Lou Barlow is an indie-rock hero, if there is such a thing. He co-founded Dinosaur Jr., his band Sebadoh practically invented lo-fi, and the Folk Implosion - yet another band he calls home - helped make the 1994 film Kids disturbing and groundbreaking at the same time.
Meanwhile, Barlow's latest solo recording, Sentridoh III, shows off his songwriting and the Missingmen, the backing band he shares with Minutemen's Mike Watt.
I recently caught up with Barlow to get the scoop on Sentridoh III and a glimpse of his Midwestern roots. You can catch up with him, too, this Tuesday at the Frequency.
A lot of fans view you as the king of DIY cassette recording. What's the advantage of releasing something solely on cassette in this day and age? And why did you decide to release Sentridoh III as a digital EP?
I suppose the advantage, now, would be to cater to a group of like-minded music snobs, which - maybe I'm old - seems like a huge drag to me. When I did it, it was the only affordable means to make my music available, before record labels came along. Cassettes are cool, no doubt, but honestly, I've only ever wanted to make music available and cheap - or now, free - for anyone. I never had a particular fetish about the media it was captured on.
Do you still feel tied to the Midwest since you spent part of your childhood here?
When I was a kid discovering hardcore punk rock, I had a special interest in the scenes in Michigan [and] Ohio. Madison had some great bands, Mecht Mensch in particular. [They're] still one of my favorites.
I was a proud Midwesterner for a long time, but my cynical East Coast friends beat that out of me. They were totally dismissive of the Midwest-friendly thing and, generally, enthusiasm of any kind was suspect. Now I live in L.A., which pretty much alienates me from anyone with or without regional loyalties. Now I'm hated by East Coasters and Midwesterners alike.
What's on the horizon for you?
I'm trying to get some Sebadoh reissues together - Bakesale, Harmacy - and plan some touring around that.