J Mascis (the J stands for Joseph) was the key member of seminal rock combo Dinosaur Jr from 1983 - 1997 (known only as Dinosaur until 1986, when the name had to change for legal reasons). Lou Barlow was also a Dinosaur member until he was unceremoniously (and sneakily) kicked out by J in 1989 after the release of the "You're Living All Over Me" album.

J released a solo album "More Light" under the name J Mascis and the Fog in 2000, assisted by other rock luminaries Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine and Bob Pollard of Guided by Voices. This was the first "proper" album he released to not be in the Dinosaur Jr name, despite the fact that most of the instrumentation on the last handful of DJ albums was done by J alone.

J is known for being a difficult interviewee, a keen golfer (check out the video for "Feel The Pain") and a true master of the distorted electric guitar, producing enormous sounds of guitar noise and feedback of a quality up there with Neil Young. And those guitar solos... whoah.

History remembers the architects and their buildings, but never seems to pay much attention to the guys who actually lay the foundations. If one were to look at this history of rock music, names such as The Beatles and The Velvet Underground would come to mind as people who set up the framework, and then there are these obvious superstructures from bands like The Stooges, Joy Division, and Nirvana. But who works on the floors inbetween? Who provides a stable ground for these monoliths of sound to stand on?

For the grunge movement, J Mascis -- frontman for Dinosaur Jr -- is one such figure. Throughout Dinosaur Jr's career, he held the grunge movement's grubby little hand while not so much being innovative, but by making music that he wanted to listen to.

Mascis was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, on December 10, 1965 and first saw light in the music world as part of hardcore outfit Deep Wound. His next project, the highly acclaimed Dinosaur Jr, would produce some of the finest records of all time (including critical favorites You're Living All Over Me and Bug) not to mention combine the aggressiveness of punk with folk roots such as Neil Young. His prominence in the scene even bought him a spot in a short lived Sonic Youth side project, Ciccone Youth. During Dinosaur Jr's temporary breakup in 1989, Mascis sat in on drums for The Velvet Monkeys and GobbleHoof. After Dinosaur reformed in 1991, Mascis undertook scoring the Allison Anders' independant film Gas Food Lodging. Mascis has also produced records for Mike Watt's fIREHOSE and the group Tad.

1996 showed the first signs of Dinosaur Jr's death with Mascis' first solo album Martin and Me, and the band finally broke up in 1997. Mascis has since formed a new group, The Fog, and seems to be happy with his current outfit.

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