Friday, April 10, 2009

Murph from Dinosaur Jr.: 'We never think about how we're influencing or affecting someone else'

Dinosaur Jr. has East Lansing, Mich. in a tizzy. The groundbreaking indie rock band played Small Planet last night, and the place was uber-packed! The show drew people from all over the state, since this was the only Michigan date on Dino Jr.'s current tour. We even spotted a few guys from Detroit's Lager House checking out the action! It was a fun, loud -- and did I mention loud? -- time!!

I had the chance to interview drummer Murph a week before the show, and he told me all about the band's much-anticipated new album. Here's the Q&A (originally published in the Gannett LSJ/NOISE):

Dinosaur Jr. talks about new album; Indie-rock act excited about E. Lansing gig

By Anne Erickson, Gannett Lansing State Journal

They started the grunge movement way before Kurt Cobain ever sang of "Teen Spirit." And it's possible to hear the band's influence throughout alternative rock.

We're talking about indie rock band Dinosaur Jr., a trio that mixes punk, classic rock and sludgy grunge like no other.

After a near-16 year hiatus, the Amherst, Mass., guys are back in the business of making music, and they have a stop Thursday at the Small Planet in East Lansing. Talk with any local indie fan, and it's obvious the community is stoked.

We chatted with drummer Murph - who at one point was a member of the Lemonheads - about the on-going reunion of Dinosaur Jr. and the band's forthcoming full-length, "Farm."

LSJ: You guys were just at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas. What do you like most about going to that kind of marathon music festival?

Murph: I thought it was going to be more mayhem or that people were going to be possessed or something, but it wasn't like that at all. It's not like we're huge stars because there are so many bands, so we're one of a zillion and that's kind of nice. It was just a great experience. We had been to Austin before, but never South by Southwest.

• Dinosaur Jr. got back together about four years ago, and things are going really well. Did you expect the reunion to become such a permanent deal?

• No, I don't think we knew what was going to happen. We always had the attitude just to do this as long as it seemed to be working - and it's working. The fans and our manager have been great, so we figured, why not keep going?

• Your new album, "Farm," is out on June 23.

• Yeah, it's a super big-sounding rock record, and we got great drum sounds on it. I'm just really excited about this record. It's more of a rock record, and there are some great ballads on there. I've been listening to it a lot, and I don't usually do that.

• Cool! So, what's the idea behind your current U.S. tour? It seems like you guys are going through college towns.

• We prefer sometimes to play out-of-the-way places. It's fun, and people get really amped-up for the shows. We're really excited about playing East Lansing, especially Lou (Barlow, bass player), because he grew up in Michigan. He was like, "No way, Lansing?!" We can't wait.

• Dinosaur Jr. has influenced so many bands through the years, especially in alternative rock. Does it boggle your mind to think of that?

• It's funny, we never think about how we're influencing or affecting someone else. We just get material together and put it out there. It's more about the influence people have on us.

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