On the Road with Dinosaur Jr and Henry Rollins: Part 2, Vancouver

Join us now for Parte Thee Seconde in my epic two-day journey (a whole TWO DAYS!) in which I attach myself to Dinosaur Jr‘s side whilst they trawl the West Coast for fanboys and play their 1988 classic “Bug” and get interviewed by Henry Rollins. If you have not visited Part 1 in Seattle, I suggest you do so immediately because there is so much ultra radness.

Anyway! Onward!

I check out the fab and uber-stylish boutique hotel, Hotel Max, in Seattle (best place if you’re going to a Showbox show, or want to wander downtown) and find Lou in the lobby, who I am to meet because my Christmas present has come early: rather than get a stinky shuttle bus back to Canada, I have been invited to ride shotgun on the Dinosaur Jr tour bus across the border and with the lads. HONOURED doesn’t even begin to describe it especially as I think there are day-old Top Pot donuts still on the bus. Woo!

In the lobby, we discover a book on “Grunge” by Michael Lavine, whose pics also cover the doors of the fifth floor of the Hotel (I stayed in a Dan Peters Mudhoney room, yay!) and Lou flips through it. “I think there’s a pic of us in here somewhere,” he says and finds one of the three of ’em looking ridiculously young and long-hairy. I should have taken a pic of Lou holding the book page up but was, I think, still asleep.

We arrive at the bus, and find Murph and Dino’s tour manager extraordinaire (and I do mean extraordinaire, the man is LOVELY and very funny) Dan Mapp in the front lounge with the rest sleeping. J arrives on board shortly after clutching a bunch of Sub Pop t-shirts and retreats to the back. Lou goes to crash out in his bunk while…

Murph, Dinosaur Jr, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

…Murph and Dan and I enter into one of 100 different and fascinating conversations about education, children, the Internet, social skills, addiction and probably the state of both our nations. We also use THE BUS WI-FI, woo! Murph tries to convince me that as I’m a social media-type that “we” (he and I) should invent the new Facebook thing so that we can become rich. Murph is only on LinkedIn – of all things, though never checks it – and after countless conversations about Twitter, declares later that he’s overwhelmed by it all.  I like Murph. Me and Lou want him to go on Twitter so we can retweet his stuff under the heading “Shit Murph Says”.

He and I go for a cigarette break when the bus gets near the border and talk about the process of recording with Dino Jr – they’ll be doing that in February – and how it’s been staying at Lou’s place the last month. “The kids call me Uncle Murph!” he says proudly.

Dinosaur Jr passports, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

At the border, I am treated to another amazing thing: Tour Man’ Dan collects all our  passports (all labeled, and weirdly/wonderfully Henry Rollins’ passport is BLACK not BLUE) and goes to deal with Customs/Border patrol while we lounge. Murph and crew man Larry have to go out but otherwise, we’re all in the bus CRYING WITH LAUGHTER as Rollins cracks jokes about things the border guards may find wedged in private places.  The rest of the time…

Henry Rollins, Dinosaur Jr, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

…Henry Rollins sits quietly, reading. About what, I forgot to ask. But he is very serious-looking when he reads. (And apologies for sneaking these two on-board pics of Murph & Rollins. I do realize that what goes on on the road must stay on the road, but I’m kinda geeking out.  I mean, WOULDN’T YOU? Sorry Murph and Henry.)

J Mascis, Dinosaur Jr, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

We arrive in Vancouver and park a block behind the Commodore Ballroom. Lou’s still asleep so I show Murph how to get into the venue, and head home for a quick shower. I come back in time to get my ears pre-blown out during soundcheck and take this camera phone pic from the rafters to prove that J Mascis’ pedals are, uh, numerous. In fact, I walk backstage to see J surfing Ebay for a new pedal. I ask him if he found the one he’d wanted, but “No………”.

Next door, Vancouver cultural icon Nardwuar The Human Serviette about to interview Henry Rollins. “Hullo BackstageRider!” Nard greets me. (The whole fact Nardwuar is interviewing Rollins again is amazing because the last time he did so, in 1988, Rollins nearly chewed him up and spat him out. I tell this story to a fascinated J and Lou in the room next door.) Check out the innervu – all the “recent” pics of Henry et al in this video are by ME! 😀

O and here’s a pic of O, from LA-based band The Makeup Sex, whom Dinosaur Jr. really dig and who O-pened in Vancouver. And when I say O-pened, I mean, only O opened. His drummer and bassist didn’t make it over the border in their rental car on time, so O had to go it O-lone. “I’ve never cancelled a gig,” he said to me and Nard afterwards. O well, was still good.

O, The Makeup Sex, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

Soon it was time for the return of the Rollins….INTERVIEW O’CLOCK

Henry Rollins, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

There’s more on that exchange here in The Snipe’s coverage, by Rachel Fox.

Dinosaur Jr, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

I think J spotted me taking pictures.

J Mascis, Dinosaur Jr, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

But soon! It was time to rock AND roll on out! Here’s the setlist.

Lou Barlow, Dinosaur Jr, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

Freak Scene….sorry, not Lou. The song.

Murph,Dinosaur Jr, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

Yep, Murph forgot his drum key backstage again. But after a mad scramble by Tour Man Dan, he was keyed up and mouth opened.

Commodore crowd for Dinosaur Jr, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

AND THE CROWD WENT WILD! No really, this guy was rockhanding it, pounding the stage, singing every mumble that came out of….

J Mascis, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

…this guy’s mouth. Man, I love shooting Mascis in good light. His hair is AMAZING.

J Mascis' glasses, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

Here is another comprehensive portrait of J Mascis, taken from sidestage where I perched for most of the night. Tinted purple for added J-ness.

Henry Rollins, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

And, once again, Henry Rollins and his workboots sit DIRECTLY BEHIND J MASCIS’ WALL OF AMPS either taking notes on something, diairizing or headbanging. At one point, when the crowd started to go a bit moshy, even got up and looked like he was gonna help out by protecting J’s pedals (either that or flinging some bodies back into the crowd, which I would have paid money to view). I love how much Henry loves Dino.

Lou Barlow and Devon Lougheed, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

And once again, it was time for someone to close out the tour and sing “Don’t” so that Lou didn’t have to. Enter my friend and  musician Devon Lougheed. Devon plays in several bands in Vancouver including Beekeper, Hey Ocean! and Sidney York, and is a MASSIVE Sebadoh/Dino fan. I’d put the bug in Lou’s ear about Devon as a possibility, and on stage Lou went for it. Devon got up and NAILED IT. Mama was so proud. (That’s me.)

Lou Barlow and Nardwuar, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

After the show we drank beer and hung out with Nardwuar before leaving out the back to find a good dozen or so fans had waited in the cold to get autographs and take pictures. But soon it was time to leave my new family…whom I will see in just a couple of weeks on the Weezer Cruise, whee! But before we go, Lou Barlow has some very important advice if you’re going to be attending a Dinosaur Jr. show in future….

Lou Barlow, Dinosaur Jr, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com


Thanks again Dinosaur Jr, for letting me tag along. An epic weekend and an epic band. Extra rockhands to you! \m/ \m/ \m/

(And now READ PART ONE, SEATTLE if you haven’t)

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