J. Mascis and Lou Barlow from indie-alt band Dinosaur Jr. may no longer be embroiled in an explosive feud, but they aren’t exactly back to fully collaborating again either.
Mascis booted Barlow from Dinosaur Jr. in 1989, just as the band was about to score a major record deal. The reason? The feud started when Barlow became tired of seeing his tracks either completely left off an album or stuffed into the back.
“My songwriting is not the predominant voice of the records,” Barlow told Colorado Public Radio in 2016. “It makes perfect sense to stick mine at the end of either side of the record and kind of buried at the end. I’m the guy who writes the two songs on the records. And that’s a time-honored, very long tradition.”
Lou Barlow says there was never tension with J. Mascis musically
The two spent more than a decade icing each other out. But they buried the hatchet in 2005 and decided to take the conflict down to at least a simmer. “A lot of this last 11 years is evolving and getting rid of some baggage along the way,” Barlow told CPR.
Barlow admitted that while they stopped feuding, he didn’t view the relationship as “all’s well that ends well” either. “Everything seems to work out in the end for me?” he told C-Ville in 2014. I don’t personally feel that way, but I can see how it would seem like that. To me, the future is never solid.”
He then said the two musicians came back together because they never disagreed about the music itself. “The music is just really good,” he said. “That has always been the most important thing for me through all of it. Dinosaur Jr. was a pretty good band, and that’s more important than personal issues and everything else.”
Barlow added that he’s putting the music first, which he also does for his band Sebadoh. “I don’t know if there was ever any tension between us musically,” he remarked. “We’ve always kind of shared tastes and musical ambitions. It is kind of the same for me personally since we got back together. But like I said, the music is the most important thing. That goes for Sebadoh too. For me, it is always about helping other people realize their musical ambitions.”
But J. Mascis and Lou Barlow are not on speaking terms
“J. makes me laugh,” he told Bandcamp in 2016. “He’s incredibly dry and has a pretty harsh sense of humor that I enjoy. But we’re not chatting. I don’t really have friends in general. I never have. I didn’t go to college and didn’t have friends in high school. I live a very domestic life.”
“My family is the epicenter of my life,” Barlow reflected. “Literally everything I do is either write songs and play music, or I’m immersed in my domestic life. I don’t think I’ve ever said, ‘Hey, I’m gonna go out tonight and hang out with the guys!’ Music is the glue for my relationship with J. and 90% of the male friends I’ve ever had.”
Mascis had only a few words to say about his reunion with Barlow. The Guardian asked him how his relationship with Barlow was today. His reply, “Um … ok.”
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