Dinosaur Jr’s Green Mind Turns 30

UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 23: READING FESTIVAL Photo of DINOSAUR JR and J MASCIS and DINOSAUR Jnr, L-R: Mike Johnson, J Mascis, Murph (?) - posed, group shot, backstage (Photo by Mick Hutson/Redferns)

There’s a valid reason why Dinosaur Jr.’s most allegiant fans allude to Green Mind as frontman J Mascis’ inaugural solo offering: He not only produced the band’s 1991 major label debut but arranged all 10 songs, and tracked all of the vocals, every guitar lick, and — having unceremoniously booted a detached Lou Barlow — each bassline. What’s more, he handled the drums on all but three of Green Mind’s tracks. Not surprisingly, Mascis doesn’t see it the same way.

“People say that, but it’s not really” a solo album, “because that wasn’t the intention,” Mascis explains, speaking to SPIN about the revered rock record, released 30 years ago today. “The drum parts, I had written for [longtime Dinosaur Jr.] drummer Murph. I wrote in his style. I wrote what I thought Murph would play. I would have played something entirely different if it was just me playing.”

Murph tells SPIN the late ‘80s marked “a murky period” for the groundbreaking Amherst, Massachusetts group, and insists that, while initially “kind of hurt and offended,” he harbors no regrets about his minimal involvement in the Green Mind sessions, which unfolded within New York City’s since-shuttered Sorcerer Sound Studios. 

“It really was when J was starting to kind of get his solo chops together,” Murph says; Mascis has released three solo studio albums since 2011. “He was really beginning to become, like, a real songwriter and composer, and I think Green Mind was really his first step into that.”

Green Mind, the follow-up to pre-grunge milestone Bug, marked J’s first foray into acoustic strumming. Gone were the dissonant guitar-driven punk rock vibes of previous offerings, and in their place, resplendent melodies, pacified rhythms, and intimate, introspective lyrics.

 

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