Warren Haynes lends his epic solo chops to Dinosaur Jr. as he jams Neil Young and the Cure with J Mascis

Gov’t Mule frontman Warren Haynes brought the house down when he joined J Mascis onstage for Saturday night’s set at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, New York.

Dinosaur Jr. had just covered the Stooges’ No Fun with Kurt Vile guesting when Haynes and his Gibson Les Paul took to the stage for a trio of tracks to close out the evening, first playing the Cure’s Just Like Heaven, Forget the Swan from the 1985 Dinosaur Jr. debut album Dinosaur, and bringing proceedings to a close with an epic cover of Neil Young’s Cortez the Killer

Fan-shot footage captured all the action, with various videos on YouTube documenting what was a special evening in the Big Apple and further proof that the greats can play with anyone, in any style. 

Haynes looked right at home up there, and afterwards he posted a clip to his Instagram account to say he had “a great time” jamming with Mascis and his Dinosaur Jr. bandmates, bassist/vocalist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph.

There can be few guitarists with a better contacts book than Mascis. He has invited the likes of Richard Ayoade, My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields and Debbie Googe, Blur’s Graham Coxon, Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite and Lee Ranaldo onstage to help the alt-rock trailblazers celebrate 30 years of landmark release Where You Been.

But maybe Haynes could match Mascis for his convening powers, with his all-star annual Christmas Jam scheduled for this coming Saturday, December 9, at the ExploreAshville.com Arena, Asheville, NC.

Slash and Myles Kennedy will be there. It wouldn’t be an all-star jam without Billy F. Gibbons. Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening and Clutch will be there, too, as will Karina Rykman and American Babies featuring Tom Hamilton, Jim Hamilton and Joe Russo.

Dinosaur Jr’s tour continues. Good luck getting tickets. Even when playing multiple nights at the same venue, they have sold out – though there are still some available for January’s run, starting at Revolution Hall in Portland, OR.

The band will perform Where You Been in its entirety, then some choice cuts and a few covers for good measure. And there are sure to be more surprise guests. See Dinosaur Jr. for dates and details.

Mascis recently sat down with Guitar World to talk about the 10 guitarists who shaped his sound, from Ron Asheton and Greg Sage to Tony Iommi and Paul Kossoff. Despite Dinosaur Jr’s influence, he admits that he doesn’t think about all that stuff. This whole enterprise is just his hobby, his job, and the search for new sounds.

“It’s great if somebody likes my playing, but I never think about it,” he said. “I have my heroes, but I don't know if anyone sets out to be Steve Vai. I just like making sounds. This isn't just my job; it's my main hobby. And now, there’s like a million pedals and all sorts of gear that always comes out.

“So, I don't know about being a hero or any of that. I'm focused on searching for that ultimate sound. I haven't gotten there yet, but it's never boring looking.”

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Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to publications including Guitar World, MusicRadar and Total Guitar. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.