Who's the mom-like figure interviewing one of indie rock's guitar greats? An old family friend with deep industry connections.
A video clip of J Mascis is making the rounds in which the Dinosaur Jr. frontman is interviewed by a woman identified only as Maureenwhose homely vibe treads closer to homemaker than rock journalist. To wit: when Maureen, in her mom jeans and best Massachusetts drawl, inquires as to why there’s no period following Mascis’ first initial ("How can anyone have a name like J?"). Or later in the clip, when she asks Mascis whether he still wears fingerless gloves (his answer: ”[Not] since Michael Jackson stole it from me.”) To make things even more awkward, Mascis greets several of her questions with nothing but a silent stare. And when Maureen describes him as “one of the most renowned guitarists of his generation,” the stone-faced rocker looks like he just might lose it.
So what’s the back-story to this seemingly unlikely get-together? It turns out there is history there. Maureen of Worcester, Mass. is mother to Megan Jasper, General Manager of Sub Pop Records, the label who’ll release Mascis’ new solo album, Several Shades of Why, on March 15.
The three of them go way back. To high school, in fact. In a 2008 interview posted on the Sub Pop web site, Megan Jasper describes an early encounter with the future indie rock guitar god, who she called “Chemo Boy” (“because he cut chunks out of his hair right to the scalp.”) Said Megan: “We didn’t quite care for each other at first. I thought he was a freak and he thought that I was kind of gross. The first time he came to our house, he got in a screaming match with my mom. The visit ended with J standing at the front door yelling, ‘YOU’RE FUCKED!’ to my mom… However, in time he became close friends not only with my sister but with the whole family and now we refer to him as, the ‘third Jasper sister.’ Whenever he and my mom are together, my mom will say that if you’re looking for J he’ll be in one of two places -- to her right or to her left.”
It’s a special relationship all right, as one can see when Mascis takes Maureen on a tour of his home studio. Check out the full clip below and look for Mascis on tour in March, when he’ll hit the northeast and play several shows at South By Southwest in Austin.