J Mascis thinks Stevie Ray Vaughan is overrated, praises Hendrix and Bob Dylan

“I mean… I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan once, and he was OK, but I don’t know…”

J Mascis and Stevie Ray Vaughan

Image: Paul R. Giunta / Paul Natkin / Getty Images

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Dinosaur Jr. frontman and guitarist J Mascis has revealed his less-than-impressed feelings towards Stevie Ray Vaughan’s attempt at covering Jimi Hendrix’s music.

Discussing his guitar heroes in a recent interview with Guitar World, Mascis names the Purple Haze rocker as one of his greatest guitar influences, adding that he’d “never heard a single person play Hendrix correctly”.

“Hendrix probably seems obvious, but he’s the best guitarist ever, you know? No-one is ever gonna get close to him,” Mascis says. “So, he’s on the list for that reason alone. He’s an influence for all the obvious reasons, but I’ve never even tried to figure out a Hendrix song, meaning I’ve never tried to play like him. I’ll never even try to play like him.”

“I’ve never heard a single person play Hendrix correctly,” the guitarist adds. “People always try to rip him off, which is one of the saddest things ever. People trying to play like Jimi Hendrix are just depressing.”

Even Stevie Ray Vaughan, whose version of Voodoo Child (Slight Return) is often hailed as one of the most iconic Hendrix covers, could not do Jimi’s songs justice, according to Mascis.

“I mean… I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan once, and he was OK, but I don’t know… he was a bit more repetitive than Hendrix,” he says. “With Hendrix, it was all in his hands. You can’t duplicate that.”

Elsewhere in the chat, Mascis also described folk icon Bob Dylan as a “very underrated” acoustic guitarist, saying “I’ve always liked Bob Dylan as a guitar player.”

“His rhythm playing, the sound he got, the way he can accompany himself, and his strumming are all very cool. He’s obviously not much of an influence on me as an electric guitar player, but Bob Dylan definitely influences me on the acoustic side.”

“I don’t know why he’s so underrated, but when I hear him playing alone on some of the bootleg stuff I have, he just sounds so amazing. His style and rhythms morph constantly and always keep your attention.”


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