Q&A: Lou Barlow of Sebadoh Chats About D.I.Y. and Reissues, Part 2
By Andrea Narvaez on June 10, 2011
To catch up, check out Part 1 of the interview with Lou Barlow of Sebadoh.
Last time you checked in with us, we were talking with Lou Barlow about his favorite reissues and remastered discs from the '60s to the '80s and the Western Massachusetts and Northampton scenes from which his bands Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh emerged. In the final part of his interview with FILTER, Barlow talks about Sebadoh's 1989 debut The Freed Man, B-sides and record labels. Honest words from Lou...
You can pre-order the reissued, deluxe version of Bakesale (out June 14) via Sub Pop.
Would you say there was growth for Sebadoh between its debut release The Freed Man and the release of Bakesale in 1994? How did the scenes of each of those time frames dictate what you were driven to record?
Lou Barlow: The Freed Man was a collection of cassette recordings, sequenced to reflect our own chaotic tastes coming from the first wave of D.I.Y. hardcore punk rock and our first forays into acoustic-based songwriting. No self-respecting hate-rocker wanted to hear acoustic music and few people who liked acoustic music wanted to hear white noise. We wanted both, and were presenting our records to an unreceptive scene, but that obviously changed.
Bakesale was recorded when the band was touring the U.S. and Europe regularly. I constructed my songs for the live, electric band situation—songs that would be easy to play live and were simple (in general). We recorded it in the same spirit as The Freed Man: quickly, without too much thought to how it would be received, but we had an audience by that time and supportive record labels [Sub Pop, Domino UK].
from left to right: Eric Gaffney, Jason Loewenstein and Lou Barlow of Sebadoh
Listening to the bonus material on the re-issue of Bakesale, it definitely seems like something not only your dedicated followers would appreciate, but a whole new audience as well. Was there anything you were hoping to gather and accomplish with this reissue?
The reissue was at the request of our U.K. record label, Domino, who have been doing attractive reissues of their back catalogue for awhile. The reality is that Bakesale and most of the attendant B-sides are still readily available in used record stacks, online, or sealed, returned and unsold in boxes at the Sub Pop and Domino warehouses. In our case, the reissue process is an attempt to repackage us as "something important that happened," rather than a response to a demand. But it is a pretty good record and it's nice to have it repackaged.
From a production side, what tracks off the bonus disc were you looking forward to sharing with your audience?
Truth be told, the extras disc is a straightforward, chronologically sequenced list of B-sides and other official releases. Jason Loewenstein's demos are the only unreleased additions to it. I was always partial to our B-sides (the demo of "Mystery Man" is a favorite), though some of it ("Monsoon") is among the worst shit we committed to vinyl. F