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640px-Dinosaur_Jr._at_WTAI_in_StockholmLUMPENPROLETARIAT—In 2011, Dinosaur Jr. was touring their classic album entitled Bug.  (I’ll have to find my 2011 Dinosaur Jr. concert ticket stub to include with this article and, maybe, some notes about their SF Bay Area stop on that tour.)  Dinosaur Jr. actually never played Bug live before due to creative (and personal) tensions within the band.  Bassist Lou Barlow was sacked soon after the album’s release.  Indeed, from some of the interviews I’ve read over the years from Mascis and Barlow, I thought they’d be as unlikely to musically reunite as, say, The SmithsMorrissey and Johnny Marr.  Murph, the band’s drummer would also move on and work on other projects between 1993 and 2005, including joining The Lemonheads in 1995.  Since coming back together as a trio in 2005, the original line up of Dinosaur Jr. has released three more albums:  Beyond (2007), Farm (2009), and I Bet On Sky (2012).  (Beyond features one of my all-time favourite album covers.  Indeed, if we’re not careful, our living rooms have the uncanny ability of swallowing us alive.)

In this live performance in the KEXP studio from December 17, 2011, Henry Rollins chats with the band in between songs from Bug.  Rollins is a big Dinosaur Jr. fan. and has featured J Mascis’ work on his radio show before, such as J’s musical group Heavy Blanket.


Dinosaur Jr. Live on KEXP, Hosted by Henry Rollins

Liar” by The Rollins Band

Low Self Opinion” (1992) by Rollins Band

Rollins Explains His Search and Destroy Tattoo


FEMALE INTERVIEWER:  “Is that—you have a search and destroy tattoo.  Is that the type of thing you gotta live to be able to wear it?”

HENRY ROLLINS:  “Uh, what do you mean?”

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:  “Well, I’m not sure if that—like, I don’t know where that comes from?  Is Search and Destroy some—?”

HENRY ROLLINS:  “Search and Destroy is a term, that was used in Vietnam—”


HENRY ROLLINS:  “—when a search and destroy mission was to go along a designated path, go to any village you would find, eliminate the kids and old people, flush them from the village and burn it to the ground.

“And the concept of search and destroy, for me, is just my attitude towards life, which is to explore everything thoroughly, each emotion, each strength, each weakness, break it into its component parts, and find out where the truth lies.  You know?  Take—push it.

“And, at the end of the mission, hopefully, you’re spent. [1]  That’s my concept.  You know?”


HENRY ROLLINS:  “It’s a very Nietzschian-type thing, like pulling yourself towards death by living life so fully.  And the way I do it—my little way of doing it—is by performing and pushing myself physically and mentally and really trying to express myself flat out, without holding back.”

FEMALE INTERVIEWER:  “Is it a test for yourself?”

HENRY ROLLINS:  “M-hm.  Yeah.  I’m not really interested in life outside of what really pushes me.  Life is pretty boring in a lot of ways.  It’s a ritual.”


HENRY ROLLINS:  “You know?  You got your ritual.  I got mine.  You know?  So, if you think about it, you know, the first guy felt like the fifth guy, feels like the twentieth guy.  You know?  I mean it’s just biology.  And the first meal, the tenth meal, sleep, wake up.  You know.  It’s a circle.

So, for me, to make it interesting and to mean something, I really find meaning in the grind, in the push.  You know?”


HENRY ROLLINS:  “I find most illumination in states of exhaust and fatigue.  You know?  That’s where I get my high.  You know?  Like when I play with the band, I push myself very physically and from that I really get gone into the music.  You know?  I really enjoy it.

“It hurts like hell to play.  Never did a gig that was any good, that didn’t hurt.  And just, you know, sometimes we book these tours like eight weeks.  It makes me wince, just going: Gawd, am I gonna survive this.  But I like being in situations where I gotta really pull myself together to get through it.  And it’s not Cambodia.  It’s not San Quentin.  You know?  I’m not dodging bullets.  It’s just a club.  But it’s as close as I get to to it, so I can really push myself to see what I’m made of.  And that’s what I’m interested in.”


[1]  cf. catharsis, shamanic communing, Jim Morrison, the lizard king, et al.


[Transcript by Messina for Lumpenproletariat.org]

[Last modified 13:58 PDT  18 NOV 2015]