Tag Archives: Bob Mould

Zen and The End

Born in 1960 and growing up in New York (state), Robert Arthur Mould moved to Saint Paul and studies at Macalester College. This was where he met Grant Hart and Greg Norton.

They started rehearsing in Norton’s basement and soon formed “Hüsker Dü”, from here he is known as Bob Mould.

The first Hüsker Dü album, “Everything Falls Apart” was released in early 1983, the style was Hardcore Punk, and the original album was just over 19 minutes, with 12 tracks often under the 1 minute mark.

What came next was at the time a revolution, with Zen Arcade from july 1984 Hüsker Dü, on a double concept album, an unthinkable concept in punk, they created a pot of every imaginable ingredient from acoustic instruments, pop, jazz, psychedelia, noise and even Hare Krishna’s chanting (see this post), but not forgetting to add a lot of solid hardcore to the mix, the result was no less than explosive.

Hüsker Dü blew through the boundaries of hardcore punk, with a groundbreaking underground album that would become legendary in the formation of what would become the scene now known as Alternative.

Over the final four albums Hüsker Dü did before they disbanded in late 1987, they further evolved away from the fast noisy hardcore punk and towards a slower and more melodic rock. The last two albums was released after they signed with major label Warner Bros.

There are several explanations and no clear answer to why the bands broke up, but there was tension and rivalry between Bob Mould and Grant Hart and had been for years, Hüsker Dü’s young manager David Savoy committed suicide, and Grant Hart had a heroine problem.

After Hüsker Dü, Bob Mould moved to a farm in Pine City Minnesota, a small isolated location with a population of about 3000 people, where he would start writing his first solo album.

Workbook was released in 1989, the album was featuring bassist Tony Maimone original member of Pere Ubu, cellist Jane Scarpantoni, and drummer Anton Fier, all other instruments played by Mould.

Now everything hardcore was moved to the background if not completely gone and the sound is similar to what you would expect from bands like R.E.M.

The album was not selling well and neither was the next solo album from Mould,  he was soon released from his contract with Virgin Records

Mould was still recording demo tracks and he formed a new band Suger, with songwriter, singer, guitarist, and bass guitarist David Barbe and drummer Malcolm Travis in 1992, and soon releases the debut Copper Blue

Somewhat ironic this late effort would be the most successful album from one of the forefathers of Alternative American rock, now in the midst of “Grunge” becoming commercially successful; he would now reap the seed he had sown almost 10 years earlier.

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, should I smile or cry knowing that Zen Arcade was not ?. Anyway Copper Blue is a fine album, no doubt about that.

Sugar made an EP and another album before Mould broke the band up in spring 1996.

After this last band effort Mould has worked as a solo artist, releasing 10 albums between 1996 and 2016. His latest album Patch the Sky the last of a trilogy with 2012’s Silver Age 2012 and Beauty & Ruin 2014.

The final remark goes to Mould about “”The End of Things”:

“What happens if it does fall apart, so to speak? What if everything collapses?” And I also like the idea that people walk around and say, “Oh, it’s the Internet of things.” This whole new protocol — smartphones and stuff like that. And I thought, “How about the end of things?”