J Mascis shares 10 albums that changed his life

The three bands/musicians I've seen most often live are: Billy Bragg, The Mountain Goats, and Dinosaur, Jr. I love all three, but nothing beats Dinosaur, Jr. when you really want to blow out your eardrums! And, I mean, there's nothing quite like Freak Scene, and their cover of The Cure's Just Like Heaven is one of my all-time favorite songs (those primal screams at the end always speak to me!). Their albums Dinosaur, You're Living All Over Me, and Bug were on very heavy rotation in my college dorm room.

But you probably don't care about my favorite albums. What's way more interesting is finding out what albums J Mascis–frontman of Dinosaur Jr.–loves. In a recent interview with Music Radar, J Mascis discusses ten albums that changed his life—"that took him from a young drummer under Ian Paice's spell to pioneer of US alt-rock." Music Radar further explains:

It's a list that takes in the formative years, records stolen from his brother's collection, those that informed his sensibility when it was the drums that were his first love, going deep into hardcore punk with Deep Wound, and the others that showed him there was more to explore outside of punk's perimeter, and maybe he could move on over to the guitar – a move that worked out all right in the end.

Here's his list:

Deep Purple – Machine Head (1972)
Black Sabbath – Sabotage (1975)
The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street (1972)
Ron Wood – I've Got My Own Album To Do (1974)
Buzzcocks – Singles Going Steady (1979)
Eater – The Album (1977)
The Faith/Void – Split (1982)
The Birthday Party – Junkyard (1982)
Wipers – Over The Edge (1983)
The Stooges – The Stooges (1969)

The interview is terrific and provides some great insight into how J Mascis developed as a musician. For each album, he explains why he loves the album, when it entered his life, and how it contributed to who he is as a person, a music lover, and/or a musician. Here's his take on The Wipers album Over the Edge (1983):

This and the Stooges' first album were the two albums I studied when I decided to play guitar after Deep Wound was over, and hardcore was over but I still wanted to have a band, and play guitar. 

Over The Edge by the Wipers and the first Stooges albums were what I took to learn how to play guitar. Those were the albums I was trying to make to make my own music, and then I still had a holdover from the Stones, Mick Taylor and Keith. So those were my four guitar influences starting out.

I can only do what I am doing. I was not trying to copy anything specifically but pull a little, pull something from these things to make my own music. [Greg Sage's] solo album was really good too, right? [Straight Ahead, 1985] I got a lot of inspiration from that when he put out the solo album and he's playing on the acoustic guitar, but it's still coming through an amp so it's not fully acoustic but acoustic enough.

You can read the rest of the article here, and enjoy this Dinosaur, Jr. performance as part of Live at KEXP at Home, from June 2021.