A Walk in The Fog with Dave Schools and J Mascis
Widespread Panic bass player Dave Schools has performed in any number of other contexts over the years, including stints with Stockholm Syndrome, Slang and Acetate. One of his most intriguing projects has been J Mascis and the Fog with with Dinosaur Jr. founder Mascis. Schools recently spoke with the guitarist for a piece that ran in the July issue of Relix. Here is a bit more from that conversation
DINO JR.:IN STUDIO AND IN CONCERT
DS- Let’s talk a bit about the live stuff. In regards to the material from a record, you guys generally don’t break it out and road test it live before you go into the studio right?
DS- So you have a starting point by the time you’ve released your record, right?
Yeah, we’re trying to learn some of the songs we recorded while we were playing on this tour and it was really hard. We got one down.
DS- So you learn how to play it offstage. Does it evolve at all, or is it just like okay, we got it, we’ll just play it now?
Yeah, it evolves depending on the song. Definitely, not sure how but you know songs in the past have definitely around a bit live.
DS- I experienced that first hand too. Learning a studio version and finding out that ain’t it. So when you’re onstage and soloing, are you actively listening to Murph and Lou and responding?
Oh yeah, sure.
DS- So there is a little bit of interaction?
Yeah, I don’t think they necessarily like the extended solos that much compared to me but some nights they’re more into it than others.
DS- Are you into comparisons at all?
Sure, Neil Young, I’m sure everyone would like to be compared to.
DS- During our shared time onstage, I had the thought that your soloing is along the same lines as the greatest, and not just guitar solos, but I hate to use the four-letter word jazz. You solo like some of these people where you just turn the water on and it flows until someone turns it off.
Yeah, or it trickles, or gets blocked up sometimes.
DS- Or it busts forth. Where does your mind go when you’re soloing onstage?
Oh man, it’s really all over the place. No idea.
DS- I mean are you thinking about what you’re playing. Or is it like when some athletes say that when they perform best they’re not even thinking about what they’re doing.
Yeah, I’m not necessarily thinking about what notes or something but sometimes it’s just like, “Oh, what am I going to buy when the bus stops at K-Mart at 3 in the morning?” Or a name, you know thoughts can go through your mind. Then you wonder what you played during the time you were thinking that.
DS- Then you just go to YouTube and find it.
No, I just try to forget.
DS- [In terms of] recording guitar solos [for a studio record]: overdubbing, live tracks, live tracks plus overdubbing… How do you go about doing the guitar solos?
Overdub and they’re just you know, um spontaneous at the time. Usually just do like 4 take tries and if I don’t like anything I’ll just come back to it another day.
DS- So is there comping or do you just try to just blast through and try to get something that feels really great?
I’m not against comping, yeah. But it’s usually not for more than three or four tracks. I don’t think I did that much comping on this album, some other albums I comped a lot more. Usually just pick one…
DS- In one interview you talk about how Kurt Cobain is a much better vocalist…I’ve often thought that you and Cobain are two sides of the same coin, two different voices that exemplify that sound and feeling of rock in the ‘90s and I think a lot of people would agree with me. So do you feel that Kurt is a better vocalist, or do you really care about your vocals that much?
Yeah, I think his voice is a lot more, you know normal like radio-friendly kind of voice you’d hear on the radio like Paul Rogers or Cheap Trick or something. It has a more radio-friendly sound to it like Oasis did later that my voice doesn’t necessarily have. Which, I don’t know if it’s better or if it’s just more commercially acceptable or something.
DS- Would you agree with my statement…is it possible to you to look at the impact you had on a scene objectively?