Date: Sun, 23 Sep 2001 19:02:26 +0200
From: Ton Bukkems
Subject: Belgian interview
I've made a loose translation of it for freakscene.net.
One remark: I think that the guy doing the interview at certain points didn't know/understand what J and Watt where talking about, and tried to translate what he thought to be hearing quite literally, some bits of the interview didn't make that much sense in Dutch....
Here's the translation (with some remarks included in  by me....):
Juke Box vs. J Mascis and Mike Watt
J Mascis, frontman of Dinosaur Jr. (sadly deceased... ) is back. We had written him off a couple of years ago when grunge had sold out and was dead and buried. Nowadays he's back with the Fog, with Mike Watt (Minutemen and fIREHOSE) on bass and George Berz on drums. The sound of the Fog is not unlike that of Dinosaur Jr. with some more pop-influenced melodies, that might be surprising, but, even for these gentlemen, the years start to count...
Their live-sound is a completely different thing, though... . Their Stooges-cover of 'TV Eye' (with Watt on vocals) is so thight and loud that it sounds like it's intended to tear the venue down!
By the way, you can check Watt's personal tour-diaries at www.hootpage.com
Sadly all gigs have been cancelled after their van overturned in Falkenberg, Sweden the 17th of June.
We can offer you the thoughts of J and Watt about some songs by other bands. This session took place before their gig in the Muziek-O-Droom in Hasselt, J didn't feel like saying much by the way...
First track: Primus - 'The air is getting slippery' from the album 'Pork Soda' A song describing a very hot day, when the sweat is running in your eyes... . What do J and Watt think of Primus, and what does make them sweat?
Watt, in his enthusiasm to answer, lets his cup of hot tea crash over the tape-recorder of the guy doing the interview.
"Les Claypool and his Frogs are fantastic. I did several shows with them, last one on New Years Day. I know this song. Les is a fantastic bass-player, just like Flea. Thes guys are a lot younger than me. When I was a kid in the 70s (I'm 43 now) nobody wanted to play bass, except when you really couldn't play guitar. Nowadays it has become more popular to play bass, thanks to people like Les and Flea. Flea is even starting a music school for the kids".
"But getting nervous (as in the lyrics of this song), I don't do that anymore [which isn't quite the truth, read the tour-diaries... den Buck] But I sweat a lot when playing, I never ever stand still, a show is a very intense thing for me. I shake my body really hard."
J, not that interested, says that he is not interested in clowns making music, humour and music are not his thing... .
Ween - Jappa Road from 'Chocolate and Cheese'
Question: do you remember towns like this from your many tours?
Watt: "Of course this is my 74th tour (actually, 47th - watt) [it's complicated, all those numbers... den Buck]! I'm the son of a sailor, I'm used to living in different places all the times. Touring isn't boring at all, just read my diaries! Every place is different and you're learning new things all the time. As a sailor's son I consider the touring-van to be our ship, the harbours we reach can be quite different: sometimes you have to sleep on a floor, sometimes you are in a decent hotel"
Mascis opinion: "I don't know that much of Ween."
John Frusciante - Going inside the opening track of his new album.
"Dramatic story, I liked his last album a lot, although that was quite bizarre, you won't ever hear that on the radio [well, VPRO radio in Holland played it, and VPRO TV even had a brilliant documentary about Frusciante in his darkest days... ..den Buck]. John came back from very deep indeed... It's now more coherent, he's now in a more healthy state of mind, a real artist"
Another way to get in a different state of mind is through extreme forms of religion. Tom Waits made a song about religion 'Chocolat Jezus.' "Most people use religion as an alibi for hating each other. How many wars haven't been fought because of conflicts between different religions? People have been trying for ages to do something about the black /white opinions of the fanatics, but never succeeded. It's better to be a littIe bit drunk, just like the derwishes, dancing themselves into trance for their beliefs".
"We are still having the death-penalty in the US. According to some people that's the will of God. It's terrible when some people have egos as big as that... "
Do you consider yourself a leader on stage?
Watt: "In my own bands, yes, but it is obvious, being the leader you're not learning everything , that's one of the reasons I'm playing with J now, so now J is the leader for me, although he just wants to play his guitar"
J: "I'm glad that I still can play guitar, being a leader doesn't interest me at all"
Fugazi - And the same from 'Margin Walker'.
What is J's opinion about political correctness? Is it importanbt to him?
J: "Political messsages aren't the reason I'm listening to music, I'm more interested in the emotional side of things. I'm not saying that it is bad, the things that Fugazi are doing, they might even be right. I think it is important that people should be more responsible for. Be better human beings."
Thurston Moore - Psychic Hearts
J thinks that this is a local band . The lyrics sound quite aggresive, something that doesn't appeal to J that much anymore these days, has that ever been otherwise?
J: "I don't know, of course you can have a lot of fun, but that is not my priority. As I said I don't like the combination humour/music. What is important are feelings and emotions, and so on... Even some sad things, I like that in music. I don't think that will ever change, although the Fog album sounds quite a lot happier than the Dinosaur Jr. stuff"
Beck - Get Real Paid
Mascis: "Sorry, no. I don't like Beck."
Pere Ubu - Vacuum in my head from 'Ray gun suitcase'
Mascis: "I like Pere Ubu, yes... ."
Del The Funky Homosapien with whom he wrote "Missing Link" for the soundtrack of Judgement night.
Mascis: "That was cool. I even played with him. Last thing I heard from ik Del was a sing from Gorrilaz. He's rapping with these guys from Blur. Nice video, by the way. I checked it at a gas-station selling cd's and it really was Del, Del's on it. Haven't seen him since our cooperation for Judgement night But it was fun, we've even been on TV together."
Are there any other bands that have influenced J during the nineties?
Mascis: "Hard to say, during that period I was too busy doing my own thing. These days I'm more easily influenced. I can't remember a band that was 'typical nineties', we're still too close to that period too say what was really typical"
Some other things J tells me: Buffalo Tom have released a greatest hits-cd, and are touring again, Mascis has produced some Buffalo Tom-stuff. He also likes the new Guided by Voices album, and they are touring as well
(Stijn Wuytens, credits to Jorg Lambrechts)