jr frontman J Mascis has been prolific in the last few years, tackling various film soundtracks, and releasing both solo material, and albums with those original bandmates Lou Barlow and Murph.

J Mascis, a man a few words and introspective thoughts.

J Mascis, a man a few words and introspective thoughts. Photo: Justin Lapriore

J Mascis famously referred to the guitar as a “wimpy instrument” in an interview with Spin magazine in the late 90s, and said that it was only halfway bearable when the volume and distortion were cranked up.  

His latest solo album Tied To A Star shows a softer side though, with some contemplative sections of acoustic finger-picking, and a heavy dose of Buddhist philosophy.

Mascis has a guru in India who gives him spiritual and practical advice.

“She goes on tour around the world and people line up to get a hug from her … She’s big on selfless service, like helping people. She’s got a lot of charities and she has a free hospital for the poor in India.”

Influence of meditation find way into music in different ways, including playing with a lot of people he wouldn’t have played with otherwise.

One project was working on a film soundtrack about a kirtan yoga chant singer, Krishna Das, that came about through personal connections.

But Mascis doesn’t see much similarity between his music and a kirtan chant, though the Indian influence has crept in. “I’ve done a record kind of like that and on the new record there’s a kind of an Indian sounding jam … so it’s definitely influenced by that.”

LISTEN to Kirsten Johnstone extract a few more words from J Mascis:


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