Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis turned down Nirvana offer

Kurt Cobain asked Mascis to join Nirvana not once but twice – an offer which he declined, the guitarist has revealed in an interview

Dinosaur Jr's J Mascis has revealed that Kurt Cobain tried to convince him to join Nirvana. "Kurt said, 'you should join my band,'" the guitarist recalled. "I didn't think much about it."

The invitation took place in July 1989, Mascis told Spin, after Nirvana had performed at a club in New Jersey. It was less than a month since the band had released their debut LP, Bleach, and Mascis said Cobain was "sick" of their second guitarist, Jason Everman. Although Everman is credited in Bleach's liner notes, and paid for the recording sessions – shelling out $606.17 (£374) – he did not apparently play on any of the album's songs.

After Mascis declined Cobain's offer, he says he was approached again the next year, for the song Sliver. "There was … talk of playing drums on a single they were doing," he said, "but it ended up being [Mudhoney drummer] Dan Peters." Peters was later replaced by Dave Grohl, who remained with Nirvana until Cobain's death in 1994.

A half-decade later, another band tried to poach Mascis as their drummer: Built to Spill. Spin spoke to the indie legends' Doug Martsch, who recalled talking to Mascis when he was preparing to record 1997's Perfect From Now On. "He was willing to do it, but then I kinda decided it wouldn't be a good idea," Martsch said. "I didn't want to be telling J Mascis what to play on drums ... I didn't know how we could work together ... [and] I wanted to find someone I felt comfortable really expressing myself with."

Mascis was not exactly twiddling his thumbs as he fielded offers from American indie royalty. From 1985 to 1997, Dinosaur Jr released seven albums – an average of one every 20 months. The high point came with 1993's Where You Been, which reached No 10 in the UK. Dinosaur Jr's 10th studio album, I Bet On Sky, was released in June.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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