Sunday, June 22, 2008

Where You've Been

     My dear Wife gave me an ipod Nano for my birthday.  As many of you may know, it's a curious thing to select songs for said device.  I've discovered that ones I thought for sure I'd want on there, well, it turns out I really don't, and I don't know it until I'm out running, and the ABBA tune "Take A Chance On Me" comes on, fr'instance.  Not to slight the preternaturally blonde Scandinavian popsters--love 'em, been meaning to write about 'em--but do I really want that song on the ol' digital listening contraption?  No, I do not.  What I realized I do want more of is Dinosaur Jr, for some reason.  I first really, really got into J Mascis and pals back when I was attending (briefly) Hampshire College, up in Amherst, MA, which is J's hometown.  (I was talking to my therapist at the time about how much I liked the band--how does such a topic come up in therapy?  I don't know--and she said, "Oh, my sons were friends of his in high school."  How cool was that, at the time?  She was a lovely lady).  I saw them play a couple of times in Amherst.  At one of the shows, Murph broke a drumstick and the battered shard flew out into the crowd and landed in my hands somehow.  I still have it somewhere, I think.  I  saw J do an acoustic show at CBGB's later on when I was living in NYC and going to art school.  I remember looking over at one point and spying Matt Dillon in the crowd.  I always liked that guy.  I can't remember if it was around the same time or not, but I was once up in midtown--I don't know what I was doing exactly, maybe I had gone to a gallery or the Museum of Modern Art or something--and much to my surprise I spied J amid the bustling crowd.  Needless to say, he looked a little out of place.  He was wearing those big goofy glasses and a NASA baseball cap.  Perfect.  I didn't approach him, I just sort of slyly observed him for a few minutes, and he seemed to be taking in all the frenetic activity at his own pace, unperturbed.  I think he ended up going into the FAO Schwartz toy store, or maybe I just pictured him doing that as a private joke, I really can't recall.
     Dinosaur Jr was perfect music to go along with that college/art school period of my life.  Hell, I was miserable a lot of the time, and J's creaky voice, mopey lyrics and thunderous, nay, majestic guitar-playing provided solace of a sort.  I'm not one of those fans who say the early albums are the best (I remember hearing this idiot say that they weren't as good after they had to add the "Jr" for legal reasons!).  Green Mind is the one that really got me, and I also like Bug a whole lot.   I'll admit that I haven't listened to anything since Where You Been--and I'm guessing that not many people have listened to it either, so I figured I'd include a coupla tracks from it.  Cue up some sandblasting sonic power.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Dinosaur Jr is AMAZING and J is simply a living legend. I have never run into J out and about. That is very cool. Loved reading this.

I've actually had the same thing happen with the ABBA on the iPod!

The new album "Beyond" is outstanding and you should check it out.

Take care.