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"I didn’t think much about it,” says J. Mascis. “We were much bigger than them at the time.”

nirvana kurt cobain
photo: MTV

In a new documentary on Amherst, Massachusetts indie legends Dinosaur Jr., head honcho J. Mascis says that twice Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain tried to get Mascis to join Nirvana.

“I didn’t think much about it,” says Mascis. “I think we were much bigger than them at the time.” Imagine that for a moment; Indeed, Dinosaur Jr. at one time literally owned the indie scene in the late 80s and throughout the 90s with their blend of hardcore fuzz, speed, and psychedelia.

The documentary, Freakscene: The Story Of Dinosaur Jr, captures the glory and dysfunction of one of rock’s most seminal acts. Directed by Philipp Reichenheim, a German filmmaker and Mascis’ brother-in-law, Freakscene features interviews with Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, Husker DuMy Bloody Valentine and the Pixies, and the members of Dinosaur Jr. themselves.

While Dinosaur Jr.’s global influence is vast, their connection to Nirvana was intrinsic. Quite memorably, Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic once commented that Nirvana’s decision to sign with a major label was largely motivated by Dinosaur Jr.s move to do the same.

In the documentary, Sonic Youth'Thurston Moore details a conversation between Cobain and Mascis. "Bleach wasn't out yet," says Moore, "it was just the single ["Love Buzz"]. And I remember Kurt saying [to Mascis], 'Why don't you join us?'"

Kim Gordon also adds that, “It made me realize maybe how much they’d influenced Nirvana, too. Dinosaur had this other dissonant quality that I think Kurt really liked.”

With each subsequent Nirvana album, their sound became much rawer and abrasive than the one before it. It makes one wonder: if Kurt couldn’t get Mascis to join Nirvana, maybe he decided to steer the direction and sound of the band closer to that of Dinosaur Jr.?

Either way, if you’re looking for an introduction to Dinosaur Jr., here’s a few videos of some classic tracks to check out.

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