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Bob Mould: See A Little Light

by Brian Callaghan
Contributor
Thursday Dec 5, 2013
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Musician Bob Mould has led a fairly remarkable life, filled with impressive accomplishments and constant reinvention. The founder and lead guitarist of the influential Minneapolis punk band, Husker Du, in the 80s, went on to found the band Sugar in the 90s, toured and recorded as a solo performer, worked as a writer for the pro wrestling circuit, and after openly embracing life as a gay man made a U-turn as an electronic musician and gay club DJ at his popular Blowoff events.

Mould’s autobiography, "See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody," traces these chameleonic career changes and the sometimes troubled childhood that influenced his colorful life.

The book is perhaps best read with the soundtrack of Mould’s music playing - hearing the angst or joy in the music as he recounts the frustration or satisfaction of past bandmates and former relationships.

Punk fans will enjoy the stories of Husker Du’s early years, the non-stop touring, and the other bands with whom they shared the stage. One topic not addressed is Mould’s insistence on playing concerts at almost deafening levels, which forces many fans to listen to the music through muffling and distorting earplugs, seemingly defeating the purpose of hearing his music with the best clarity.

Gay fans will appreciate the stories of his coming out process and the long-delayed gay learning curve when he finally immersed himself in the gay social scene in his late thirties. Two of Mould’s early gay relationships are chronicled in detail, from the first euphoric infatuations to their final painful dissolutions.

Gay fans will appreciate the stories of his coming out process and the long-delayed gay learning curve when he finally immersed himself in the gay social scene in his late thirties.

As with many music biographies, there are some details that will be extraneous to many, including names of countless studios, business associates, performing venues and bandmates, that make the book more accurate but frequently bog down the narrative.

Also, although Mould worked and performed alongside some of the era’s biggest names, such as the Replacements, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, and the Pixies, there’s not nearly enough discussion of his interactions with and opinions of these bands and their music. With his front row seat to both the punk and grunge eras, one wishes for a bit more elaboration on those relationships.

He even mentions having dinner one night with Pete Townshend, but few details of their conversation or his impressions of the man are shared. You’d think a good gay man would have learned to dish about his friends a little more.

Fans of the music of the punk and grunge eras will undoubtedly enjoy this well-written tome from an artist who continues to create, perform and inspire.

"See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody"
Bob Mould, with Michael Azerrad
Cleis Press
$16.95
www.bobmould.com

by Bob Mould

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