Dinosaur Jr fans still mourning the trio’s recent split may regain their spirits with word that a slew of projects involving the Amherst, Mass.-based noise-rock band — in particular its leader, J Mascis — are currently in the works.
Former Dino Jr frontman Mascis is writing new material and has reached out to an array of producers — including the famed Brian Eno (David Bowie, U2); Daniel Lanois (Willie Nelson); Brendan O’Brien (Pearl Jam); Flood (U2); and Jack Joseph Puig (Michael Crawford) — for what will eventually become either another Dinosaur Jr record or a solo album from the singer/guitarist, to be released early next year, according to Mascis’ manager, Jonathan Cohen.
The trio, which broke up late last year after 14 years, first established itself on the indie-rock scene in 1987 with the release of You’re Living All Over Me and went on to release six full-length albums and numerous EPs, endearing itself to an audience that eagerly drank in a sound that was equal parts guitar noise and Mascis’ trademark whine.
In addition to the new material, a 15-track Dinosaur Jr greatest hits compilation is being assembled that Cohen said will contain “some obvious tracks, possible unreleased B-sides, and new material.” The collection tentatively bears the title 14 Years, ostensibly a tribute to the length of time Mascis and his various sidekicks spent performing under the Dinosaur Jr moniker.
“I think before J moves on to a new label, it’s important to get some closure,” said Cohen, who added that there is no release date planned for the collection at this time. “We thought it would be a good idea to offer the fan base some new things to chew on while they wait for the new record to come out.”
The alt-rock veterans, who were driven by the melancholy guitar wanderings of Mascis, decided to call it quits after they wrapped up their last U.S. tour in 1997 and found themselves without a record label (Reprise Records had dropped the group).
The band had been through several lineup changes over the years, with Mascis remaining the only constant. Original bassist and Dino co-founder Lou Barlow left the group in 1988 to form Sebadoh. His departure led to a string of temporary replacements, including Gumball’s Don Fleming and the Screaming Trees’ Van Connor, before the band settled on Mike Johnson in 1992. Original drummer Murph left the band in 1994. After Mascis himself handled drum duties for a stint, George Berz was brought on as the band’s new full-time drummer.
The critically-acclaimed group released its last album, Hand It Over, early in 1997, but as it had through most of its career, found little commercial success.
For those who truly can’t be sated of their craving for Mascis’ guitar wizardry, there’s yet another project, an album with tracks culled from three BBC Radio One sessions recorded between 1989 and 1995. Cohen said the untitled compilation is slated for a winter release on Pinnacle Entertainment’s Strange Fruit label in the U.K. and listed the 10 tracks as: “Raisins”; “Does It Float”; “The Leper”; “Bulbs of Passion”; “Keep the Glove”; “In A Jar”; “Get Me”; “Keeblin’”; “Budge”; and “No Bones.”
Cohen added that further Mascis plans in the hopper include what he described as a website with a scheduled winter launch, which would feature “J TV” and include broadcasts of Mascis every couple weeks playing live and talking to fans and guests.