Juliana Hatfield on Dinosaur Jr.

Largehearted Boy has a playlist from Ms. Hatfield. Among the very eclectic songs that move her (“All of My Love,” “Them from Mahogany”), she has this to say about “Don’t” by Dinosaur Jr.:

The Blake Babies (my first band) were recording during the overnight shift at Fort Apache studios in Cambridge, MA, and Dinosaur Jr. were making their album “Bug” in the daytime. I arrived early one evening and happened to catch Lou Barlow, bassist and occasional song-contributor of Dinosaur, doing a vocal take of this song in which he scream-sings “WHY DON’T YOU LIKE ME???!!!” repeatedly. It hurt my throat just to listen; Lou was throwing his whole body and soul into it. He seemed to be trying to destroy something with his voice, or to exorcise some evil demon.

It was maybe the most authentically tortured and anguished vocal performance I’d ever had the pleasure (or horror) to witness. Lou really meant it.

He came out of the recording booth and went into the bathroom and spat up blood. That’s how hard he had sung. Scary, but righteous, I thought. Maybe rock and roll should hurt. If it doesn’t, maybe you’re not doing it right.

[my emphasis]

Ms. Hatfield is on a creative tear. She recently released a very fine record, “How to Walk Away,” and has written a memoir entitled When I Grow Up.

It bears noting that Ms. Hatfield’s new record is released on on her own label. Fantastic to see artists taking control.

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