Results for Hüsker Dü

interviews

Bob Mould

Huskerdu Like most breakups, band breakups can be agonizing and traumatic, but also opportunities for self-reflection and reinvention. This week Jim and Greg talk to Hüsker Dü songwriter and guitarist Bob Mould about the breakup of his band - on the cusp of what many believed would be their mainstream breakthrough - and his subsequent reinvention as a solo artist. It's a period Mould talks about in his new memoir, See a Little Light, though he rarely discusses it in person. Aside from being one of the most rousing live rock n' roll acts around, Minnesota's Hüsker Dü was amazingly prolific. With Mould on guitar, Grant Hart on drums, and Greg Norton on bass, the band took punk velocity and pop craft to superhuman levels on a series of significant releases between 1984 and 1986: Zen Arcade, New Day Rising, Flip Your Wig, and Candy Apple Grey. But as Mould recalls, after the band's move to a major label, personal relationships, competition, and addiction proved to be toxic. The crisis came after a disastrous 1987 performance in Columbia, Missouri, when Hart's drug use brought the show to a halt. It was the period, Mould emphasizes, at the end of a very long sentence. The band broke up shortly thereafter. Bob also discusses his retreat to rural Minnesota, where he began experimenting with new instruments and alternate tunings. In 1989, he would re-emerge as a solo artist with another great album, Workbook.

Want more Mould? Listen to Jim and Greg's 2008 interview with Bob here.

Go to episode 295

Bob Mould

Throughout his storied career, songwriter and guitarist Bob Mould seems to be driven by the mystical power of the number 3. He's best known for his work with a couple of power trios: the pioneering Minneapolis punk band Hüsker Dü and the successful alternative era band Sugar. He's now formed trio #3 along with bassist Jason Narducy and drummer Jon Wurster (Superchunk, The Mountain Goats, Scharpling & Wurster). Together they've recorded three (of course) albums, most recently the double-Buy It earning Patch the Sky. This week, Bob Mould joins Jim and Greg for the third time in the show's history, this time with Narducy and Wurster in tow. They give a blistering live performance and discusses the vitality of guitar music, finding salvation through rock, and Bob's polarizing turn toward electronica.

Go to episode 552

Bob Mould

One of the most influential figures in independent music, Bob Mould, joins Jim and Greg this year. For almost 30 years he has been making music with Hüsker Dü, Sugar and as a solo artist. Now he has a new album out called District Line. Jim and Greg wanted to talk to Bob about the progression of his music, which has evolved from electric guitar-based pop to a more electronic sound. But listeners who are wary of electronic flourishes can rest assured according to Bob — the signature guitars are still there. And, he admits that over the course of 20-something years it's hard to grow and still please loyal fans.

Bob Mould loyalists can also count on him for dark, introspective tunes. But, as the songwriter explains, as he's gotten older, and perhaps wiser, his songs are not only autobiographical, but also observational. Jim and Greg joke that he was inspired by his time as an advice columnist for the Washington City Paper. You can hear Bob's writing style — new and old — in the songs "Again and Again" from his new album, and "I Apologize," a Hüsker Dü classic. You should also check out this bonus web track.

Go to episode 119

Mark Anthony Neal and Joan Morgan

Next Jim and Greg welcome Mark Anthony Neal, a professor of Black Popular Culture at Duke University and author of New Black Man: Rethinking Black Masculinity, and Joan Morgan, a writer and critic who recently left her post as Executive Editor of Essence Magazine. Joan and Mark have been debating the merits and demerits of hip hop since they grew up as friends and neighbors in "Boogie Down Bronx." And Joan was one of the first music critics to examine the dichotomy of hip hop fandom and feminism in her 1990 Village Voice review of Ice Cube's first classic album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted. Greg asks Joan what she makes of misogyny in modern hip hop. She explains that it was always there, but the level of it has changed. That concept of women has consumed commercial rap music, so listeners don‘t hear a lot of balance in perspective and tone. She also explains that something like the Ice Cube album is actually easier to wrestle with because it’s a brilliant album. Joan and Mark explain that labels are as complicit as artists in perpetuating a certain level of misogyny since they are the ones actually limiting the range of what you hear in hip hop.

Greg wonders if perhaps the consumer has already begun to speak out. Last year's top hip hop act, T.I., sold 1.7 million copies of his album King. Those aren‘t paltry figures to be sure, but they are definitely much smaller than what we’ve seen from star rappers in years past. Mark sees less revenue and less investment in major-label hip hop as a good thing; it's an opportunity for fresher sounds to come into the marketplace. Jim likens the trend to the development of indie rock in the '80s. That market was also glutted with big name acts like Poison and Mötley Crüe, leaving music fans to seek out underground rock from bands like Hüsker Dü and The Minutemen. Perhaps next we'll enter into an era of indie hip hop.

When asked about the effectiveness of banning certain words in hip hop music, Joan first expresses disappointment in what came out of Simmons and the Hip Hop Summit Action Network's meetings. Without doubting Simmons‘ sincerity, she calls the resulting call to action anemic at best and disingenuous at worst. Mark also grates against people, especially members of the“old guard,”making proclamations about culture or language. This kind of criticism is compounded by the fact that critics of rap music often don’t understand aesthetics. Mark's specific example is the hit hip hop single "In Da Club." People that take issue with the shallow nature of 50 Cent's lyrics may be failing to hear what makes a song like that so popular — the production and the beats. Mark furthers that rulings against specific words don't take into consideration that some rappers can make really complex, compelling statements using racial or sexist epithets. Joan adds that you can also say some really sexist, racist and homophobic things without using any“bad words”at all.

Go to episode 82

Top Albums of 2005

The“Best Records”list: It's“a sacred thing”in pop music fandom, says Jim, requiring a discerning ear and laser-like focus. Thankfully, our hosts are here to help. After sifting through hundreds of records, and countless days spent listening (perhaps to the discontent of their wives), they‘ve managed to pick out their absolute favorites. Here’s what Jim and Greg say they'll still be listening to in 2006.

Go to episode 2

Parts and Labor

This week Dan Friel, B.J. Warshaw and Chris Weingarten of Parts and Labor visit the show. The experimental indie rock band formed in 2002 after Dan and B.J. worked together at New York's famed Knitting Factory. All of the members bonded over their love of the noise-meets-melody formula perfected by bands like Mission of Burma, Hüsker Dü and The Boredoms. But, with a low-budget aesthetic that includes the use of toy keyboards, cheap foot pedals and distortion devices, the band has carved out a unique sound of their own that can be heard on their most recent album Mapmaker. Greg for one is already a fan of Mapmaker and says that if you like rock at all, you have to like Parts and Labor.

Parts and Labor are as striking visually as they are audibly. The band had a complicated setup of gizmos, toys and instruments — none of which are more expensive than $200. The result is not a rinky-dink sound, though. The band is known for its anthemic songs, and their performance at Chicago Public Radio literally shook the station's walls. But, Jim and Greg note that if you strip the songs of their big effects, they could hold up as quiet, acoustic tracks. In fact, one of the band's original missions was to include politics in their songwriting. Now, with this third release, things are getting more personal.

Go to episode 78

Eleventh Dream Day

Eleventh Dream Day Jim and Greg harken back to the alternative era this week as they sit down with Eleventh Dream Day. The band formed in 1983 and got its start as part of the Chicago underground scene alongside peers Hüsker Dü in St. Paul and Nirvana in Seattle. Greg remembers watching Eleventh Dream Day perform at that time, and knew they were destined for big things. But, while albums like Prairie School Freakout garnered high critical praise and caught the attention of Atlantic Records, they were never able to achieve major commercial success. As Jim notes, however, they are having the last laugh with their impressive longevity, especially considering founding members Rick Rizzo and Janet Beveridge Bean got married, had a child and got divorced, all while maintaining the group. In January Eleventh Dream Day released its eleventh studio album Works for Tomorrow, and they show no signs of slowing, as is clear in this ferocious live performance in the Sound Opinions studio.

Go to episode 540

Donovan

This week Jim and Greg talk with legendary '60s singer/songwriter Donovan. In honor of his 40th anniversary in the music business, Donovan has written an autobiography, released a box set, and set out on tour. A contemporary of Bob Dylan and The Beatles, Donovan was acclaimed for his finger-picking style, which he garnered from The Carter Family and demonstrates for our hosts.

Jim and Greg also want to know about the sex, drugs, and rock and roll in Donovan's life. Specifically, they discuss his experience being busted for drugs in 1966. His arresting officer, Sgt. Pilcher, later targeted fellow British rockers Keith Richards, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and John Lennon.

Another part of the Donovan mythology involves the origin of his song "Mellow Yellow." As Jim points out, many people believe that Donovan was alluding to the ability to get high by smoking banana peels. While Donovan does not refute this idea, which was tried out by Country Joe McDonald, he also admits that part of the song's imagery was taken from a“marital device”he saw advertised in a magazine. In his book, Donovan also suggests that Andy Warhol may have been inspired by the "electrical banana."

Jim and Greg also ask Donovan about covers of his songs. They play for him the Butthole Surfers' rendition of "Hurdy Gurdy Man." Other notable covers include Hüsker Dü's "Sunshine Superman," Eartha Kitt's "Hurdy Gurdy Man," and My Morning Jacket's "Wear Your Love Like Heaven."

Go to episode 7
specials

Rock Clubs in the 21st Century

Just like the small independent band or the mom and pop record store, independently owned rock clubs are also finding it hard to navigate their way through the ever-changing, increasingly corporate music industry. Cities often don‘t have the friendliest live music regulations, especially after tragedies like 1993’s E2 stampede and The Station fire. But, with album sales down, bands are more and more dependent on live music revenues. Jim and Greg have been writing about this issue in Chicago for years, but wanted to get a national perspective. They invited the following guests to share their insights: Sean Agnew of R5 Productions in Philadelphia, Mitchell Franks of Spaceland, Echo and Echoplex in Los Angeles and Jake Szufnarowski of Rocks Off Concert Promotions in New York City.

Rock clubs have an important place in the music industry, but they are just as important to the music fan as well. To illustrate this, Jim and Greg both reveal two of their most significant experiences at an independently owned music venue. Jim discusses seeing Hüsker Dü perform their album Zen Arcade in its entirety. It was at Maxwell's on New Year's Eve, and Jim was a college student. As he explained during The Feelies' interview, Maxwell's was pivotal to him learning about music, and this Hüsker Dü performance, complete with wrestling, was one of his most memorable. Jim plays "What's Going On?" from Hüsker Dü's live album The Living End.

Greg discusses seeing house music fixture Ron Hardy DJ at Chicago's Muzic Box. Hardy was not as internationally known as his peers, but Greg remembers how the DJ was able to bring together so many different types of music fans. The democracy of the dance floor is one of the reasons music clubs are so integral to the community. Greg plays a famous track from Hardy's set list, "Love Can't Turn Around."

Go to episode 140

Touch and Go Records

This week Jim and Greg wanted to take a look at one of the music industry's most important independent labels: Touch and Go Records. Touch and Go recently turned 25 and celebrated with a three-day bash at Chicago's Hideout Block Party. Over the course of the show, you‘ll hear why Jim and Greg wanted to focus on this modest Chicago label. You’ll also hear from the founder himself, Corey Rusk, and a number of the label's artists, including Scott McCloud from Girls Against Boys, Janet Weiss from Quasi (and formerly Sleater-Kinney), Ted Leo, David Yow from Scratch Acid and The Jesus Lizard and recording engineer and musician Steve Albini of Big Black and Shellac fame.

Touch and Go's founder Corey Rusk is known not just as a tastemaker with an incredible ear for talent, but also as one of the most honest businessmen in the biz. This is what separates Touch and Go from other labels, major and independent alike. Rusk's business model, which doesn't shy away from the Internet and which relies merely on trust and a handshake, has kept it going for 25 years, helping it to outlive its peers. Labels like Twin/Tone in Minneapolis, which launched The Replacements, SST in California which launched Black Flag and Hüsker Dü, and I.R.S. in which launched R.E.M. and The Go Go's, all emerged in the early '80s after punk's mainstream explosion and before alternative's reign. However, Touch and Go is the only one of the bunch not only to stay in business, but to do so successfully and independently.

The best way to understand the label's significance is to sample some of the music. You'll hear these songs in our short-but-sweet montage of Touch and Go music:

  1. Killdozer, "Hi There"
  2. Girls Against Boys, "Kill the Sexplayer"
  3. The Dirty Three, "Doris"
  4. Jesus Lizard, "Mouth Breather"
  5. TV on the Radio, "Dreams"
  6. Butthole Surfers, "Fast"
  7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs, "Art Star"
  8. Calexico, "Cruel"

Touch and Go has put out a lot of music over the past quarter century, but Jim and Greg both manage to pick their single favorite T&G tracks. Greg goes first and chooses "Stage 2000" by Seam. Touch and Go is often thought of as the place to go to for loud, hard-edged punk music, and that is certainly true. However, their roster is actually quite diverse, and there are a number of bands like Seam, who are making beautiful, soft, melodic music.“Stage 2000”is on Greg's favorite Seam album, The Problem With Me. That album was recorded with Chicago producer Brad Wood, best known for producing Liz Phair's classic Exile in Guyville.

Jim's Touch and Go pick is "Kerosene" by Big Black off their 1985 album Atomizer. Though Atomizer was initially released by Homestead Records, Big Black moved to Touch and Go a year later, and the label reissued the band's entire catalog. So we'll let Jim slide on this one — especially since no one has been as closely associated with Touch and Go as Big Black founder Steve Albini. Albini came to Chicago to study journalism at Northwestern, and Jim can hear this sensibility in his lyrics. Songs like "Kerosene" are essentially sensationalistic tabloid stories backed with thrashing noise-rock.

Go to episode 43
reviews
Patch the SkyPatch the Sky available on iTunes

Bob Mould Patch the Sky

Guitarist and singer Bob Mould returns with a new album called Patch the Sky. Mould, previously an integral member of the power trios Hüsker Dü and Sugar, has also maintained a successful solo career. And fans can always expect introspective material about family and relationships. Greg loves Mould's guitar playing, and really appreciates the juxtaposition of the up-tempo rhythms with the dark lyrics. He calls this Mould's mid-career renaissance and gives the album a Buy It. Jim wholeheartedly agrees. He respects Bob Mould for using his music to express his feelings and help alleviate negative energy. It's an enthusiastic Double Buy It for Patch the Sky.

JimGreg
Go to episode 539
Beauty & RuinBeauty and Ruin available on iTunes

Bob Mould Beauty and Ruin

10 solo albums later and former Hüsker Dü frontman (and friend of the show) Bob Mould still shows no sign of slowing down. The alt-rock pioneer adds another album to that list with his latest, this month's Beauty and Ruin. Jim and Greg celebrate the release as a return to form for Mould, who has often taken creative detours away from his rock trio past—one that paved the way for bands like Nirvana, Green Day, Nirvana and more. On Beauty and Ruin, Mould returns to that influential sound and reaches deep both into the din of his instrumentation, and into his personal history, to meld huge melodies with emotionally resonant lyrics. Greg loves the honesty and says Beauty and Ruin is a Buy It. Jim agrees the album is worth purchasing, but doesn‘t think it lives up to Mould’s previous album, 2012's Silver Age, in terms of killer hooks and levity. Jim says pick both up if you can.

JimGreg
Go to episode 448
Silver Age (Bonus Track Version)Silver Age available on iTunes

Bob Mould Silver Age

Next Jim and Greg review the new solo album from an artist they affectionately call "Uncle Grumpy": Bob Mould. If you were a music-loving kid coming up in the alternative '80s, Jim says, Mould's band Hüsker Dü, was a revelation. The band imploded too early to cash in on the nineties alternative gravy train, so Mould founded another band, Sugar, in 1992. He also put out a prolific series of arty solo albums. Lately, Mould's moved away from music to pursue writing. He published an autobiography See a Little Light last year (and discussed it on Sound Opinions). He says writing about his life inspired him to make Silver Age, a record he's called dumb rock fun. Is that true? Jim says Uncle Grumpy's just putting the critics off the scent. Like Mould's book, this record is all about dark and light, highs and lows. It's also got a wicked sense of humor.“Star Machine,”he says, is one of the most vicious eviscerations of the corporate rock machine he's ever heard. Jim gives Silver Age a Buy It. Greg agrees. He says Mould can be a bit meticulous and fussy in his solo work, but here he's letting it fly. Plus, he's got Superchunk's Jon Wurster playing drums on his record. So how could it be bad?

JimGreg
Go to episode 354
The Most Lamentable TragedyThe Most Lamentable Tragedy available on iTunes

Titus Andronicus The Most Lamentable Tragedy

The New Jersey punk band Titus Andronicus recently released their fourth album, The Most Lamentable Tragedy. The thematic nature of the record is about lead singer Patrick Stickles‘ battle with manic depression. It’s a rock opera, complete with five different acts, a silent intermission track and even a couple of covers. For Greg, every note oozes with importance and passion. He thinks the album as a whole is definitely overwhelming and opulent but ultimately a distinctive piece of work. He gives it a Buy It. Jim agrees and says that the music can overtake the listener, but one doesn't have to follow the somewhat complicated story to enjoy it. He thinks Titus Andronicus does a good job mixing a Celtic lilt with traditional punk sound and even thinks the album is on par with Hüsker Dü's Zen Arcade and Fucked Up's David Comes to Life. The Most Lamentable Tragedy receives a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 509
lists

Musical Grand Slams

With Chicago baseball trying to keep their heads up during this World Series, we thought we'd inject a little joyous noise into this baseball season. Jim and Greg team up with Len Kasper, TV voice of the Chicago Cubs, to pay homage to their version of a Grand Slam. We all know how this works in baseball (though sports-phobe Jim DeRogatis is still getting the hang of the rules). A batter hits a home run with bases loaded, sending four players to home plate. In music, Jim and Greg define a grand slam as four masterpiece albums in a row. Which artists have achieved this rarest of rock feats? Jim and Greg sit down to compare stats.

Go to episode 518

Halloween Scary Songs

Let's face it. Rock ‘n’ roll can be plain scary to a lot of folks. But there are some songs and artists that go above and beyond and give even our hosts the creeps. Here are some of their favorite Scary Rock Songs to set the mood this Halloween.

Go to episode 257

Best Cover Songs

In the age of karaoke and“American Idol,”it's easy to forget how great a cover song can be. But, as Jim and Greg discuss, an artist's interpretation of someone else's song can often be better than the original. In those cases, the performer brings passion and a new spin to a song. During the course of the show, Jim and Greg run down their picks for best cover songs. (For an even longer list of noteworthy cover songs, go to the thread on the Sound Opinions Message Board.)

Go to episode 79

Anti-Love Songs

This year, we're celebrating Valentine's Day as only Sound Opinions can, with some anti-love songs! Greg and Jim share their favorite tracks that convey how much love can really stink sometimes. Then they chat with some listeners to hear what they have to say.

Go to episode 532

Apology Songs

There are a lot of ways to say“I'm sorry,”but what better method than through song. Jim, Greg and a few listeners share their favorite apology tracks.

Go to episode 581

Grand Slam Allstars

Go to episode 383
news

Music News

Go to episode 617

Music News

First up in the news is the official announcement of The Police reunion, which will kick off at this month's Grammy Awards. Jim and Greg asked Police guitarist Andy Summers about a potential reunion when he was on the show last year, but he wouldn‘t give up any secrets. What isn’t a secret is the potential for big bucks — something our hosts suspect to be the prime reason for Sting, Summers and Stewart Copeland joining forces again. Also cashing in on a reunion is Van Halen. The band has announced it will perform at the 2007 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, with a possible tour to follow. And, with pending reunions by Rage Against the Machine and Smashing Pumpkins, 2007 is poised to be the year of the reunion. Jim and Greg are still keeping their fingers crossed for reunions by The Smiths, Hüsker Dü and The Replacements.

Also making news is rocker Tom Waits. He sued car manufacturer Opel for using his vocal likeness in a recent Scandanavian ad campaign. Waits refused to lend his own voice to the commercial, so he believed Opel went out and found the next best thing. A judge agreed, and Opel was forced to pay an undisclosed settlement which Waits plans to give to charity. This isn't the first time the singer has had to tangle with an auto company. Last year he won a case against Volkswagen-Audi, which also impersonated his voice and changed his song without permission.

Next up Jim and Greg discuss YouTube's new plan to share revenue with some of its content providers. The website's co-founder Chad Hurley made the announcement at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and explained that revenues will only be shared with users who own the full copyright of their material. Guess this means that Lasse Gjertsen should be expecting a check sometime soon.

Go to episode 62