Bob Mould isn’t one to get stuck in a rut. “I get restless,” says the singer, songwriter and artist behind influential alternative bands Hüsker Dü and Sugar. “I enjoy the challenge of jumping into the unknown.”
Though the past has been good to him, Bob Mould isn’t afraid to forge ahead.
Following the release of his acclaimed memoir, See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody, which chronicled his journey from post-punk icon to pro-wrestling scriptwriter to gay activist, Mould has just put out his fifth solo album, Silver Age (Merge Records, $14) and overseen expanded reissues of the Sugar catalog.
“If I go back to Hüsker Dü, that was eight years of a very charged experience, starting out as a naïve punk band and then growing into this other thing,” he says. “The first reinvention for me was in 1988 with my first solo album, Workbook, where I stepped away from what was familiar and successful to create my own identity. … All the things that happened after that were a series of life choices and happy accidents: the solo records, script writing for wrestling, spending more time forging my gay identity, getting into electronic music and eventually sloping back towards home base.”
Home base is his current three-piece band, featuring Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster and Verbow bassist Jason Narducy. The power-trio format offers a welcome and familiar feel for Mould.
“In terms of a musical setup, there’s nothing like it, because there’s nowhere to hide,” he says. “It’s the format where anybody can lead; typically I drag the cart, but it’san interactive situation.”
The songs for Silver Age were written last winter following a long book-promotion tour and a series of arena shows where he guested with the Foo Fighters. Mould made detailed demos of the songs but didn’t show them to Wurster and Narducy until the sessions.
“This album is the sound of a band learning the songs together and hitting the record button,” Mould says. “I wanted to have that immediacy where we hadn’t already played the songs 100 times.”
While Silver Age finds Mould moving forward creatively, he’s also taking time to look back, marking the 20th anniversary of Sugar’s classic Copper Blue — which he has been performing live each night.
“I’ve never been a guy that’s big on nostalgia,” he says. “But that was a special record to a lot of people, especially me. When we play the songs, the looks on people’s faces … it takes them back to a place they enjoy.”