An iconic rock-punk band that has faced turmoils, success and now, an unplanned reunion and new record is one way to describe 30-year-old band Dinosaur Jr.
The band will tour Australia, playing material from their back catalogue as well as their new music including songs form their latest album, ‘Give Me A Glimpse Of What Yer Are’. Murph, the band's long-time drummer, talks about the reunion and how the band has kept going – on and off – for 30 years.
“I think we have a formula that works. The reunion wasn’t meant to turn into us playing more shows and making more music. It took a lot of convincing for J [Mascis] to get on board. We had no idea of the demand for us, for new music and for us to play our old records.”
The band have had their dramas, although Murph says the difference between the band now and in the past comes down to one thing. “I think now we are more professional. There are less tantrums; we look at it now more as a job and give it that attention. We treat it more like a business, which is what makes us all-round more professional.”
With a new album recorded, Murph compares how making the record was different to their others. “All the records have pretty much the same process. J creates a demo and shows us, then we learn them and work on them until they become a Dinosaur Jr song.
“I think the recording process is different now as I’m more present and focused on doing them right and doing them well,” he says. “Recording ‘Give Me A Glimpse Of What Yer Are’ was interesting. We had no songs so there was a few nerves, but once we got in the studio and started working the songs started to flow easily. It was a great experience.”
With all his years of experience touring and recording, Murph, in a cool, calm voice explains there have been times where he wanted to give up music. “Yeah, there have been times when we were touring and it gets hard. You’re alone and away from everyone you love for a long time.
“On a long tour you just hit a wall of exhaustion; you have to wait for your second wind and then you can continue because you realise hitting the wall is just part of the experience. You start to realise that it’s natural to hit that point doing a tour, but you get past it.”
Murph's love for the drums is clearly an asset when it comes to fighting exhaustion, as he joyfully describes his love for the instrument. “The energy, the reaction, seeing the crowd moshing is a great feeling. It’s a great release. It’s a great way to express yourself. For me it’s like yoga, I feel calm. After playing drums for years and years it’s become like a spiritual thing. It’s a real mix of the mind, body and soul. I love it.”
With the band touring Australia, Murph expresses his excitement about the trip. “The people are really keen on the shows; it’s warm, which is great because it’s so cold where I am! Touring there is more relaxed because you just have to go on an aeroplane and then into a hotel; you can take your time more and see more of the place. Do the tourist things. It’s great; I’m really looking forward to playing and seeing the country.”
Dinosaur Jr Tour Dates
Thu 12 Jan - The Metro (Sydney) Fri 13 Jan - The Triffid (Brisbane) Sat 14 Jan - Miami Tavern (Gold Coast) Sun 15 Jan - The Northern (Byron Bay) Wed 18 Jan - The Capitol (Perth) Thu 19 Jan - The Gov (Adelaide) Fri 20 Jan - The Croxton (Melbourne) Sat 21 Jan - The Croxton (Melbourne)