Dinosaur Jr. brings new-old lineup to Exile

2013-04-18T00:00:00Z Dinosaur Jr. brings new-old lineup to ExileGerald M. Gay Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 18, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Lou Barlow is feeling a lot more comfortable with his Dinosaur Jr. band mates these days.

The group, which comes through Tucson Saturday as part of Exile on Congress Street, celebrates a tumultuous history, fraught with infighting, mostly between Barlow and fellow founder Joseph "J" Mascis.

"I was very outspoken about my relationship with J and the dysfunction of the band," Barlow said in a phone interview last week. "I was happy to complain to anyone who listened."

The feuding had gotten so tense by the late 1980s that Barlow was booted from the group before the Amherst, Mass., band hit its stride with commercial success during the alternative-rock boom of the 1990s.

Had management not pushed for a reunion tour of the original lineup in 2005, Barlow, 46, isn't sure things would have ever fully mended.

He did miss the music.

"I would have parties at my house and end up playing Dinosaur Jr. records," he said. "I didn't realize how much I loved it."

As it turned out, so did fans.

The initial reunion tour was met with brisk ticket sales and packed houses.

"We were just happy to be doing it," Barlow said.

It was enough to keep the band going, moving beyond the classic material from albums such as "Where You Been" and "Without a Sound" into new, uncharted territory.

Now a little older and more mature, Dinosaur Jr. is experiencing a renaissance of sorts, this time with far less internal turmoil attached.

The band has released three albums since getting back together.

Its visit to Tucson, nestled between sets at Coachella, will be its first with the new-old lineup.

Barlow said musically, things aren't so different.

"We still play the same way, in the same style," he said. "J's songs are very identifiably J's songs."

The only major difference, Barlow continued, is that he has a little more creative input.

Mascis has always been the maestro behind the music, the songwriter and arranger, but that hasn't been the case since getting back together.

"I am writing at least two songs per album cycle now," Barlow said. "It just seemed like that was kind of what J expected and what I expected. That's how it worked out."

The group will perform tracks Saturday going back to its earliest days, but will focus primarily on its 2012 album "I Bet on Sky."

Barlow said he has been most surprised at the number of younger fans Dinosaur Jr. has managed to attract with the new material.

"It can be a challenge getting new listeners, but there are a lot of younger people out there," he said. "They seem to like what we are doing."

if you go

• What: Dinosaur Jr. in concert with Hairsprayfireandgirls and The Shrine as part of Exile on Congress St. celebrations downtown.

• When: The Rialto show begins at 8 p.m. Saturday.

• Where: Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Other events will take place at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., and Playground, 278 E. Congress St.

• Tickets: $12 in advance and $15 at the door. Admission price will get you into all three venues.

• Info: The Rialto show is all-ages. The Club Congress and Playground shows are 21-and-older. Visit rialtotheatre.com online.

Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at ggay@azstarnet.com or 807-8430.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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