Start Choppin’ – Dinosaur Jr.

It might seem a bit theme week heavy around here at the moment. But I’m going to slide a Dinosaur Jr. mini season in here anyways because… Because Dinosaur Jr. Have you heard them? Damn what a band. A perfect mix of stoned wonky Pixie vocals, skewed but heavy guitars and pop nouns that made an era. J Mascis was never really a household name the way the big grunge icons were and yet his band added some rich flavour to the second tier of alternative when alternative was a new thing.

Start Choppin’ has the dubious honour of being the closest thing they ever had to real hit. It was on M-TV2 all the time. It got played in night clubs and festival most pits bounced in that dust and steam raising way whenever they played it during a 3 in the afternoon slot.

Forget you know all that for a minute and listen to the song anew. It’s a weird little skinny runt of a tune with pointy elbows and a cowlick in it’s hair fighting with it’s own instruments to remain upright.

The assured guitar line holds that vocal in place. Without it there’s not much conventional ‘hit single’ on show. The novelty high notes sound like someone is taking the piss regarding how to have a hit. You might get away with that in silky smooth disco but slacker rock can’t pretend to be Al Green.

Knowing Dinosaur Jr. are famous enough to fill a theater with a couple of thousand people on a weeknight makes the world feel like a better place.

Then you get to the solo. This is why those people come. Despite the lack of pyro, spaceman face paint and ‘Lemme see yow haynds’ bantz, when J solo’s it’s pure rock and roll excess. This is a hit single with two guitar solos in it. Or is it two guitar solos looking for a hit single to hang out in. The first one is pure Kiss, Aerosmith, Nugent. The second solo is more Neil Young or Pearl Jammy.

Start Choppin’ does so much heavy work and hard graft we’re going to have to find somewhere to put all this kindling.

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