(above : Mordecai, performing for no busfare whatsoever)
The venerable W. Mass (founded) trio Dinosaur (or, as neophytes, poseurs and the litigation-mindful prefer, Dinosaur Jr.) are playing a series of shows at Manhattan’s Bowery Ballroom to mark the 30th anniversary of their self-titled debut album. Of said LP, the New Yorker’s Matthew Trammel (“Once Removed :The members of Dinosaur Jr. find essential noise in the space between them”) writes the album “was released in 1985 to almost no fanfare.”
Look, I’ll be the first to admit that Homestead Records’ social media campaign for this masterpiece was sorely lacking. As was the label’s ability to garner a Pitchfork “Best New Music” nod, an “All Songs Considered” premiere or even a booking on the James Corden show. That none of the above actually existed at the time is only as relevant as you want it to be.
It would be the height of exaggeration to claim ‘Dinosaur”s hatching (sorry) was greeted with anything approaching a media frenzy, but that was rarely true of anything worth giving a fuck about in those days. What can be disputed, however, is the notion that enthusiastic ‘zine coverage, college radio crackpot evangelism and loud, excessive word-of-mouth from actual record buyers and fellow musicians adds up to well, nothing worth remembering. You’ve heard of historical revisionism? This is called pressing the history eraser button.
That the types of grass roots support Dinosaur enjoyed prior to their ascent up the SST and MTV ladders aren’t nearly as prevalent in 2015 doesn’t mean they were unimportant then or now. Most of the stuff J, Lou & Murph cut their teeth on prior to 1985 was also released to relatively little fanfare at one time or another, but none of it came outta nowhere.