Excerpt: An Interview with J Mascis

On a cool and rainy evening, a large orange tour bus hums outside of an 18th-century Catholic church that has been converted into a concert venue. Attached to the bus is a black utility trailer filled with T-shirts and music equipment and the general disrepair that a tightly packed space takes on after a months-long trip across the United States. As the side door opens, it reveals a cluster of bicycles neatly tucked in behind the merchandise and gear. “Hold this,” J Mascis remarks, handing me the keys as he rolls his bright-yellow Salsa Warbird out of the trailer. “I got a bell because I don’t yell.” The paint is fading from exposure to the sun and weather; there are scratches and scuffs from being stored in the trailer and locked to street signs; purple flat pedals contrast the color of the frame but also match Mascis’ hat and sweatshirt. A rear rack is attached to the seatpost, another small bag is attached to the top tube and the bar tape is fraying in spots; it’s the last night of the tour and both Mascis and his bike seem like they are ready for a break. We chat for a few more minutes about bikes and music while the misty rain creates a dusty shine on our sweatshirts. I say thank you and walk back to my car.


Dirt Rag’s digital strategist and lead photographer, Brett Rothmeyer, got the chance to interview one of the idols of his youth, musician J Mascis, who is most well known for his work with the band Dinosaur Jr. Why do we at Dirt Rag care about J Mascis? Because he rides bikes – 50 to 100 miles per week! The full interview can be found in Dirt Rag issue 203, for sale on newsstands now. 


Aren’t familiar with J Mascis? Start by checking out some of his music:

“Green Mind” (1991)

Probably Dinosaur Jr.’s most iconic record, housing classics like “Puke and Cry,” “Blowing It” and “Thumb,” this album is an easy gateway into the Mascis sound. 

“Tied to a Star” (2014)

Mascis’ most recent solo effort is a lighter, more thoughtful collection of songs compared to the heaviness of Dinosaur Jr. Mascis opts for a less-is-more approach to his solo recordings, ditching the massive Marshall stacks for an acoustic guitar. “Tied to a Star” is a perfect accompaniment to a rainy morning cup of coffee. “Every Morning” delivers a little of that Mascis guitar magic and “Wide Awake” gives you a taste of just how diverse a musician he is.

This is just a tiny sample of the Mascis catalog. With side projects like Witch, Sweet Apple,  and J Mascis + The Fog, there is a cornucopia of amazing music waiting for you.


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