BY JOHN B. MOORE
When you think “Dinosaur Jr. biography” the mind doesn’t automatically conjure up a beautiful hardcover, coffee table-worthy documentation of the band. I always pictured a crudely photocopy and stapled, black and white zine, complete with coffee mug rings and cigarette ash, more in tune with the bands chaotic music and even more chaotic relationships with each other.
But this limited edition, stunningly beautiful [and, at roughly 67 bucks, prohibitively expensive by any music book standards. – Cost-conscious Ed.] oral history of the band is a fitting tribute to the group that influenced Pavement, Nirvana and scores more. The book features historical anecdotes from all three founding members: J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph, as well as George Berz, who took over drums once Murph left the group and Mike Johnson who picked up the bass once Barlow left the band (There is a frank chapter of the book devoted to J’s chickenshit way of pushing Barlow out of the band… or may not, depending on whose side you take.)
The book starts with the group’s formation in high school, details their rise, implosion and ultimate reunion of the original group almost 10 years ago. More impressive than the classic and unseen photos and crudely designed flyers that are collected here and the striking layout is the honesty and frankness with which the trio discuss their internal relationships: sloppy, combustible and undeniably powerful, much like their music.
Given all they have been through over the past three decades, the band clearly deserves something as impressive as this massive oral history to document their survival.