Dinosaur Jr.

Dinosaur Jr.

Henry Rollins Interviews Dinosaur Jr. Live, OFF!

Sat, June 25

8:00 pm


Sold Out

Performing "Bug" in its entirety

Dinosaur Jr. - (Set time: 10:55 PM)

Let's face facts -- in 2016 it is remarkable that there's a new Dinosaur Jr. album to go ape over. After all, the original line-up of the band (J Mascis, Lou Barlow & Murph) only recorded three full albums during their initial run in the 1980s. Everyone was gob-smacked when they reunited in 2005. Even more so when they opted to stay together, as they have for 11 years now. And with the release of Give a Glimpse, this trio has released more albums in the 21st Century than they did in the 20th. It's enough to make a man take a long, thoughtful slug of maple-flavored bourbon and count some lucky stars.

Last year, 2015, saw the amazing live shows Dinosaur Jr. played to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their eponymous debut LP. There were too damn many guest stars poking their noses into songs and amps for some of us, but the shebang was upful enough, and the songs they were celebrating are amazing enough, that it was tough to gripe. But essentially that was a nostalgia fest -- a very fine nostalgia fest -- but it's the future that beckons the living. So you have to be pretty damn chuffed that the band has managed to pull another magnificent rabbit out of their collective hat.

The songs on Give a Glimpse were recorded over the past year or so, again at Amherst's Bisquiteen Studio. The sound is great and roaring with J's various bleeding-ear psychedelic guitar touches oozing their way into the smudge-pop modeling, while Murph's drums pound like Fred Flintstone's feet, and Lou's bass weaves back and forth between proggy melodicism and post-core thug-hunch.

Of the 11 songs presented, nine are J's. Mascis has had so many projects going at various times -- from the retro glam of Sweet Apple to the metal dunt of Witch to the ostrich-rock overload of Heavy Blanket -- it's always a little shocking he can compartmentalize well enough to keep his tunes with Dinosaur Jr. sounding so instantly recognizable. Which is not to say they're interchangeable, it's just that he has a very idiosyncratic way of structurally assembling and presenting the songs. Even when they're not being played in concert (with amps turned to 12, and vibrating 'til they glow red).the way he hits his guitar strings has a unique quality that immediately lets you know you're listening to Dino. It's a very cool trick, and something only a small percentage of guitarists ever manage.

The other two songs here were written and sung by Lou, and they're quite great as well. Although Barlow's template and palette are more mercurial and shifting (as they are with his other ongoing projects, like Sebadoh), the two here have a consonant resonance. Both songs carry the same vibe as Roger McGuinn's great early sides with the Byrds (although this has to do more with spirit than specific notes), reminding us that albums like Fifth Dimension and Notorious Byrd Brothers were among the main models for East Coast bands like the Soft White Underbelly. “Love Is...” and “Left/Right” represent the same kind of style displacement.

Mascis' songs offer a lot of formal style moves as well. Over the last three decades, J's songwriting has continued to pursue confusion, isolation and mis-communication as its main themes (which is one of the reasons he's always been the artist-of-choice for so many misfits), but he has really worked on the craft of songwriting, and he's constantly improving his ability to convey these feelings rather than merely inhabit them. “Lost All Day” might be the most eloquently sad of the songs on Give a Glimpse, but my favorite is probably “Mirror,” which comes off like the best song Blue Oyter Cult didn't record for Agents of Fortune. The opening (and repeating) line, “I've been crawling around since I met you,” branded itself onto my brain the instant I heard it. But then, “Goin' Down” (not the Freddie King tune) is a stone classic as well. And “Tiny” has the prettiest pop architecture. “Be A Part” continually makes me flash on the first time I heard “Cowgirl in the Sand.” “I Told Everyone” is almost like a Bowie tribute when you hear it from another room. “Good to Know” has the record's most insane guitar solo. “I Walk for Miles” contains the most thuggish riffs. “Knocked Around” features the most elegant use of falsetto. And the whole damn thing is great.

With all the insanity that is stalking the Earth in 2016, it's nice to have something to rely on. Who'd've dared to think it'd be Dinosaur Jr.?
Henry Rollins Interviews Dinosaur Jr. Live - (Set time: 10:15 PM)
Henry Rollins Interviews Dinosaur Jr. Live
"In the '90s, Henry Rollins emerged as a post-punk renaissance man, without the self-conscious trappings that plagued such '80s artists as David Byrne. Following Black Flag's breakup in 1986, Rollins was been relentlessly busy, recording albums with the Rollins Band, writing books and poetry, performing spoken word tours, writing a magazine column in Details, acting in several movies, and appearing on radio programs and, less frequently, as an MTV VJ. The Rollins Band's records are uncompromising, intense, cathartic fusions of hard rock, funk, post-punk noise, and jazz experimentalism, with Rollins shouting angry, biting self-examinations and accusations over the grind. On his spoken word albums, he is remarkably more relaxed, showcasing a hilariously self-deprecating sense of humor that is often absent in his music. All the while, he has kept his artistic integrity, becoming a kind of father figure for many alternative bands of the '90s.

Rollins was born Henry Garfield in Washington, D.C., on February 13, 1961. He performed in local hardcore bands as a teenager, and one night when his heroes Black Flag came to town, he leaped up on-stage and began singing with them. Shortly thereafter, when Flag vocalist Dez Cadena decided to switch to guitar, the band invited Rollins to audition, and he became their new lead singer. By the time Black Flag broke up in 1986, Rollins had not only garnered a reputation as one of the fiercest performers in hardcore punk, but had already begun touring as a spoken word performer. Rollins made his recording debut as a solo artist in 1987 with Hot Animal Machine and also issued his first spoken word album, Big Ugly Mouth, that year (as well as the Drive by Shooting EP, recorded as Henrietta Collins & the Wifebeating Childhaters).

Following Hot Animal Machine, Rollins assembled a backing unit, the Rollins Band, which featured soundman Theo Van Ronk, guitarist Chris Haskett, and the former rhythm section of Black Flag guitarist Greg Ginn's side project Gone: bassist Andrew Weiss and drummer Simeon "Sim" Cain. Not counting several live recordings made in Holland in 1987, the Rollins Band made their studio debut with 1988's Life Time, followed quickly by the outtakes/live collection Do It. 1989 saw the release of a new Rollins Band album, Hard Volume, and the spoken word set Sweatbox; they were followed in 1990 by the live set Turned On and yet another lengthy spoken word release, Live at McCabe's.

1991 was a pivotal year for Rollins, for better and worse. The Rollins Band inked a deal with Imago that promised much-improved distribution, and they also appeared on the Lollapalooza tour. But in December of that year, Rollins and his best friend, Joe Cole, were held up by gunmen waiting outside of Rollins' L.A. home. Cole was fatally shot in the head; the devastating trauma of the incident never quite left Rollins and occasionally (though indirectly) informed his subsequent work. In 1992, with Human Butt, Rollins began releasing his spoken word albums through 2.13.61, the publishing imprint he'd founded in 1984. In addition to Rollins' own work, both recorded and written, 2.13.61 grew during the '90s to include literary works by rock artists like Exene Cervenka and Nick Cave, plus material by acclaimed authors like Henry Miller and Hubert Selby, Jr., among others. 1992 also saw the Rollins Band debut for Imago with The End of Silence, which some found to be his most focused music yet and gave Rollins his first charting album. The spoken word double disc The Boxed Life appeared in 1993, and toward the end of the year, Rollins Band bassist Weiss was replaced by Melvin Gibbs.

1994 became Rollins' breakout year thanks to the one-two punch of Weight -- the best-reviewed and most popular Rollins Band album to date, which cracked Billboard's Top 40 -- and Get in the Van: On the Road with Black Flag, a double-disc set of readings from Rollins' memoir of the same name that won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Recording. Additionally, the Rollins Band performed a well-received set at Woodstock '94. With all the increased visibility, Rollins became a genuine phenomenon; Details magazine chose him as their Man of the Year in 1994 and wound up making him a contributing columnist. Primed by appearances on MTV and VH1, Rollins also made his film debut that year in The Chase and went on to appear in movies like Johnny Mnemonic, Heat, and Lost Highway over the next few years.

Unfortunately, Imago was out of business by 1995, leaving the Rollins Band in temporary limbo until they secured a deal with DreamWorks in 1997. In the meantime, Rollins undertook a jazz/poetry experiment with Everything, which featured musical backing by avant-garde luminaries Charles Gayle (saxophone) and Rashied Ali (drums). The Rollins Band debuted for DreamWorks in 1997 with Come in and Burn, which failed to earn the acclaim of the group's previous few albums. Black Coffee Blues appeared the same year, and like Get in the Van, it featured a series of readings from a Rollins book of the same name. In 1998, Rollins released Think Tank, his first true set of non-book-related spoken word material in five years.

By this point, Rollins felt that his partnership with the Rollins Band had run its course, as their music grew more experimental and less unremittingly intense. He had been producing a Los Angeles hard rock trio called Mother Superior and wound up inviting the band -- guitarist Jim Wilson, bassist Marcus Blake, and drummer Jason Mackenroth -- to back him as a brand-new incarnation of the Rollins Band. The first fruits of this new collaboration were released in 2000 as the album Get Some Go Again. It was followed in 2004 by Weighting. A new spoken word release, Rollins in the Wry, followed in 2001, culling performances from Rollins' residency at the L.A. club Luna Park during the summer of 1999. Another live album, The Only Way to Know for Sure, appeared in the summer of 2002. Three volumes of Talk Is Cheap, taken from a two-night stand in Sydney, Australia, were released in 2003 and 2006. A fourth volume followed in 2007, this time recorded at San Jose State University in California." - Steve Huey, AllMusicGuide
OFF! - (Set time: 9:15 PM)
The individual roots established by Keith Morris (Black Flag/Circle Jerks), Dimitri Coats (Burning Brides), Steven McDonald (Redd Kross), and Mario Rubalcaba (Earthless/Hot Snakes/Rocket From the Crypt) are uniquely woven throughout the rock music canon. Each has challenged society's cyclical and complacent ideals in their own respective bands, and three decades on they've never strayed from their intentions.

Now they come together as a four-piece called OFF! and they're as confrontational as ever, lunging inside the aesthetic of West Coast hardcore to push life's most provocative issues to the forefront. The pinch-hitting First Four EPs box set – available November 23rd via Vice Music – marks their explosive approach for a total of 16 songs in just under 18 minutes. The band split its recording into only two sessions, with the first nine songs completed in January 2010, while the latter half was hammered out on August 25th. The limited edition 7", 1st EP, is out October 12th and it's your official entry to OFF!'s dark party.

Keith Morris has been a seminal figure in the American punk movement since the late '70s, having been a founding member and vocalist for the infamous L.A. band, Black Flag. After the group issued their groundbreaking 1979 debut, Nervous Breakdown EP, Morris left to form the Circle Jerks. Together the band issued six studio albums, including their seminal first album, Group Sex, in 1980, and 1983's standout Golden Shower of Hits.

Steven McDonald has had his hand not only in the Los Angeles rock scene, but in the international rock scene for over three decades, having co-founded the alternative-rock band Redd Kross (aka Red Cross) in 1978 at the tender age of 11 years old. In the early days of the LA punk scene, Redd Kross shared countless bills with Morris and Black Flag as well as a rehearsal space at the now infamous Church in Hermosa Beach, CA. As a producer Steven has worked with a myriad of varied artist; from the indie pop sensations Imperial Teen to the full blown deathpunk spectacle of Norway's Turbonegro. As an artist, he has continued to rock audiences worldwide, not only with his mainstays OFF! and Redd Kross, but with other legendary artists such as Beck and Sparks, to name but just a few.

Dimitri Coats began the visceral alternative rock stylings of Burning Brides in 1999. The trio went on to issue four albums, including their latest, the critically acclaimed Anhedonia, in 2008. The band has toured extensively with such acts as the White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age, and Mastodon. Coats also stars as the lead villain in the film, Suck, also starring Malcolm McDowell, Iggy Pop, Henry Rollins, Alice Cooper and more.

Mario Rubalcaba hails from San Diego, having recorded and toured with Earthless, as well as Rocket From the Crypt and Hot Snakes. During the 1980s and early 1990s, he made a name for himself as a professional skateboarder for Tony Alva's (of the celebrated Z-Boys crew), Team Alva.

What formalized in late 2009 was a mix of fate and irony. Coats signed on as producer for what was to be the Circle Jerks' first album in 14 years. But it was during breaks in the studio that Morris and Coats created a few raw demos of their own material, and through that, a strong collaboration took shape. McDonald and Rubalcaba were added to the lineup to sire the propulsive force that is OFF!

"I didn't know what kind of ride it was going to be," Morris says. "But I walked away incredibly blown away. The intuition, the gut feeling, and the immediacy, it just blew up. The best way that I can describe it would be, with me coming from a band called Black Flag and the history that I have with Steven having been in Redd Kross, and taking that vibe and mixing it up like Led Zeppelin had at their highest energy level."

"It's been an inspiring kick in the pants," McDonald says. "One that is so vitally rebellious and anti-establishment."

Coats adds, "One of the many great things about this band is that the first time we ever locked ourselves into a room together and played these songs, it happened very fast. It pretty much sounded like it does if we walk on stage tomorrow. It was pretty intense."

The term "dark party" is something Coats likes to refer to when describing the muscle behind OFF!'s songs and each one aims for that bull's eye. Delving into the social and political chaos of the time is heavily weighed throughout, particularly on Coats' ravaged riffs of "Upside Down" and "Darkness." "Black Thoughts" is equally intense with Rubalcaba's and McDonald's riotous delivery, while Morris' fiery disposition during "I Don't Belong" is another reminder why hardcore mattered in the first place.

Morris continues to be moved by some of this noise coming from the outside when it comes to he and Coats writing music. "I've seen all of this stuff and it still bothers me. Times get tough and the economy gets tough. There's more cars, more crime, and people work longer, and the politicians get slicker and become better liars. You think 'Well' and you just throw your arms up say, 'Hey whatever,' but that's not the way that I am. A lot of that comes through the stuff that we're doing."

McDonald also credits OFF!'s time in the studio as quite in the moment, and such an approach really stands true to the songs themselves. "As far as executing this music, it's been easy," says McDonald. "We've all been playing for a long time and [with this project] we didn't think we needed to polish this. It should sound like the first time we ever played it, and I think we documented that."

The First Four EPs will be available as a four EP 7" collection showcasing the artwork of Raymond Pettibon. The American artist is best known for his black and white drawings, which provided a backdrop for Black Flag's overall visual presentation during the late '70s and early '80s, and Sonic Youth's unforgettable Goo cover, among others. Pettibon is also regarded as OFF!'s honorary fifth member and will design all sleeve art for the box set as well as the limited edition poster for the first EP.

"[In Black Flag], part of our deal was to make a lot of noise and to irritate and bum out as many people as possible," Morris says. "Now, this is what we do and Raymond senses that kind of quality."

"There's a dark sarcasm that's prevalent throughout his body of work and it fits with what we're trying to get across with our band," adds Coats.

Armed with only a handful of songs and no stage time, OFF! made their live debut at South By Southwest in Austin in March 2010. Such a move was incredibly bold and defiant to the industry standards, and it was exactly how it was supposed to be for OFF!

"It wasn't a total conscious decision to make those [SXSW shows] our live debut," Rubalcaba says. "We just thought that we were ready to get it onto the stage, and that immediacy just took over. We felt that in one weekend, we could play to people from all over the country and the world, and in turn just push [OFF!] even further.

That force propelled the band to their first hometown show in downtown L.A. in May, when they played to over 1,200 people at The 6th St. Warehouse for what has become one of the hardcore scene's most pivotal and historical shows of the last 20 years. The room was decked with Pettibon's signature work and its legal capacity only allowed for 250 people. But as the free beer flowed and as the mass of bodies swelled inside, a monumental space in time was rising. The band's set inside a skate ramp only lasted 18 minutes. Morris likes to say that there was something in the air that night. It was more than just a show.

"What took place was that the neighborhood surrounding the warehouse was near other similar spaces and with the volume of people there, they turned the neighborhood into an art walk with other musicians. It wasn't about OFF! It wasn't about Raymond Pettibon. It wasn't about the free beer. It was about this thing that would have happened 25-30 years ago and it would have been the same thing that would have happened at a Black Flag show."

It was there that OFF! reached into the crucial creativity of years past to resurrect its rawness for the present. The dark party rages on.
Venue Information:
9:30 Club
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001