AN ALMOST CRYPTIC CONVERSATION WITH Bob Mould, guitar & vocals for
Hüsker Dü (done 12/14/83).
Gerard Cosloy: So you're just doing three dates on the East Coast on this
Bob Mould: Yeah, just a brief jaunt out east. SST wanted us to basically
support the record, and we'd already been on the West Coast in October.
We're hoping to come back to the East Coast in March or early April, if
GC: I've got plenty of questions about the new record (Metal Circus).
Is "The Real World" directed at anyone in particular?
Bob Mould: Reading the fanzines and stuff, you'll see a lot of kids write
in and sign their letters "anarchy and peace," that kind of thing. I don't
think that many of them live what that means; I mean, they all live at home
with their parents, they all value greatly their possessions, I'm sure.
There are exceptions, too. But that's just my view of the world.
GC: It seems that a lot of the "political" 'zines, what they're talking
about doesn't have a lot to do with day-to-day life.
BM: It doesn't have a lot to do with day-to-day life and it doesn't have
a hell of a lot to do with music. I'm not saying that music and politics
can't be bedmates. The song was just something I felt I had to say at
the time. I think it holds true that people are basically the same.
That's the general point, that you can sing any song you want, but you're
still the same person. People look out for #1, first and foremost.
GC: Production on this record seems a lot louder than on any of the others.
BM: Louder? Great. It's a lot edgier sounding, the guitars a lot more
forward this time. There are more guitars too.
GC: When you record, is everything one take? Do you overdub a lot?
BM: We'll go in and do our basic tracks. The three of us will do
essentially the same things you'll hear live. I might overdub a guitar
solo or another guitar track, 'cause when we're doing the basic track,
we're mainly trying to lay down a hot rhythm line.
GC: Are yu still using your basic distortion box/chorus setup?
BM: Yeah, although I did use a harmonizer on this record, which is
basically a chorus hooked up to the board. It's warmer and sounds cleaner
than a foot pedal.
GC: I'm not always sure who's singing on what songs sometimes.
BM: Grant sings "Diane" and "It's Not Funny Any More," and I sing the rest
on this record.
GC: Some radio folks in Western Mass. have had some pretty interesting
interpretations of "Diane...."
BM: Hmmm. Like what?
GC: Well, one person claimed on-air that the song is condoning rape.
BM: No, not at all. It's based on a true story. There was this girl
Diane Edwards who Grant knew sort of vaguely. She was working at the
Perkins Restaurant, which is like Country Kitchen, one of those
chains, and she was picked up hitchhiking. The guy who picked her up
drove her down to Elk River, down by the Girl Scout camp there, and raped
her and stabbed her over and over...it got a lot of publicity. It was in
all of the newspapers, a real local thing. It's not a condoning of anything,
it's just an account of what happened.
GC: I saw it as taking on the voice of a character, not that anyone would
sympathize, but perspective changes.
BM: Yeah, it's through the rapist's eyes. It's anything but pro-rape.
I feel sorry for people who take these things at face value, but you take
that risk any time you're dealng with printed or spoken expression, I
guess. People want things made easy.
GC: It does seem like you guys are taking great pains to distinguish
yourselves from everybody else on the new EP.
BM: Reactions have been 90% super-positive. Some people have slagged
the production, some have slagged the vocals as being too same-y. Just
the general slags you're apt to get when you're dealing with so-called
new wave writers or rock critics, or any self-appointed arbiter of public
coolness. It's a very personal record, so I guess it's hard for people.
Our next record is even more personal.
GC: Is that gonna be a double LP?
BM: Yeah, probably.
GC: So i guess you don't find it hard to come up with new material?
BM: No, it comes pretty easy. I give guitar lessons, and when I'm not
doing that I'm practicing, so I'm always coming up with new ideas. What
isn't so easy is writing the words. If we had an easier time with lyrics,
we'd have 20 songs a month, no problem.
GC: One thing that's bugged me is how so many people still view you guys
in the context of being a "hardcore" band.
BM: When we started in '79 we were playing the same songs that ended up
on Land Speed Record, and back then there was no such word in
our dictionaries as "hardcore." I guess we sort of fell into the category
for some pretty nebulous reasons. When we started writing songs about
politics, we were writing about local politicians and local politics.
As far as I'm concerned, the whole hardcore thing is killing itself.
There are so many bands that are militantly hardcore, but still have
something to say. There are clubs you'll never play, radio stations that
will never play you, writers that will never care. If all these bands have
such an important message, then why are they limiting themselves?
GC: You can be accessible without seling out.
BM: I mean, fuck, we've got something to say; we think it's real true.
We want everybody to hear it. We'd be fools not to. Some of these bands
miht be saying. "we'll never go past our circle of friends," or a circle of
fanzines, and that's okay. But when you've been playing for five years, you
start wondering if maybe you wouldn't like to reach more poeple, if maybe
you don't like being categorized forever.