Before labels like “alternative,” “emo,” “lo-fi” and “grunge” became easy go-to words for lazy rock writers, somewhere in the northeast of the United States, a trio of teenagers began making indescribable music they liked. It was 1984, and these were the top 10 singles of the year:

1. “When Doves Cry”…..Prince
2. “What’s Love Got To Do With It”…..Tina Turner
3. “Jump”…..Van Halen
4. “Karma Chameleon”…..Culture Club
5. “Like A Virgin”…..Madonna
6.”Hello”…..Lionel Richie
7. “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”…..Yes
8. “Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)”…..Phil Collins
9. “Footloose”…..Kenny Loggins
10. “Ghostbusters”…..Ray Parker, Jr.
(check out the bottom 90 here)

Was a revolution in popular music ever due (like today’s pop music scene). It was among these hits that Lou Barlow, J Mascis and Emmett Jefferson “Murph” Murphy III created a little band called Dinosaur Jr. while attending college in Amherst, Massachusetts. After an odd debut album in 1985 that went nowhere and may have just been ahead of its time with its mix of shoegaze, goth, hardcore, country, folk and classic rock, soon enough Dinosaur Jr. would become an iconic group of the nineties-era alternative rock scene.

Nowadays, Dinosaur Jr. is one of a handful of bands referred to as touchstones of an era that also produced Nirvana, Pearl Jam and the Pixies. Dinosaur has found a resurgence recently, as the original line-up has not only returned (that was already two new albums ago) but has maintained itself for an up-coming third album, so despite Barlow’s strong language below (pardon the “F” bombs and read the entire Q&A before drawing conclusions, cyber people), he and his mates have certainly found a way to maintain a creative spark among any so-called artistic differences. It must also be a good thing that Barlow stays busy with his own solo music, other collaborations, including a resurrected Sebadoh, the band Barlow created practically alongside his gig in Dinosaur Jr. Now, it too will record a new album (read the scoop at Backstagerider.com).

If you read Part 1 of this interview with Dinosaur Jr.’s bassist/part-time vocalist Barlow (Sebadoh’s Lou Barlow talks beginning with ‘Weed Forestin’ [soon to be reissued on LP]: an Indie Ethos Exclusive [Part 1 of 2]), you will have noticed I have already touched on the relevance of the band during the popular years of alternative rock, as well as the slightly lesser known Sebadoh. Barlow was with Dinosaur Jr. for its first three, and arguably most acclaimed, albums. He was then kicked out, the circumstances of which, Barlow is refreshingly candid about in the Q&A below. Likewise, Barlow also offers his feelings about working with Eric Gaffney, the other half of the original Sebadoh, the band Barlow started after Dinosaur Jr. Finally, Barlow shares his regret of having Sub Pop reissue Sebadoh’s  Bakesale on vinyl (Support the Independent Ethos, purchase on Amazon … you’ll also be supporting Barlow and Sub Pop). Why would he regret having reissued the record often referred to as the definitive Sebadoh record? Read on…

Part 1 of this interview ended with Barlow, noting “the power of Dinosaur Jr.,” which takes us right into part 2…

Hans Morgenstern: You guys are getting along good right now, right?

Lou Barlow: I don’t know… whatever. (laughter)

I heard you were “kicked out of the band” when they signed to a major label. Can you explain what happened there?

That’s not why I was kicked out. J was just like, ‘I’m sick of this. I can’t deal with this anymore.’

What’s “this”?

Just me hating him. Me just making him feel weird (laughs), so he kicked me out of the band, and they put out a single on Sub Pop and they signed to a major label.

You guys got back together in 2005. Did you ever think, 10 years ago, that the original Dinosaur would ever get back together, tour and record new material?

No, but when it happened I thought it was a good time. It made sense to me when it happened, but I certainly didn’t think that … maybe two years before, that I would have been like, ‘No, never!’ But I would go to J’s solo shows, and we did a show together at a benefit, and we sort of reunited our hardcore band for one song at a show, and I thought, maybe J’s kinda open and into things, and he can deal with this.

You even recorded together.

Yeah, we’ve done two records together.

Is a third record coming?

Yep! J, he’s totally on fire. He’s writing new songs.

But you also wrote Dinosaur Jr. songs, right?

Yeah. On the second record, I did two songs on that record. On the reunion records, I did two songs on each record.

But nothing on the first album [Dinosaur]?

He masterminded that record. It was amazing. Amazing songs. Fuckin’ amazing. But he really wanted me to sing. He didn’t really want to sing, so he sort of assigned songs for me. But I wasn’t really at the same spot, songwriting-wise. I was only starting to write songs, but he was amazing when he was 19 years old, freshman in college. He was on fire. He fuckin’ did all these amazing songs and said, ‘sing this,’ and I’m like, OK! (laughs). It was amazing. He was really into it, really inspired.

How has these past few years felt with the old guys in Dino? Is it more comfortable than it was back then?

Oh, yeah, definitely. But it’s the same (laughs). J’s not really into it. He’s not into anything really. He’s not into the way I play, he’s not into my songs, he’s not into Murph playing drums, but he deals with it, you know? (laughs) He’s like, ‘I guess other people like what’s going on here.’ He came to a point in his life where he understood that other people liked things that he didn’t really like, and then he would tolerate the things that other people liked that he didn’t really like (laughs), which is an amazing thing for someone to go like, ‘Hey, wait, I don’t like this but other people do, so I’ll guess I’ll do this because other people like it’ (laughter). He actually did that, which is, for him, an amazing, incredible leap.

How did the restart of Sebadoh come about?

We never really stopped playing, so I think there was a reissue of Bakesale, and Domino Records in England were like, ‘You’ve got to do this. We’ve got to reissue this record, we’ve got to reissue this record. We’ve got to.’ Then, finally, I’m like, OK, let’s do it. Let’s reissue the record. Then Sub Pop in the US wanted the record, but they didn’t want to release it. They wanted to do it digitally, then I had to tell them they had to do it physically. It was horrible, and of course it didn’t sell for them at all, and they lost a ton of money on it again (laughs). It’s kind of sort of tragic. It was awful. It was awful trying to convince Sub Pop to do a record that they would [lose money on]. I was like, come on, do this for me. I know you’re going to do a lot of money on it, so please do it, and they did it and then we toured. But we’ve been touring like every three or four years since we broke up, actually. We never broke up, actually, let’s put it that way. I think the interest in the band has never really been that great, so whatever. We do it when we can do it. Like when our schedules allow.

How would you describe Eric Gaffney’s role in the band? He was your first member of Sebadoh and co-wrote many songs on the first album. He even rejoined in a resurrected Sebadoh that toured in 2007 and 2008. Why is he no longer a member?

He doesn’t really like to play drums at all (laughs), which is really what I like him to do … to be inspired and play drums like he really likes it. We did a reunion tour like a few years ago, and he played drums, but he wouldn’t play the drums, you know? We would try to teach him songs that he didn’t know, and he wouldn’t learn them. It was kinda like being with J and Murph. They’re really just not into learning… They’re not into me. They’re not into my stuff, so it was hard to like really get Eric to play songs that he didn’t actually play, on the original recordings, so it’s very difficult. He wants to be the leader of a band and play guitar, which is awesome, which is great. I’d love to be in a band with Eric Gaffney, but I would need him to give as much effort as I give to him. I need something reciprocal from him, and he’s really not into that.

Is he doing anything right now?

Eric is awesome. He’s a great musician, and he writes really interesting songs, but he’s just not into collaborating, and that’s my thing. With Sebadoh it’s really about collaboration. It’s about people working together, and Eric’s not really into working together. … If I want Eric Gaffney to learn a bunch of Bakesale songs, and he won’t learn them, where am I at? What do we do with that? Like we would literally, on the tours that we did, we would say, ‘Eric, here’s a song,’ and we gave him like a few songs, like ‘Love is Stronger Than the Truth,’ from a record that he didn’t play on. ‘Here’s the song, I would like to play it, and people would like to hear it.’ He fuckin’ wouldn’t learn it (laughs). We’d be halfway through the tour, and he’d still be stumbling through the fuckin’ breaks. What do you do with that? What do you fuckin’ do with that? In the meantime, he’s showing us new songs, and we’re like, ‘Yeah, man, bring it on. Fuck yeah!’ We’re like fuckin’ into anything that he brings, but then you try to bring something that he doesn’t know, and he’s just like, ‘I don’t know…’”

Where does this rock star attitude come from?

I don’t know, man. Everyone I know is a fuckin’ rock star… but  not like Jason Loewenstein. Jason Loewenstein’s fuckin’ awesome. He’s into it. He does his best. The other people that I know like J and Eric and Murph, like those guys are like, ‘Hey, I’m not into this, so I’m not doin’ it.’ (laughs).

It’s going to be fun socializing with them on the cruise ship.

No, no, no. They’re awesome. They’re awesome people. I’m just sayin’ on a creative level … In my opinion, if you’re a musician, you fuckin’ play music, and if someone says you play a song, you fuckin’ learn the song, and you play it. No matter what your opinion was. If someone shows you a song, and you say, ‘I don’t think that song is very good,’ you don’t say that (laughs). You play it. You take it as a challenge. You say, OK, I’m going to try to add to this song in a way that might make it better or more interesting for myself. You don’t shut down and not give to it. You take it as a challenge. If you were given something that you don’t respond to, that’s a challenge to make it interesting for yourself. Not to make the fuckin’ person that handed a piece of your soul to you… every song that someone hands to you is a piece of their soul, and you make the fuckin’ best of that. You’re making a huge risk by handing something creative to someone else. If you were a friend, and also if you were a fuckin’ good person, you say, ‘OK, thank you, I will do my best.’ You don’t just say (in dumb voice): ‘I don’t know man, I’m not feeling it.’

Are you thinking about Eric when you are saying all this?

I’m thinking about J, I’m thinking about Eric… uhhhh (he sighs) it drives me fuckin’ nuts about some people.

What happened recently that has caused this to bubble up?

No, whatever, it’s happened my whole experience. Every record that I’ve ever made, except when I worked with Jason Loewenstein. He’s fuckin’ awesome. Jason Loewenstein, Bob [D'Amico], [Imaad] Wasif, the people that I worked with in the Folk Implosion, great. Although that’s different. Eric Gaffney, J Mascis, Murph, those, those guys are (dumb voice) ‘I don’t know man.’ (laughs) You’re, really? Really? (Cracks up).

It sounds like it’s going to be a long tour…

No, no, dude. It’s all good (laughs). I’m just explaining to you. This doesn’t bum me out to the point that I’m not going to do what I do. I’ve just discovered with musicians that I’ve worked with, you’ve got the guys that synch, you’ve got the guys that go, ‘I don’t know, man. I don’t like this. I don’t feel like playin’ it’ or you’ve got the guys that go, ‘Hey, I don’t like this. I don’t care. I’m going to fuckin’ play it coz I’m a fuckin’ musician’ (laughs). ‘I’m going to focus and do it, and I’m going to do my best, and if I don’t like it, I’m going to try to do something that I do like on it.’ There’s collaborators and there’s fuckin’ people that are not collaborators, and I’ve dealt with both and I deal with both, and I will continue to deal with both (laughs).

In the Freed Man [Sebadoh's debut album, when Sebadoh was just Barlow and Gaffney], you can tell there is a clash going on there.

Yeah, cause he played his own songs, and I was trying to involve him. I desperately wanted to be in a band with him, and I was just trying to involve him in the process and think, naively, that I would gain his trust (laughs). I was trying to gain his trust basically. Just looking back at it, it was amazing I just spent so much time trying to gain his trust … and then make him a collaborator. But I think when people are not collaborators, they’re not collaborators, unfortunately. You can’t make someone collaborate (laughs). As he collaborated with me, I thought that then I could collaborate with him, and that’s not really the case. That’s a big lesson that I learned.

I then ask Barlow whether this conversation is going on too long for him since I only requested 15 minutes. Then, he reveals, indeed he can cope fine with artistic differences while continuing to work with Dinosaur Jr. A member of Dinosaur was at his home all along during the interview, watching the two children Barlow has with his longtime wife. “Murph, the drummer of Dinosaur Jr., is watching our kids right now,” Barlow says. “He’s awesome.”

Sebadoh performs in Miami on Wednesday, Jan. 18, with Jacuzzi Boys and Plains supporting. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, on sale here, or $20 at the door. All ages are welcome. After a long weekend at sea on the Weezer Cruise (Edit: You can now read a 4-part recap of the event here), Lou Barlow returns to the same venue as bassist with Dinosaur Jr. Yuck will support at that show, also all ages, on Monday, Jan. 23. Doors open at 8 p.m.  Tickets are $26 in advance, on sale here, or $30 at the door.

Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2012 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

Ahead of his many appearances as part of Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh and as a solo artist on the Carnival Cruise ship Destiny during the Weezer Cruise singer/guitarist Lou Barlow spoke about the misnomer “prince of lo-fi,” the up-coming vinyl reissue of Weed Forestin and Sebadoh’s debut Miami show ahead of the cruise. He spoke with me from his Los Angeles home, a few days before a tour with Dinosaur Jr., in early December. I was expecting to have just about 15 minutes. We ended up speaking for nearly an hour and covering many more subjects. Barlow even offered some candid insight into the dynamics between he and his longtime bandmates in Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr. (wait for part 2 of this interview).

Founded by Barlow in the late eighties, Sebadoh has long existed in the shadows of many more popular acts of the nineties alternative rock scene. Their height of exposure came while on the Seattle-based label Sub Pop, probably the most famous independent label during the rise of the so-called grunge rock scene. The band signed a deal with the label in the early nineties, just as the label’s most famous product, Nirvana, had flown the coop to ride high on MTV buzz while crossing over to a major label, DGC, an off-shoot of Geffen Records, distributed by Warner Bros. Meanwhile, Barlow’s former band, Dinosaur Jr., also enjoyed MTV popularity in support of albums on the major label Reprise, also distributed by Warner Bros.

Sebadoh carried on as a curious but well-respected band fronted by the man cast out as bassist and sometime singer of Dinosaur Jr. just before Dino signed its major label deal. Sebadoh’s “size” fit Barlow just fine, as he prefers the inherent low profile approach of an indie label. He even enjoys being his own roadie and piling into the van with just his two other bandmates, currently longtime bassist Jason Loewenstein and new drummer Bob D’Amico (who are both also key to The Fiery Furnaces). Still, Sebadoh were no less influential or important to revitalizing rock. Even before Sebadoh signed to Sub Pop, and only had its second album out on the even smaller Homestead Records, Superchunk took three songs from Sebadoh’s all Barlow-composed collection of home-recordings, Weed Forestin, to fill the majority of an EP called “the Freed Seed” in 1991. Weed Forestin had only arrived on the scene a year earlier, but there it was, celebrated by another band that was also important to the indie rock scene of the early nineties (Superchunk’s frontman, Mac McCaughan, still owns and operates Merge Records, which most famously became the first indie label to earn the Album of the Year Grammy in 2010 with Arcade Fire’s the Suburbs).

The humble start of Sebadoh was just an alternative venue for Barlow to give life to his songs, which were often rejected by Dinosaur Jr.’s frontman J Mascis. He recorded them at home on a 4-track cassette recorder with Eric Gaffney providing percussion. Homestead Records would compile the works, first released as cassettes, on a 1990 CD entitled the Freed Weed. The first 23 tracks on the 40-track disc, covers Weed Forestin and the last 17 tracks are the Freed Man, Sebadoh’s first official album, which saw commercial release in 1989. According to the Freed Weed‘s credits, the songs were recorded in 1986-88. Sometime this year, Barlow says he promises to officially reissue Weed Forestin on vinyl. In recent years, earlier Sebadoh reissues have been released by Sub Pop Records in the US and Domino Records in the UK, but Barlow says he plans to release Weed Forestin as a very limited run on vinyl, independently. “Five hundred,” he says with a laugh. “Get ‘em while they’re hot.”

OK, so there is a hint of sarcasm to that last statement, but I offer my surprise at such a low pressing. “That’s all we need,” Barlow insists. “No more than 500 people want that record.” During our conversation, Barlow notices how serious I am about this album, and he tells me he cannot believe I am as interested as I say I am in this record, an obscure introduction to Sebadoh if there ever was one.

We argue back and forth a bit. I plead my honest curiosity, sharing a story of  how a dear friend of mine from my early college years, who happened to have abused enough LSD to turn schizophrenic, turned me on to the album. “The first generation of the people that really found it and felt that it was speaking to them, those people are real sensitive people,” Barlow says. “They really found something. It was not just, ‘Hey, man, this sounds pretty good, you should check this out.’ It was more like, ‘No!’” he says with a laugh and continues in a raspy voice, ‘This is amazing. You should hear it.’”

There is a purity to Weed Forestin, as it presents Sebadoh at its most raw and intimate. It is also on of the more obscure and probably most rough-around-the edges Sebadoh record in the band’s catalog. It can even be seen as a genuine goof with heartfelt intention, filled with experimental tangents and sincere, soul-stirring songwriting.

The subtleties that many take for granted are testament to the album’s character. The album opens with what sounds like a split second of orchestra, then four notes of a swinging guitar line with a muffled, tapped beat before the song “Temporary Dream” begins. Made up of some meandering whistling and a steady snare beat, where Barlow sings varied versions of “On my way to temporary dream,” before voices start screaming “Dreams! Dreams! Dreams!” the song picks up, stumbles and stops. It’s a defiant statement against whatever may have existed on the tape first and hinted by the album’s blink-and-you-might-miss-it opening. The track provides the perfect set-up for the album, with a beginning that alludes to the patch-work quality of leftover music recorded over on tape. The past and the present are experienced as one.

“New Worship,” a true, guitar-oriented song, follows with a distinct, seesaw rhythm. Barlow sings in his typically earnest, hushed voice, as the song drives on. After he sings “All my friends are killing me,” a higher-pitched, almost gnome-like voice repeats the statement, adding, “They think I’m a genius,” before dissolving into a whir of reverb. The song picks up the driving beat, and the melody comes to life with exuberant strums before grinding to a halt. No song on the album lasts longer than three and a half minutes and most are just under two minutes. They may be sketches but breath with amazing life, pulling back the curtain of the catchy, dynamic, punchy music of later-era Sebadoh.

With “Subtle Holy Gift” the distortion around the music makes the song sound like it’s coming from the inside of a big, old, wooden boat, drifting on a still ocean. Barlow offers two tracks of vocals, one in his regular tone, the other a falsetto, that harmonize with every other line, until the chorus, when they overlap. The sound is so distorted, the guitar strings sound as though they are being scratched instead of strummed.

“Whitey Peach” opens with nothing but tape hiss, Barlow states “5:20″ (it’s a subtle enigma that probably means nothing, but an enigma nonetheless) and then some disjointed guitar playing begins, sounding as if recorded from a distance, and once it catches a groove, the first word from the softly sung “Hey, girl, do you see the thing I see?” is also used as an accompaniment by a second vocal track, just a whiny, soft quavering “heeeeeey,” which reappears with each line, as the song rambles along like something from a hundred years ago. It’s not because the music’s style sounds dated, but the tape these songs were recorded on sounds like it is on the verge of disintegrating, and these are the voices of ghosts. The acoustic guitar rumbles and reverbs but also glistens and chimes. A variety of taps and beats appear here and there to spice things up.

Most songs on Weed Forestin are sung hushedly, as if not to disturb anyone outside of the bedroom. The songs have a vibrant, varied quality, defined by the earnestness of youth (Barlow says he recorded the tracks between the ages of 19 and 21). It’s a contrast to Sebadoh’s later studio-work, which garnered more notoriety on the college music radio charts and from other musicians, at least. With proper studio equipment and regular members who contributed to the songwriting, Sebadoh became a more polished, though still grungy project, which even took rare but notable hard, abrasive turns into screaming hardcore, a genre that defined the punk sound that first brought Barlow and Mascis together in high school. Their group with two other band mates and Mascis on drums, Deep Wound, only recorded a self-titled EP on an indie label. Then there was Folk Implosion, which gave Barlow his biggest hit, “Natural One,” released on the Kids soundtrack, peaking at 29 on the Billboard singles chart in 1995, higher than anything Sebadoh ever released. Here’s the video for that as a refresher:

But before Folk Implosion went on to release four albums and Sebadoh broke out on its own, there were the homemade recordings later released as Weed Forestin, and that is what I am most curious about (no better time for that seeing as the vinyl reissue is on its way this year). When I first met Barlow, back in 1997, in North Miami Beach, during an in-store at the long gone Blue Note Records, I expressed my deep affection for the Freed Weed. As he signed the CD booklet for that, he suggested I go check out Smog. When I remind him of that meeting, he laughs. “See, look at me, selfless, even back then: ‘You like the lo-fi? Go get a Smog record.’”

On with the Q&A…

Hans Morgenstern: You remember that in-store at the record shop Blue Note?

Lou Barlow: That was amazing. That was a really cool record store.

Otherwise, you’ve never, ever toured down to Miami.

Not really, no. I did that one show at the record store and that’s it … It’s so weird. Miami is this weirdly ignored place. It’s like Miami and Montana, it’s like the two places that nobody plays, although I don’t really understand why. I don’t get it. Miami I think is just like a whole other culture unto itself. There’s something about it that is so unique. It’s almost like touring South America or Mexico or something … I’m excited to be back there actually.

I hear you are working on the reissue of Weed Forestin. What has the remastering process been like? What sort of challenges have popped up?

No challenges really. The problem with it was that when it was mastered originally they put way more hiss on it than was on the original recordings. I think people really like the hiss. They will probably really hate the reissue because the reissue actually sounds like what I recorded, so people won’t like it at all, which is sad, and that’s why we probably won’t even sell 500. We will only sell like 250 or 300 coz people won’t like it (laughs). I’m kidding. I’m sorry.

You’re right, though. It’s true that the hiss is a very important part of it.

The hiss is a big part of it, but a lot of the hiss was really added by other people and not me.

So when you first heard it, you were like, ‘What the hell? Did it really sound this crappy?”

Yeah, but I couldn’t do anything about it.

But now, you’re fixing that. You’re doing what George Lucas did with Star Wars.

No! No, absolutely not. He ruined it. He went back and changed things. No, I’m not changing anything. I’m just taking the original recordings, and I took them to an amazing mastering studio, and we just made them sound like they sounded. We don’t change anything. It was presenting what I listened to and what I know as Weed Forestin, what I know the songs to sound like.

What did you record it on?

A Fostex 4-track.

The equipment Barlow likely used to record 'Weed Forestin' from 1986-87.

What is that orchestral sample that keeps appearing throughout the album?

I don’t know. I listened to the radio a lot, and I still do. One day I was listening to a classical radio show, and I just hit record and play… and I hit stop. I had no idea what it was, and it was so beautiful, and I took that little piece and I just went crazy with it. It’s possibly from something well-known.

It sounds like Wagner.

Really? (laughs) If it’s Wagner that will be really heavy … I don’t know if I could deal with that … Someone knows, but the people that listen to my music don’t know. Only people that really like real music know (laughs).

As I researched what you’ve been up to lately, I noticed you being called the unofficial prince of lo-fi music, but it wasn’t like you set out to create a new genre with your music.

I didn’t create anything, no. There was already lo-fi before me (laughs).

Those songs seem to have a bitterness toward relationships.

It’s not bitter … It’s very wary, cautious… um, maybe bitter. It’s a little bitter, but I’ve heard much more bitter in my life by other bands that people don’t call bitter. I don’t know. I mean, that’s fair, I guess, yes.

But there’s also some wisdom.

I was trying to talk myself through my life. I was trying to understand what I was experiencing, but I don’t think … but, there’s some bitterness.

But then there is some hopefulness, like “I Believe in Fate.”

Yeah, well, there you go. “Anyone can be your brand new love” (a lyric from another Weed Forestin song, “Brand New Love”).

But in “I Believe in Fate,” you sing, “Some girl I don’t know is waiting to marry me.” Now you’re a married man. How long have you been married?

26 years or something (he laughs).

Are you kidding?

We’ve been married since… ’95? We were married since the day we met. I met her because of the music. When I wrote out the original lyric sheet, I wrote out, ‘A personal plea to a special someone.’ I was writing those songs for a girl I didn’t know. Someone that would hear that and understand me and that would want to be with me. It was for a girl (he laughs). On one side there was these love songs and on the other side it was meant to be what I was thinking about philosophically and what I was struggling with on a sort of spiritual level. Originally, on the record or the cassette, one side was the relationship songs, the songs about love, and the other side was meant to be the philosophical side where I was struggling with philosophical issues and almost, like, political issues, struggling with the power of charisma. How you get one asshole male with an incredible amount of charisma who changes the world, who can change the way people think, who can sway people. I was just very torn between these things.

So your wife is one of the original Weed Forestin fans?

The thing is, on the Dinosaur Jr. record You’re Living All Over Me, the song I put on there, “Poledo,” in that sort of noise collage, that song was the genesis, and Weed Forestin was the outgrowth of that. “Poledo,” that was the beginning of it and then, when I elaborated on it, that was Weed Forestin.

Are you playing some of these songs on the cruise?

I could do it…

Oh, come on.

Yeah, fuck, why not. I’ll bring my ukulele (laughs). Absolutely.

No better place for a uke than a cruise ship.

There you go. Perfect (laughs).

How does it feel to be part of the entertainment on a Carnival cruise ship?

It’s fucking awesome.

How did you wind up booked on a cruise?

Rivers Cuomo [Weezer's frontman] really liked Sebadoh. He really liked the Bakesale record, and I met him a few times, and we hung out a little bit. We’re kind of from the same area of the country. He’s from the middle part of Connecticut. We’re from southern-western Massachusetts. Sebadoh got asked to do it pretty early on, and then Dinosaur was asked to do it. With Sebadoh, we were like, yeah, we’ll do it, and Dinosaur weren’t getting enough money, so Dinosaur asked for more money, and then J didn’t really want to do it. I think J is getting paid for his solo shows as well. I’m playing solo shows for nothing (laughter). It’s just amazing, man, the power of Dinosaur Jr.

Up-date: you can stream the entirety of the brilliant Weed Forestin album, now credited to “Sentridoh,” by visiting Sentridoh’s Bandcamp by clicking through the image of the new album’s cover art here:


Details for pre-ordering the album in an array of formats including cassette and USB, besides vinyl (now upped to 800 copies), can be found on that page.

*  *  *

Part 2 of this interview is available here:

Lou Barlow keeps spirit alive returning to band that kicked him out (Part 2 of 2 of Indie Ethos exclusive)

Barlow shares much about working with Mascis in Dinosaur Jr. and Gaffney in Sebadoh, as well as the perils of reissuing vinyl.

Sebadoh performs in Miami on Wednesday, Jan. 18, with Jacuzzi Boys and Plains supporting. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, on sale here, or $20 at the door. All ages are welcome. After a long weekend at sea on the Weezer Cruise (Edit: You can now read a 4-part recap of the event here), Lou Barlow returns to the same venue as bassist with Dinosaur Jr. Yuck will support at that show, also all ages, on Monday, Jan. 23. Doors open at 8 p.m.  Tickets are $26 in advance, on sale here, or $30 at the door.

Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2012 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)
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