Finding new (like-minded) band members can be really hard. I mean, have you ever taken a look at the insane “Musician Wanted” fliers that people post at Guitar Center? Craigslist is even worse. What other options are there? Well, perhaps you could try national television.
If you dig deep into a lifetime of unnecessary pop culture references, you may recall the laughable, once-upon-a time reality series from 2005, Rock Star: INXS. After losing founder and vocalist Michael Hutchence to a potentially accidental, autoerotic asphyxiation death in 1997, the Australian rock group auditioned an oblivious group of starry-eyed randos in front of the entire world in hopes of “discovering” their new frontman. Competition winner JD Fortune really did become the new face of INXS for a number of years, and the group even recorded their eleventh studio album Switch with him. Fortune was eventually kicked out of the group (twice), in true rockstar fashion, all thanks to his newfound drug addiction.
INXS with their new replacement singer, JD Fortune
While an attention-seeking stunt like this may seem absurd to you, let’s take a moment to admire the time Dinosaur Jr. was a guest on MTV’s alternative music program 120 Minutes in 1991. The scenario was simple: vocalist / guitarist J. Mascis and drummer Murph joined VJ and series creator Dave Kendall on air to promote their newly-released fourth album, Green Mind. Not only was it their first to be released on a major label (Sire), but it was essentially a J Mascis solo album with him playing nearly every instrument on the record. Original bassist Lou Barlow had departed from the group years prior, in 1989, due to internal tension and they hadn’t quite replaced him in time for this major milestone.
Discontent and lacking a bass player for touring purposes, J and Murph utilized their MTV appearance as a humorous opportunity to round out their dynamic three-piece. After much withstanding and sarcastic deflection of Kendall’s prototypical interview questions in true Dino Jr. fashion, show producers flashed a fax number where one can reach out to try out for the band. According to the interview, the only requirements of the applicant was that they “had to rock” and, of course, all band members had to get along. I’m not sure if this was how replacement bassist Mike Johnson got the part later that year, but I would like to imagine Mascis choosing his application among the stacks of papers rolling out of their fax machine. The band eventually disintegrated in 1997, only to reform with the original lineup of Mascis, Murph, and Barlow in 2005.
Watch Dinosaur Jr.‘s hilariously awkward appearance on ‘120 Minutes’ below:
Dinosaur Jr. perform “Raisins” on MTV Europe’s edition of ‘120 Minutes’ in 1994
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
27 years of MTV’s ‘120 Minutes’ has been recreated online
Flaming Lips, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, & more: 1991 comp CD accurately predicted ‘90s indie rock
Dear Boy: Advice column for ‘Sassy’ teenagers from Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis