Kurt Cobain Asked Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis to Join Nirvana Twice

"I didn't think much about it"

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Jun 2, 2022

Many might say that listening to Dinosaur Jr. takes them to a state of Nirvana. Apparently, Kurt Cobain tried to get J Mascis to find out what teen spirit smells like by asking him to join the band not once, but twice.

The revelation of the crossover episode you didn't know you needed comes from Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr., the new Philipp Reichenheim documentary profiling the mid-'80s-formed indie rock trio.

"I didn't think much about it," Mascis said in the doc, reflecting on Cobain's request. "I think we were much bigger than them at the time."

A band casting a greater shadow of impact than Nirvana? Dinosaur Jr. are perhaps the only group that could do it; they had the late-'80s and '90s indie scene in a chokehold and are still among the most oft-cited influences for countless acts.

The film sees Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore detail a conversation he witnessed take place between Cobain and Mascis. "Bleach wasn't out yet, it was just the single ['Love Buzz']," Moore recalled. "And I remember Kurt saying [to Mascis], 'Why don't you join us?'"

Bandmate Kim Gordon added: "It made me realize maybe how much they'd influenced Nirvana, too. Dinosaur had this other dissonant quality that I think Kurt really liked."

Dinosaur Jr. came by their Nirvana connection quite naturally, with the latter's bassist Krist Novoselic — who recently debuted in supergroup 3rd Secret — having once memorably noted that Nirvana signing with a major label was largely inspired by Dinosaur Jr. having signed to Sire Records in 1990.

There you have it: Dinosaur Jr. did, in fact, influence everyone. Even, and perhaps especially, Nirvana.

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