Bob Mould Wrestles with Memory of Hüsker Dü in New Autobiography
2-Night Residency at The Casbah November 17-18
With the release of his autobiography See A Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody, punk rock luminary Bob Mould lets fans inside his personal life and fills in the gaps on one of America’s greatest bands: Hüsker Dü. Born in the rural area of Malone, New York Mould moved to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area where he attended college and met future band mates Grant Hart and Greg Norton. Together they formed Hüsker Dü, one of the most sought after punk bands to emerge from the American underground. In his book , Mould recalls countless tales of life on the road as a young punk rocker traveling across America throughout the 1980’s, giving fans and friends a glimpse on what eventually became the tragic demise of the band. The volatile relationship between Mould and Hart (Hüsker Dü’s two songwriters) is detailed in the book and will definitely provide a sense of closure and comfort for many devout fans.
After the demise of Hüsker Dü, Mould went on to form the highly successful band Sugar, and would release a smattering of solo albums, both rock and acoustic. The book follows the struggles Mould faced as a gay punk rock musician coming to grips with his identity during the height of Reganomics. Mould also highlights a brief period of his career when he lived out one of his childhood fantasies and worked as a creative consultant for World Wrestling Entertainment. Currently Mould performs as a solo artist and also DJ’s with collaborator Rich Morel under the name Blowoff.
SanDiego.com had chance to speak with Mould while on tour and talked about his co-author Michael Azerrad, 1980’s pro wrestlers, and also got him to reveal how he really feels about Lady Gaga.
Do you remember the first time you met Michael Azerrad?
Bob Mould: The first time I remember meeting him in person would’ve been 2001, right after Our Band Could Be Your Life came out. I was living in New York City and he asked me to play a short solo set at CBGB’s Gallery to help commemorate the release of the book.
How long did you guys work on See A Little Light?
BM: We were pretty inseparable for two and half years. We worked side by side on the book for two and half years, so yeah, we did some interviews. We did a lot of talking, a lot of writing and a lot of editing.
You opened up quite a bit in your book, how do you feel knowing that all your fans know all the details of you personal and professional life?
BM: I know that they know.
Are there any stories that you held back that didn’t make the book?
BM: Of course.
So there’s still another book to be written then!
BM: I’m still alive; I have plenty to write about! It’s a good start for people who are familiar with the body of work, I think it helps to fill in a lot of the details about how the records are made; the interaction with the different musicians I worked with over the years. I think the stuff that people really didn’t know about, my childhood and what got me to Minnesota and what got me out of Minnesota, just stuff like that; the personal details. I’ve been out promoting the book for about five months now and the response from people is pretty overwhelming. The fact that it’s really filled in all of the spaces for people and I think even more importantly just for people to identify with the book, whether its addiction or dysfunctional families or idiosyncrasies in their own personality that they couldn’t identify with. That’s the really great part about this, is that it actually seems to be helping a lot of other people as much as it may have helped me on a personal level.
Did writing the book bring you any closure?
BM: I think if you read the book I’m pretty good with closure anyways.
From reading the book it seems like you’re pretty good at walking away from situations without ever looking back.
BM: It’s self preservation at times. I think with any of us in our lives we have significant events that leave deep impressions and make impacts on us. For me, until I actually sat down and put everything in sequence, then I started to see how I got from place to place. When we’re in it we don’t know. We’re just trying to survive and be happy and take care of the people around us. For me to step back and selfishly take a couple of years to sort of have that evaluation. I think now when I see my life from zero to 48 it’s like, ‘Oh wow, maybe the rest of it I won’t make those same mistakes over and over.’ that’s the real beauty of the book to me. It was a pretty freeing experience; when you’re talking about closure, that was already there.
Do you think your career would’ve been much different if you had decided to work with Cliff Burnstein instead of managing the band yourself?
BM: I think it would’ve been different but not much different. I think Hüsker Dü was a bit of a juggernaut and you probably got that sense from reading those chapters in the book. I think there’s sort of a mythology out there of this acrimony with me and the other guys. The way that we took care of business ourselves, if we had turned it over to anybody else it would’ve imploded a lot quicker. There was a lot of volatility. I think the fact that Grant Hart was sort of a free spirit and I was more of a controlling type, for all the hullabaloo people make about our working relationship I think it was actually pretty good to both of us. I think I did a pretty good job of keeping the band together, maybe the other guys feel different. I think if we would’ve handed it to somebody on the outside I think it might’ve gotten a little more prickly even quicker.
Where do you keep your Flying V?
BM: It is in safe storage.
With all the reunions that have been taking place recently, do you have any desire to get back together with guys from Sugar?
BM: We made some really good music together. I talked to the guys and our livers have really changed a lot since that band. David and Malcolm have families and they’ve gone on to settle into regular lives. I’ve stayed a very active musician the whole time and I’ll stay a very active musician until I’m finished. I don’t know if it would really work right now. I loved writing those records, I loved recording those records and I loved playing those records. Especially Cooper Blue, we’re coming up on 20 years now. That was a great record.
Are there any plans for a reissue of Copper Blue to commemorate the 20-Year Anniversary?
BM: There’s a good possibility. It’s not out of the question but there’s nothing definite right now. It would be nice to commemorate that somehow, because I know that record meant a lot to a lot of people; myself included.