New year rising: Bob Mould on his new record and a busy 2009
2009 is shaping up to be Bob Mould’s kind of year. The former Hüsker Dü front man has a busy few months ahead of him, with teaser tour dates (including a solo acoustic show at the Hotel Café and a recently announced Coachella slot with his full band) culminating in the release of his new solo record, "Life and Times," due April 7.
“I got plenty going on right now,” he said last week via phone from his home in Washington, D.C.
The singer-songwriter is writing a memoir, co-hosting a string of dance parties as a DJ in D.C., New York and San Francisco, not to mention playing a high-profile engagement at San Francisco’s Noise Pop festival later this month.
“I’m 55,000 words into the book right now,” he said of his forthcoming autobiography, which he is working on with Michael Azerrad.
“But what’s been taking up most my time [lately] is the Blowoff parties.”
Some casual Hüsker Dü fans might be surprised to know that Mould, along with collaborator Richard Morel, has been co-hosting parties under the name “Blowoff” in multiple cities over the last few years. Mould will DJ at four Blowoff parties this month alone, most of them on the East Coast.
On March 2, Mould will play an intimate local engagement at the Hotel Café (limited tickets go on sale today via the venue’s website), where he will play a set heavy on new material from “Life and Times.”
Songs off his latest solo work will likely translate nicely at the Cahuenga Avenue club, as most are guitar-driven offerings very much in the vein of his first solo record, “Workbook,” which was released 20 years ago this year.
“When I sat down and starting writing ‘Life and Times,’ I really wanted to try and get back to that deeper spiritual place [where I was with 'Workbook'] to write from that template,” he said.
“If the stories aren’t there, it’s pointless because it really has to have those stronger stories with a deeper spirit... it’s a really cool record, it moves by really quickly and it feels like a complete album.”
Indeed, on certain tracks like “Wasted World," Mould makes it seem easy to write complex, riff-heavy rock with minor-key melodies and compelling lyrical content.
“That song is about the idea of how people talk about the Internet. [The Internet] is really this gross amplification of what we are as people and beings.... I mean you can go down the rabbit hole really fast, a lot faster than you could in real life 20 years ago. That’s sort of a mysterious idea.”
The “See a Little Light” singer was most animated last week when talking about his experience in his adopted hometown of Washington D.C. at Barack Obama’s inauguration.
“I was in pretty close,” he said of his experience on the National Mall on Inauguration Day, “but more than being close and seeing what was in front of my eyes, it was the whole process from start to finish and just seeing the multitude of people...that struck me as a mandate. A lot of people were there from all over the country. At that moment, even the people in D.C. were nice."
But Mould added that it wasn’t all hugs and flowers that day in our nation's capital.
“There were moments where it was the most dangerous setting I’ve ever been in my life physically ... 50,000 people were log-jammed for an hour and a half. That’s a scary feeling, but what we tried to do was just reassure everyone who was starting to panic that it was going to be OK. That was just a small glimpse for me of what community is all about.”
For those unable to catch Mould at the Hotel Café or at Coachella, a fall tour with a full band is in the works.
Photo credit: Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times