Hüsker Dü Press Releases
Sugar — Copper Blue

Rykodisc press kit, mid 1992










Text transcription (for searchability/quotability):

 
                          SUGAR BUZZ


For Bob Mould, forming his new band Sugar and recording COPPER BLUE, the group's Rykodisc
debut, was like "Starting again at zero." After two critically acclaimed, darkly introspective solo albums,
following nearly a decade as guitarist with the legendary hardcore band Hüsker Dü, Mould was ready
for a new beginning. Armed with an exceptionally diverse body of musical expertise, a new batch of
songs, and ex-Zulus' drummer Malcolm Travis and ex-Mercyland bassist David Barbe, Mould took
the plunge. The result, COPPER BLUE (RCD 10239/RACS), is perhaps Mould's best recording since
the mid-eighties, combining the dense, melodic noise of his previous recordings with a sharp,
hypnotic musicality. Surging with melody, the album's ten songs are simultaneously coarse and
beautiful, a spontaneous, appealing blast of sound.

The genesis of COPPER BLUE dates back to the end of Mould's 1990 tour for his last album. BLACK
SHEETS OF RAIN, along with its predecessor, WORKBOOK, were a culmination of a period of
self-examination for Mould which had begun with Hüsker Dü's split in late 1987. "After nine years of
diversion," Mould says. "It was a backlog of different ideas that I'd had for a long time." Released in
1989, WORKBOOK's stark, acoustic arrangements and unusual instrumentation -- a cello figures
prominently in the mix -- was a surprising contrast to the album's emotionally-charged lyrical content.
Its follow-up, BLACK SHEETS OF RAIN, proved to be a further psychic house cleaning. "Dark clouds
were hanging over that project," he recalls. "It was a blow out, a heavy sonic blow out." After
completing the tour which followed the album's release in the fall of 1990, Mould commenced another
period of re-evaluation. He dispensed with his management, his recording contract, and other
assorted business partnerships. "I was trusting other people's opinions," he says. "Working with
people who had a different vision of me."

Last year, while considering how to establish more independence and retain artistic control, Mould
embarked on a ten month solo acoustic tour around much of the world. Those weeks on the road
helped renew Mould's confidence in himself and his music. "It was really therapeutic," he says. "I
realized I didn't need a gigantic machine, I could drive myself."

Despite interest from both major and indie labels eager to sign him, Mould stayed true to his own
independent vision, signing a recording deal with Rykodisc. "Rykodisc understood my concerns
about what I wanted to do with my work and my business," he explains. The months of touring solo
also helped convince Mould to form Sugar. "I was ending the shows playing electric guitar really
loud," he says. "And seeing how people reacted to it, I was thinking how great it would be to get out
there with a band and play."

When he returned to New York, Mould contacted Malcolm Travis, whom he had met while producing
the Zulus album DOWN ON THE FLOOR several years before. "I knew he was a great drummer," he
says. "And I knew it was just a matter of time before they broke up. David [Barbe] was an acquaint-
ance from Athens and I enjoyed his presence," he adds. "Malcolm and David had never met before
the rehearsals and it just clicked immediately. I knew they had the musical taste and personal qualities
of the things I wanted to do."

After three weeks of rehearsals in Athens this past spring, the trio emerged for an unannounced SRO
debut performance at the Athens' 40 Watt Club, which rocked, in the words of SPIN, "with a fire and
grit not seen since mid-'80s Hüsker Dü." Sugar then recorded the album at the Outpost, a studio in
Stoughton, Massachusetts, with Mould co-producing along with Boston-based producer Lou
Giordano (King Missile, Eleventh Dream Day).

"I could sense there was a certain amount of excitement in this record," Mould says. "People weren't
punching a time clock. It was something people were really looking forward to. There was a reason
to be a band and I think you can hear it. I just didn't know how punk rock it was going to be until it
happened.

"Unlike other records I've made, I really achieved what I wanted to do," he adds. "It's the best of both
worlds. It's not as stoic or picturesque as WORKBOOK, the scenarios are much funnier, there's a
certain amount of laughing at life, which was something that has been missing."

On songs like "Good Idea," "Hoover Dam," "Slick," and "Man On The Moon," Mould's satirical,
sometimes nonsensical lyrics create a counterpoint to the songs' evocative melodies and fierce
delivery. Yet tracks like "Changes" and "The Slim" are as dark as anything he's ever written.
"Helpless," the first single, is an impassioned blast of melodic energy, and will be released
commercially (RCD 1024) with two non-LP tracks and an acoustic mix of the album's "If I Can't
Change Your Mind."

Since it's impossible to erase the past, Mould is already aware that Sugar's stripped-down line-up and
unbridled punk enthusiasm will probably draw comparisons to his former outfit. "Sugar is not the only
band compared to Hüsker Dü," Mould laughs heartily, recognizing the irony of the recent success of
the grunge metal sound he pioneered a decade ago. "We suffer the same plight that hundreds of
other bands around the world do. It's just too bad that it has one of the ex-members in it. But don't
condemn me for having a power trio. I was at every Hüsker Dü show, I didn't miss one. It's obvious
that there would be some parallels.

"I've done a couple of lifetimes' worth of stuff already," he adds quite seriously. I don't know if I can
change the world anymore. All I can do now is enjoy the time I have left here making music.
Ultimately this record will stand on its own. It's a timepiece, a snapshot in time."
Press contacts:
Carrie Anne Svingen (508/xxx-xxxx)
Joanne Brown (212-xxx-xxxx or 718-xxx-xxxx)

Radio contact:
Jim Neill (508-xxx-xxxx)

Back to Press Releases Index