Buyer’s Guide

Bob Mould

Classic Rock - - Contents -

From Hüsker Dü to Sugar to solo, Mould is a lead­ing posthard­core singer-song­writer with a fas­ci­nat­ing cat­a­logue.

Part of the leg­endary 1980s hard­core punk mi­lieu along­side Black Flag, Bad Brains, Mi­nor Threat and Min­ute­men, Hüsker Dü’s evo­lu­tion from rudi­men­tary hard­core scratch to com­posers of poignant al­ter­na­tive rock made them eas­ily com­pa­ra­ble to their twincity home­town peers The Re­place­ments.

Formed in 1979 in Saint Paul, melodic post-hard­core pi­o­neers Hüsker Dü split in 1988 in tragic cir­cum­stances fol­low­ing the sui­cide of the band’s man­ager and a break­down be­tween band mem­bers at the start of a tour for their sec­ond ma­jor-la­bel al­bum. Essen­tially, Hüsker Dü were on the verge of go­ing huge. The split and fall­out left a deep psy­cho­log­i­cal scar on lead singer/ gui­tarist Bob Mould, and in­formed his early solo work. Com­pet­i­tive by na­ture, Hüsker Dü’s song­writ­ers Mould and Grant Hart were once de­scribed by bassist Greg Nor­ton as the Len­non and McCart­ney of punk rock. Mould was the more pro­lific Dü song­writer, but drum­mer Hart (who passed away last year) was con­sis­tently im­pres­sive.

Evolv­ing their sound be­yond their la­bel­mates and peers, the band were one of the first to com­mit the car­di­nal hard­core punk scene sin of sign­ing to a ma­jor la­bel. The ‘con­tro­versy’ dogged Dü for the rest of their ca­reer. In­cred­i­bly, even Joan Rivers brought it up when they played on her chat show in 1987. It was all just jeal­ousy from those who can’t bear a band pro­gress­ing.

Dü’s first two al­bums, the live Land

Speed Record and the 12-track, 20-minute Ev­ery­thing Falls Apart both show­cased that chaotic hard­core abra­sion. Their sec­ond stu­dio al­bum, the highly in­flu­en­tial dou­ble Zen Ar­cade, can le­git­i­mately lay claim to be­ing the first punk rock con­cept al­bum, at a time when Green Day were still in pri­mary school. Zen Ar­cade proved Dü’s song­writ­ing clout, and they grad­u­ally evolved their sound through­out the sub­lime pair New Day Ris­ing and Flip Your Wig be­fore out­grow­ing the punk scene and sign­ing with Warn­ers for Candy Ap­ple Grey and swan­song Ware­house: Songs And Sto­ries.

With­draw­ing af­ter the col­lapse of

Hüsker Dü, Mould’s early solo ma­te­rial of in­tro­verted Amer­i­cana put a full stop on the band, as did the sub­se­quent run­away suc­cess of his power trio Sugar in the early 90s, not least with de­but al­bum Cop­per

Blue. That was fol­lowed up by the EP Beaster and File Un­der Easy Lis­ten­ing be­fore Mould re­turned to solo work – which fea­tures more high­lights than we can ac­co­mo­date here. Alex Bur­rows

Bob Mould: more than justa pioneer of hard­core.

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