Do You Remember?
Bob Mould: Guitar, Vocals
Greg Norton: Bass
Grant Hart: Drums, Vocals
MRR: How long have you guys been playing together?
Bob: We have been a band for over three years now. In our original form.
MRR: You must have seen a lot of changes in the Minneapolis scene since
Bob: Yeah, club turnover, a lot of bands that you'd think, "Jeez, these
guys have got it made; in a year they will be on top" and instead they
Bob: Minneapolis is a strange town. Geographically it's split by the
Mississippi River, so a lot of people wonder whether the music is
influenced by the west coast or by the east coast, New York-art cancer
type stuff. And then there's a contingent that think they're Huntington
Beach clones. So it's a pretty weird place in that sense.
MRR: Do you think the film "The Decline of Western Civilization" has
influenced a lot of kids to either start bands or get into hardcore kind
Grant: Well, we've never seen it, but I guess you can say, to a degree,
it may have influenced some kids. Actually, it was playing somewhere just
as we had left to go on tour but we missed it.
MRR: You have been playing pretty much the same music since you began,
Bob: We have been doing what is supposedly called "Hardcore" since three
MRR: How have audiences reacted to you on tour?
Greg: A lot of times, if the audience has never heard of us before or
never seen us, I think we confuse them. I'm not sure.
Bob: I don't know. What do you think crowds think the first time they
see us? (motioning to Biafra, who happens to be in the room)
Biafra: Umm, I think it's more a case of like standing in the dentist's
office waiting to be drilled on and not knowing what's going to happen
next. There are a lot of people who dance at first, and then realize that
maybe this just wasn't familiar and then stopped. People do not go to the
back of the room and talk to their friends, they just kind of freeze.
Greg: Yeah, that sounds about right.
Bob: If you have heard our album at all, there's that non-stop part on
it that's a good example of what we play like. You will get bands that
maybe play faster than us or something, but we don't stop. That's our
difference...stamina. You'll find bands that will do a thirty second song
then take a two minute break. We do ninety second songs and don't stop.
For thirty minutes of that straight it can become pretty confusing.
Greg: It's like the difference between a sprinter and a marathoner.
MRR: Do you see yourselves as being political in any sense?
Grant: If you're willing to accept a political ideology, that's like
accepting a label.
Bob: Somebody was in the room with us a minute ago and thinks Grant
said something like "aren't you glad this thing with Britain and the
Falklands is winding down?" and the guy goes "wait a minute, there was
this one really good quote that Anti-Pasti had in NME and it summed it
all up" and I felt like saying to the guy "what do YOU think of it?"
I think that kind of explains our position in a nutshell.
Grant: THINKING FOR YOUR FUCKING SELF. Or else you're going to have
other people thinking for you, who will probably do a much poorer job.
Bob: Our general message is "Don't look up to us, 'cause we're not the
answer." What we try to do in our music is pose questions, not answers.
We have our own answers, but they're good for us and not necessarily good
for everyone else.
MRR: Do you think the audience picks up on that? Do you think that
they really question themselves and other people?
Bob: Well, I think they question everything after they've seen us,
because it's a confusing thing. This is sort of off the track, but, like
the best way in terms of brainwashing or breaking down somebody's mental
capacity is through repetition. If you can hammer something at someone
over and over again you can get a message through. I think in a way our
music does that in a kind of subconscious way. People tend to think "What
the hell is going on?" And they maybe have to go home and think about
what happened. Like it wasn't "Oh, what a great time, the Budweiser was
cheap tonight." It's not like that. They may have to think a little.
Grant: People walk out of our gigs going "Boy, I don't know about these
Bob: It's nice to confuse them because then they have to straighten
things out for themselves.
MRR: What is your discography like so far?
Bob: We have a single that we put out ourselves in the beginning of '81,
we have the live album which came out on New Alliance in January of '82,
the new single "In A Free Land" that just came out recently, and we have
been working on a new 12 inch which should be out in a while.
MRR: There was a TV show the other day and this woman named Serena Dank
was the guest. She heads this group called "Parents of Punkers" that is
supposed to rehabilitate kids who have gotten into Punk music. One of
her arguments on the show was that younger kids could not handle the
music, that it would have a negative effect on their life. How do you
feel about this?
Bob: Well, is it like not being able to decipher the message, or osmosis,
or are they just becoming part of it? There are different reasons why
different people get into this kind of music. Some are in it for fashion,
some for the politics, some solely for the music, and some just to have
fun. It's like whatever level or however many levels you want to get into
it at. I think that regardless of age...
MRR: Specifically, I think what she was trying to say was that kids
between the ages of twelve and sixteen are not smart enough to think for
Bob (motioning to a friend of the band, in the room): How old are you
Jesse: I'm thirteen.
MRR: How do you feel about someone like Serena Dank saying that this
form of music might be hurting you? Or the idea that if you're at this
young an age, you can't think for yourself, and therefore, if you go to
shows and listen to this kind of music, it will make a negative impression
upon your life.
Jesse: That is just ludicrous. You can't generalize about people like
that. I really don't want to go into the social conditioning that we've
all gone through, and what not, but I think it really depends on what
kind of a person you are. Some people are, for lack of better words,
weak. They will slash themselves up, and wear swastikas and circled A's
without fully understanding what these things signify. On the other hand,
I believe that there are a lot of people--me for instance--who will not
necessarily conform to society and its standards but at the same time are
sensible about our actions. We can think for ourselves, yes.
Bob: As far as I'm concerned, people who wear spikes and stuff, I think
it's all right, but if you get confronted for it and can't back it up you
had better take it off. And that goes for all the political stuff and all
the social stuff, it goes for all the ramifications the word "Punk" or
"Hardcore" carries with it. If you don't want to live it or back it up
then pack it up.
MRR: So what you are saying is people who spout all this ideological
stuff about doing what you want to, thinking what you want to think,
should take on some responsibility for their actions?
Grant: I would not call it ideological.
Bob: That's being sensible, logical.
MRR: Yeah, but do you think that they have a responsibility as to how
their actions are going to affect other people?
Bob: Sure, that's what anarchy is supposed to be about, right?
MRR: Do you think that the majority of people who go to shows realize
Bob: No, but they are the blind followers, they're the ones who are
going to drop out when the new Classics Nouveau album comes out and it
looks like they're dressed hardcore. The people who are really into it
do not care about the labels or the attachments, or what the media thinks
of it. They're just interested about receiving or getting a message
through to other people, just relating with other people about free
Grant: you don't find many people, as Jesse said, who wear circled A's
that when asked what it means, will give you a responsible spiel.
Bob: Most of them should just say asshole. (maliciously)
Grant: The only labels I care for are record labels.
Bob: Or clothing labels.
Grant: Oh my God, your shirt is from Sears. I don't like you any more!
You don't belong!