It’s hard to believe it’s been 11 years and four albums since the original members of alt-rock pioneer Dinosaur Jr. reunited.
At one point, Lou Barlow, J Mascis, and Emmett Jefferson “Murph” Murphy could easily have been voted least likely to regroup given Barlow’s notorious ousting (he was told the band was breaking up, only to later learn via MTV that he’d been replaced).
Since patching things up, Dinosaur Jr. – founded in Amherst in 1984 as an odd marriage of musicians from different backgrounds – has made some of the best albums of its career. “Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not” was released this year, and the subsequent tour brings the band to Neighborhood Theatre Saturday with Cloud Nothings.
Although now the trio’s partnership has become a means to support families as much as anything else.
“These guys started having kids and we realized this is our job now,” says Murphy, the sole remaining child-free member. “If you’re going to do a job, it’s a great job to have anyway.”
While much has been made of the reunion in lieu of Barlow (who went on to found Sebadoh and Folk Implosion) and Mascis’ past drama, Murphy says it’s a non-issue now.
“We are very present-day, here-and-now. We don’t discuss the past and focus on the tour,” he explains.
For “Glimpse,” the trio had nothing written going into the studio.
“We had a date to start tracking,” he says. “We knew if we wanted to do another touring cycle, we needed a record. We started working on an old tune because we didn’t have any ideas.”
Mascis would record demos at night, and Barlow and Murphy would work on them in the morning.
“J is one of those guys where the more pressure and more last-minute, the better he works. He loves that pressure-cooker environment. I’m an anxious mess. He starts churning out ideas, and Lou and I are scrambling to get his ideas as fast as they come out.”
The process worked. “It’s one of my favorite records,” he adds. “It’s one of our strongest records to date.”
Rock n’ roll is considered a young man’s (or woman’s) game. Or, at least, it used to be. Fans don’t necessarily expect a band to do its best work 30-some years into its career, and that’s not lost on Murphy.
“Generally, that is true,” says Murphy, who at 51 is the oldest in the band. (Mascis and Barlow are both 50.) “I think we’re the exception to that rule. As I’ve gotten older, I feel super lucky and grateful, and amazed I’m in that category of the few that are the exception.”
When: 8 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St.
Details: 704-942-7997; www.neighborhoodtheatre.com