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Lou Barlow Shares His Guide To Surviving Dinosaur Jr.

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Photo: Dinosaur Jr. publicity photo
(Left to right): Lou Barlow, J Mascis and Murph of Dinosaur Jr.

Dinosaur Jr. first got together over three decades ago. The trio inspired acts from Nirvana to Radiohead.

But Lou Barlow, the band’s bass player, says Dinosaur Jr. is still figuring out how to work together.

Band members used to fight over things like where their ideas ended up on an album. Barlow hated that his music was buried at the end of the records, or even scrapped completely.

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He’s learned over time that things like that aren’t worth a fight with your bandmates.

"My songwriting is not the predominant voice of the records ," Barlow says. "It makes perfect sense to stick mine at the end of either side of the record and kind of buried at the end. I’m the guy who writes the two songs on the records. And that's a time-honored, very long tradition."

Barlow spent 15 years away from the band before he reunited with guitarist J Mascis and drummer Murph in 2005. Since then, he says the group has gotten better at coping with the disagreements that led to the breakup.

"A lot of this last 11 years is evolving and getting rid of some baggage along the way," Barlow says.

Barlow’s also found a balance between the band and his family. He brings his young kids along on tours. But instead of putting them on the band’s bus, he drives them in a separate minivan.

"My first daughter spent almost her first two years on the road," he said. "This new baby, she came along but I'm doing the driving. I generally rent a car and just chase the bus. People don't seem to be as excited as having a baby on a bus."

Barlow says getting along on a personal level helps Dinosaur Jr. make better records -- and you can hear that on their new album, “Give A Glimpse Of What Yer Not.”

Barlow recently moved his family across the country so he’d be closer to his bandmates in Massachusetts. He says they had more freedom to play and record together.

And that’s why he thinks "Give A Glimpse of What Yer Not" is his favorite album they've made since reuniting.

"We were in a pretty good swing of things. When we approached this record we were kind of loose. And by loose, I mean tight."

That bodes well for a band that’s still finding its way three decades after first plugging in together.

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