By Daniel Page (Photo by Levi Walton)
Dinosaur Jr. has a well-documented story of break up and reformation. Luckily for fans they are not a band that is about the past, but they don’t forget about the past.
Murph (Emmett Murphy), Dinosaur Jr.’s drummer, spoke with Marquee from their bus as they were pulling in to Portland last week.
Dinosaur Jr. doesn’t believe in touring solely on their past catalog. “If you’re going to keep touring you have to put out a record,” Murph said in reference to their August release of ‘Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not’.
The album has received strong reviews and has the Dinosaur Jr. sound you would expect but also shows the evolution of the band. “We have a certain chemistry and a formula between the three of us, a certain energy that’s just like, it just doesn’t change, it’s unwavering. It’s just this flame of creativity that we’ve always kind of depended on and we don’t really mess with that.” Murph said.
The evolution comes from two things that the band does better in 2016 than from their run in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
First, “We actually get along a lot better now – we didn’t when we were younger – because we have outlets. We have family. Those guys (J. Mascis and Lou Barlow) have kids, wives, and family. We’re three individuals. Before we were just kind of kind of three people feeding off each other. We’re all three very intense people and it just really didn’t work. We were in the fishbowl just swimming around driving each other kind of nuts and now we have our own lives so we are able to come together as a band,” Murph noted.
Secondly Murph said, “The main thing is just execution. We are really on top of the songs. We know each other so well and how we play. It’s comfortable now.”
This evolution translates to some of Dinosaur Jr.’s best performances. “We play longer than we ever have,” Murph said. The current tour’s set list pulls songs all the way back to the band’s first release ‘Dinosaur’. “We stick with what we do best…and the early songs just fit in…it’s like a puzzle. Even the new songs seem to fit in with the old songs. It doesn’t seem strange or awkward so we just kind of mix it all together,” Murph said.
As a drummer Murph is playing the best he ever has. He said, “I feel like ultra focused these days, like super focused. A lot of it is mainly due to… I really became totally sober.” Murph continued, “I personally just really made a big change in my life to be healthier and just quit everything. It just got me a lot more serious about everything. I practice a lot more. I am much more on top of my game and focused and I think it shows on the record.”
What can Denver expect as Dinosaur Jr. plays two nights at Bluebird Theater? Murph said, “We are now in the last leg (of the US tour), you know the last ten days, so we are a well oiled machine at this point.”
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