Lank-haired Godfather of grunge J Mascis has been recalling how he was invited to join Nirvana. The man who invented the ear-splitting guitar assault in Dinosaur Jr somehow missed out on joining the most successful alternative rock band of his generation.
The first offer came in 1989 before Nirvana hit the big time. "Nirvana was playing Maxwell's and after the show I was talking to Kurt and Thurston Moore," Mascis told Spin. "Kurt said, 'you should join my band.' I think he was sick of the guy Jason who was in the band at the time, and thought I should play guitar. I didn't think much about it."
That’s typical of Mascis, who tends to save all his dynamism for his guitar solos. Cobain was obviously a fan though, as he invited Mascis to get involved with Nirvana again in 1990. "Later, there was also talk of playing drums on a single they were doing, but it ended up being Dan Peters."
Unlike Cobain, Mascis is one of grunge’s great survivors, still coming up with variations on the essential Dinosaur Jr blueprint on the new album I Bet On The Sky. Mascis thinks that his voice prevented Dinosaur Jr from attaining Nirvana’s level of success. "Kurt's voice had that sound you'd heard on the radio when you were a kid: it was like Paul Rodgers or Cheap Trick, that radio-friendly sound, that good rock voice. I didn't have a voice like that."
Instead he had his trademark shredding guitar sound. "That's how I like to express myself," he said. "Everything is just the build-up to the guitar solo."