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Lou Barlow talks the talk

The Sebadoh frontman on life, love, and J.
By MATT PARISH  |  March 24, 2011

Lou Barlow

He may have been born in Dayton, Ohio and settled down in Los Angeles, but for a lot of us, Lou Barlow will always be a Western Mass kid. We'd settle more for any of his bands — Dinosaur, Jr., Folk Implosion, Sentridoh — but Barlow returns to Boston this Thursday with the band he's most synonymous with, Sebadoh. They're on tour to celebrate the coming deluxe reissue of Bakesale on Sub Pop, due out June 4. (Reissues of both Bakesale and Harmacy are also on the way from UK label Domino Records.) It's a mid-'90s lineup, with Barlow, Jason Loewenstein, and "new Bob" drummer, Robert D'Amico. Barlow talked to me from LA in between the West Coast and East Coast halves of the tour to talk about the reissues, dodging assumptions, growing up a Massachusetts townie, and the Meat Puppets.

>> READ: "Sebadoh return to the scene they helped invent" by Matt Parish <<

So you're supporting the re-releases ofBakesaleandHarmacy, but you're playing songs from all over the Sebadoh catalog? Yeah we are, but it's mostly focused on Bakesale and Harmacy.

Was the idea to mostly get the records out before the tour? I suppose, yeah [laughs]. As logic would dictate, yeah. But that's not really the way it worked out. I mean, ideally, yeah, we'd be supporting this new reissue and we'd have it for sale at the shows. But I guess we're sort of pulling from this group of people who would probably come see us play anyway.

We put it together really slowly over the last year and we're doing it through Domino, which is our European label. And they were kind of spearheading this whole thing, like, "Come on, we've got to reissue all this stuff before CDs are dead, and it's a really important record for the label." We put this whole package together. And we did this whole thing under the whole idea that Sub Pop really wanted to do the Bakesale reissue. So we said, "Okay! So, you'll be in contact with Domino Records and you'll know when it's coming out." They were like, "Yeah, yeah, we'll work on that, we'll have everybody communicate."

Then when we finally finished the package, I was like, "Okay. so, Sub Pop, are you ready to go with this?" They apparently had no idea, and not a whole lot of interest within the label to actually do the reissue. So I was like, "Well. . . . !" And that was one of my biggest fears: "I think some people at the label are into this, but I don't think the whole label is into the reissue." So sure enough, they said they couldn't do it. But I sort of guilted them into doing it later in the year. But that will serve no purpose in terms of the US tour.

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    Some things just don't go as planned, though you can't say that would surprise you if you've been listening to Lou Barlow's music for any fraction of the past 25 years.
  •   LOU BARLOW TALKS THE TALK  |  March 24, 2011
    He may have been born in Dayton, Ohio and settled down in Los Angeles, but for a lot of us, Lou Barlow will always be a Western Mass kid.  
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