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Magazine articles & interviews

BAM Bob Mould interview, 1989

This early post-Hüsker interview with Bob Mould was published in the 02 Jun 1989 issue of BAM, one of the SF weekly arts freebies. Photo credit: Marc Norberg.

How Dü You Mend A Broken Heart?
By Steve Stolder

      Midwesterner Bob Mould's entire demeanor recalls Nick Carraway's admission in The Great Gatsby: "I'm part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters." He speaks in a calm, dry tone; it's a voice without italics or exclamation marks — a voice as flat as the terrain surrounding the Twin Cities, where Mould, drummer Grant Hart and bassist Greg Norton emerged early in the decade as Husker Du. Powered by Mould's blitzing guitar and Hart's rampant drumming (and the shouted vocals of both), the Minnesota group ran up a string of albums that made them one of the most important and prolific bands of the '80s — LPs like Zen Arcade, New Day Rising, Flip Your Wig, and Candy Apple Grey. It all came to an end following the 1987 release of Warehouse: Songs And Stories, an extravagant and extended coda from the trio.
      A year and a half later, Mould walks stiffly across the lobby of a San Francisco hotel, dressed in cheap, conservative department store clothes (work shirt, button-up sweater), and bearing the pale complexion of a Northerner who's endured still another winter. He takes a seat in the corner of the lobby and fishes into his breast pocket for a pack of cigarettes that he plunders frequently over the course of the next hour.
      Mould has re-emerged with his first solo album, Workbook. It's a creation that Mould is justifiably proud of. "They're the best songs I've ever written, by far," he states flatly. Throughout the course of the interview, the slimmed-down Mould speaks easily about a variety of subjects, ranging from the breakup of Husker Du (co-leader Hart told Spin magazine that, despite his own heroin addiction, the split was caused by Mould's dictatorial nature), to his image as the personification of suicidal angst ("Are you gonna live another six months?" he offers as a fan's quintessential inquiry), to his retreat to rural Minnesota.

Mould: "I guess I just don't think of things in terms of positive and negative."
The song on the new album, "Brasilia Crossed With Trenton," is that a reference to where you live?
It makes allusions to where I live. I don't live in either city ... I live out in the country now and it's real relaxing. It forces you to be real creative. It's like when you extract yourself from an environment that you're really comfortable in. I guess the Twin Cities and having lived there for ten years and doing everything pretty much that there's to do there, it's nice to move to the country and sort of isolate yourself and force yourself to come up with some original ideas. I guess original in the sense of me being the origin of the ideas, as opposed to the environment.

The place that you live in — you actually live in the country or in a small town?
It's sort of between two small towns.... It's
about an hour [from the Twin Cities].... I go about once a week, pick up tape or typewriter ribbons or something.
What possessed you to move to that particular area?
I have no idea. It just sort of happened. In the fall of '87, right before I left the Huskers ... I don't know, maybe it was a sign [laughs]. It wasn't something I really thought about. It's just like one day I decided to move, then two months later I left the group. It was like perfect timing.

On the Husker Du split, I assume you read Spin's interview with Grant Hart.
No. I heard there was a Husker Du article in there. I really don't have any desire to [read it].

You know what the crux of it is?
Yeah, I heard the gist of it from other people
who were with the band for years, calling up and saying, "Did you see this great story on Husker Du?" I said, "No. Tell me about it" and people were telling me the things that were in it. I kept laughing sort of harder and harder. They were going on, "Aren't you mad? This isn't the way we remember it." I said, "Well, whatever."

How do you remember it?
How do I remember it? I remember leaving the group at the end of January. I remember telling Grant and [bassist] Greg [Norton] that I quit the band because I'd had enough of the way things were going.

What ultimately prompted you to leave the group?
You know, Husker Du was a great, great band. I think maybe we should have packed it in a

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