There's a lot of purple in here
Amherst, Massachusetts, is pronounced ‘AM-erst’, giving rise to the local saying “only the ‘h’ is silent.” When I ask J Mascis what his hometown is like, after a customary slightly-too-long pause, he says: “it’s pretty quiet.” Still, it’s a slogan that looks good on a tea towel, in a small town known for its three colleges, poet Emily Dickinson (“Nick Cave tried to visit her house last week but it was closed,” J tells me) and Dinosaur Jr.
Mascis was born here, stayed for college because he didn’t try getting in anywhere else and lives here once again following an extended time spend in New York to make it with the band. “New York was the first place where Dinosaur were accepted,” he says. “We couldn’t catch a break around here. We met Sonic Youth and other people who seemed to like us.”
He now lives in a large, understated house that has been his home for the last twelve years, shared with his wife and their son. It was previously owned by Uma Thurman’s father, a professor of religion, and is one of those white-slatted, detached properties with a yard that wraps around its four sides.
Mascis welcomed us in and showed us around, failing to disappoint with his collections of skateboards, Big Muff pedals, vintage figurines and an abundance of the colour purple – all the things you’ve always hoped that J Mascis surrounds himself with.