J Mascis

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J Mascis
J Mascis at Virgin Festival in 2009.
Background information
Birth name Joseph Donald Mascis, Jr.
Born (1965-12-10) December 10, 1965 (age 49)
Amherst, Massachusetts, United States
Genres Alternative rock, noise rock, hardcore punk
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter, producer
Instruments Vocals, guitar, drums, keyboards, bass, banjo
Years active 1982–present
Associated acts Dinosaur Jr., J Mascis + The Fog, Witch, Deep Wound, Upsidedown Cross, Sonic Youth, Sweet Apple, Bless The Barn, Heavy Blanket
Website www.jmascis.com
Notable instruments
Fender Jazzmaster
Fender Telecaster

J Mascis (/ˈmæskɪs/ MASS-kiss; born Joseph Donald Mascis, Jr. on December 10, 1965) is an American musician. The singer, guitarist,and songwriter for Dinosaur Jr., he also has a solo career and is particularly notable as a guitarist: he was ranked number 86 in Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time", and in 2012 was also ranked 5th in Spin's list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.


Mascis was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, the son of a dentist. His family name is Italian, from the province of Foggia, in the region of Apulia in the south of Italy.[1] His mother was an avid golfer.[2]

Mascis formed the short-lived hardcore group Deep Wound with Lou Barlow, Scott Helland, and Charlie Nakajima in the early 1980s.[3] He started out on drums,[4] but moved to guitar when he went on to found Dinosaur Jr. with bassist Barlow and drummer Emmett Jefferson "Patrick" Murphy (aka "Murph") in 1984 and achieved national success. His vocals have been described as "Neil Young-like"[5] and his guitar riffs as "monolithic." Mascis dismissed Barlow from Dinosaur Jr. in 1989 and over the next eight years recorded several more Dinosaur Jr. albums, including the 1996 acoustic solo album Martin + Me.

The manager for Deep Wound was Gerard Cosloy, who then went on to found Homestead Records. Homestead released Dinosaur Jr.'s first record. Mascis says that the reason why Dinosaur Jr.'s sound is not fully formed on that record is that they were more or less automatically signed to Homestead.[6]

As a side project, he was the drummer in Boston doom metal group Upsidedown Cross, who released a self-titled album on Taang! Records in 1991.[7][8] He wrote songs for the film Gas, Food, Lodging, in which he made a cameo appearance.[7][8] In 1996, he had a small part in the movie Grace of my Heart and provided a ballad and a Beach Boys-like song for the soundtrack. In 2000 he began producing albums with his new band, J Mascis + The Fog.

In April 2005 Mascis, Barlow, and Murph rejoined for a tour celebrating the re-release of the group's first three albums. They have since released three new albums: Beyond (released in 2007), Farm (released in 2009), and I Bet on Sky (released on September 17, 2012).

In August 2005 Mascis released J and Friends Sing and Chant For Amma, a solo album under the J Mascis and Friends banner. The album consists of devotional songs dedicated to Hindu religious leader Mata Amritanandamayi, or Ammachi, about whom he had written "Ammaring" on the first J Mascis + The Fog album More Light. The proceeds from the album are being donated to tsunami relief efforts Ammachi's organization is spearheading.

In 2006 Mascis returned to drumming with his newly formed heavy metal band Witch for their self-titled debut album.

His wife Luisa is from Berlin, Germany. They reside in Amherst, Massachusetts, and in September 2007 they had a baby boy named Rory. His brother-in-law is German filmmaker Philipp Virus, director of the 2006 Dinosaur Jr. DVD Live in the Middle East. Virus is also known for his work on the music videos of Atari Teenage Riot, who used a sample of Sludgefeast for their song "Riot 1995".

July 2007 saw the release of a signature guitar by Fender, the J Mascis Signature Jazzmaster. The instrument comes in a Purple Sparkle finish and, while otherwise visually similar to a standard Jazzmaster, features a few modifications J requested. The J Mascis Jazzmaster features a basswood body, C-shaped maple neck, rosewood fingerboard with 9.5" radius and 21 jumbo frets, two single-coil Jazzmaster pickups with three-position switching and dual tone circuits, gold anodized aluminum pickguard, aged white plastic parts (knobs, switch tip, pickup covers), Adjusto-Matic™ bridge with vintage-style floating tremolo tailpiece, vintage-style tuners, chrome hardware, Vintage White finish and J Mascis signature on the back of the large '60s-style headstock.

In 2010 Mascis joined with John Petkovic and Tim Parnin of Cobra Verde and Dave Sweetapple of Witch to form Sweet Apple. The self-titled debut album was released on Tee Pee Records.[9] Mascis plays drums, guitar, and sings on the album.

Mascis released a mostly acoustic album in March 2011 titled Several Shades of Why on Sub Pop Records.[10] He was joined in the studio by several guest musicians, including Kurt Vile and Sophie Trudeau. Mascis toured the US with Vile as support act to promote the album.[11] Mascis's electric guitar work is featured on the 2014 Strand of Oaks album 'Heal.'[12]

Richard Ayoade cast J Mascis in a small role, a caretaker, in his The Double (2013 film).

On 4/10/2014 He played with reunited Nirvana on a secret gig after the Rock and roll hall of fame interventions. He sang the songs School, Pennyroyal Tea and Drain You.

His long-term guru is Mata Amritanandamayi.[13]


Solo albums[edit]

Dinosaur Jr.[edit]

J Mascis + The Fog[edit]


Deep Wound[edit]

  • American Style (1982 – 7" – demo)
  • Deep Wound (1983 – 7" – Radiobeat)
  • Bands That Could Be God LP
  • Discography (2006 – Compilation – Damaged Goods)

Upsidedown Cross[edit]

Sweet Apple[edit]

  • Do You Remember 7"Valley King Records (2010)
  • Love & Desperation – Tee Pee Records (2010)
  • I've Got a Feeling (That Won't Change) 7" – Damaged Goods (2010)[14]
  • Elected/No Government 7"Outer Battery Records (2012)[15]
  • Wish You Could Stay (A Little Longer)/Traffic 7" – Outer Battery Records (2013)[16]
  • The Golden Age of Glitter – Tee Pee Records (2014) [17]

Heavy Blanket[edit]

  • Heavy Blanket – Outer Battery Records (2012)
  • Live at Tym Guitars – Brisbane, AustraliaTym Records (2013)
  • In a Dutch Haze – Collaboration with Earthless – Outer Battery Records (2014) [18]


  1. ^ "Mascis Family - Mascis - Family History & Genealogy Message Board - Ancestry.com". Boards.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  2. ^ J Mascis interviewed by Cam Lindsay, exclaim.ca, accessed September 28, 2010.
  3. ^ "J Mascis Kicks Lou Barlow Out of Dinosaur Jr". 
  4. ^ "J FILES: Dinosaur Jr / J Mascis". Abc.net.au. February 15, 2001. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  5. ^ Ankeny, Jason (December 10, 1965). "Biography". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  6. ^ Interview with J Mascis, Underyourskin.net, accessed September 27, 2010.
  7. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (1999). The Great Alternative & Indie Discography. Canongate. ISBN 0-86241-913-1. 
  8. ^ a b Selzer, Jonathan (1991) "Signs of Life", Lime Lizard, October 1991, p. 48-9
  9. ^ "J Mascis Forms New Band, Sweet Apple". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2010-09-23. 
  10. ^ "Sub Pop Records". Subpop.com. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  11. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry (January 18, 2011). "J Mascis Tours With Kurt Vile | News". Pitchfork. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  12. ^ "First Listen: Strand of Oaks, 'Heal'". npr.org. Retrieved 2015-06-15. 
  13. ^ Hawthorne, Marc. "Onion AV Club Interview". The Onion. Archived from the original on 2008-12-28. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  14. ^ Damaged Goods release: I've Got a Feeling. damagedgoods.co.uk. Retrieved on 2014-08-13.
  15. ^ Outer Battery release: Elected/No Government. outerbatteryrecords.com. Retrieved on 2014-08-13.
  16. ^ Outer Battery release: Wish You Could Stay (A Little Longer)/Traffic. outerbatteryrecords.com. Retrieved on 2014-08-13.
  17. ^ Sweet Apple Discography. sweetapplesongs.com. Retrieved on 2014-08-13.
  18. ^ Outer Battery release: In a Dutch Haze. outerbatteryrecords.com. Retrieved on 2014-08-13.

External links[edit]