Saturday 02 Aug 2014

Bob Mould: See A Little Light

The Trail of Rage and Melody with Michael Azerrad

Rage and melody indeed. He was an angry young man for many reasons (family, closet gay etc) and that much was crystal clear in Husker Du. But enough about him. What about my experiences with Bob.

I grew up with and through Bob’s music. Husker Du was a perfect soundtrack for adolescence, underaged drinking and pre-game warmup for me. He released Workbook (1989) and I was forced to grow up, musically speaking. I was deep into NIN, The Replacements (yes Minneapolis was big for me), G’N’R and their ilk at the time. Workbook was a boundary breaker for me. (True I loved Pink Floyd and Wish You Were Here was and still is a favorite but I liked turning my walkman up to 11 while I biked everywhere. I needed guitar music!) Bob went from full-on guitar assault to an acoustic guitar. What? Why? Whoa this is incredible.

I’ve seen Bob perform more than any other musician. His music means a lot to me. So remember that when I say read this book.

If you care about music, play music or listen to music I would recommend Bob’s autobiography. He is a godfather of alternative music. True alternative.

He is just a man doing something he loves and looking for love. In fact, there were times when I was amazed that he was making the same mistakes I had. He’s Bob fucking Mould not some mere mortal such as myself.

I never really enjoy meeting famous people I admire. What if they are jerkholes? What if I catch them at a bad moment? What if they are boring? Hell what if I’m boring. Bob is comfortable in his skin now and I think it would be fine meeting up for a beer or coffee.

A few passages I liked
“Husker Du, that was preaching – going door to door selling the good word. I was going from stage to stage, telling people, “This is who I am, these are the stories I tell, and this is what I believe in.” People can dismiss it and say those stories aren’t for them; some people only partly endorse it. Some people believe and spread the word to others. And then there’s the people who live and die for all the stories; they believe every word you say, they apply those stories to their lives and build their values and the way they live from them.
We all live and die for the stories and the sounds. Sometimes we find them, other times they just happen upon us. We don’t always get a choice.”

I can relate to that passage a bit because of NEXT. There it is. Agree with me. Disagree. Spread the word. Believe everything. Blow me off.

On why he wrote the book. Well one of the reasons
“With age, I was beginning to forget the things I wanted to remember, which is quite different from remembering the things I’d rather forget.”

On getting older but still growing
“At many festivals, there’s usually a legacy act that shows up and plays the hits but doesn’t know anything about current music. Had it not been for Blowoff, I might have become that guy…In fact, I couldn’t have planned any of the great things that happened in the last few years…The thing is, I stayed curious and active, something a lot of people don’t do later in life, or don’t the have luxury of doing because of life obligations – family, health, work. It’s led me to some brilliant people, unexpected places, and unbelievable situations. It’s been an amazing journey so far”

I told he was the godfather
“I did this thing in the 80s, then in the 90s a bunch of people copied certain pieces of it for all the wrong reasons, and now in 2008 there were people who were influenced by not only the music but the mentality and the aesthetic. I guess this was the second wave of legacy, which made me a grandfather. Ouch. It’s both good and bad. Either way, I can neither run nor hide from it.”

I enjoyed the book. Thank you Bob for all the music and now the backstories. Let’s meet up for that beer soon.




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