Hüsker Dü — Bob Mould, Grant Hart, and Gregg Norton — was the incredibly influential band at the heart of the punk in Minneapolis and nationally. They came into their own on the double album Zen Arcade (SST Records, 1984). They followed up with the highly regarded New Day Rising and Flip Your Wig on SST in 1985 before they were signed to a major label (Warner Bros.), where they recorded Candy Apple Grey (1986) and Warehouse: Songs and Stories (1987). I was impressed by their success with the rock crowd and rock critics but never saw them play or understood their aesthetic. I can’t do justice to them here.
I tuned in to Mould when the band broke up at the end of the ’80’s and Mould released Workbook on Virgin Records in 1989. It seems to me more accessible than his work with Hüsker Dü. He formed the trio Sugar and recorded a few albums with them before reclaiming his solo career.
Looking back, he wrote the memoir See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody (with Michael Azzerad, 2011). Dwight Garner has a good account of the book in his New York Times review. Garner’s review provides a glimpse of the emotions that underlie his music and the dissolute homosexual life Mould has pursued. As Garner puts it, “Hüsker Dü played faster and louder than almost any band of its era. The noise was an evocation of, and a cover for, Mr. Mould’s roiling emotions. He knew he was gay at 5, but throughout most of his career he fled from the stereotypical gay lifestyle.”
In any event, Mould is still working and touring. We can’t give an account of the local scene without acknowledgement of his work. “See a Little Light” is one of Workbook‘s best tracks.