Saturday, August 6, 2011

Review Of Bob Mould's autobiography

I never saw Husker Du; I had a copy of Zen Arcade and New Day Rising. The second album is one of my favorites. I saw Bob perform a few years ago in Irving Plaza; the last time was at a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall, where performers played REM songs. He came on the stage, plugged in his guitar and kicked ass in his rendition of, “Sitting Still.” I read Bob Mould’s autobiography See a Little Light. This is one autobiography I wanted to read, so when I saw it on sale at the Borders which is closing like the others across the country, I bought it. I don’t believe I’m a fan of this form of writing, I expect the worst. There is a strange balance when reading an autobiography, between the sense the writer is self indulgent and narcissistic to perhaps sharing struggles that inspire. I’m writing this a couple of days after finishing the book, but my first thought would tip the scale towards self indulgent. Mould has many issues he is honest but cautious addressing, there is a sense he is not being too open. He is a professional and knows what buttons to push for the public, but keeps his soul.
When writing fiction one of the rules is to create a character that people will admire. When writing an autobiography the writer should consider how they come across to the reader. I didn’t labor through the almost 400 pages, but I wish Mr. Mould would elaborate more on his emotions. The book is a series of relationships, events as well as synopsis of his songs and life at the time the songs were composed. Being a fan of Husker Du there are stories of the struggling band, barely enough to eat and earning pittance. The story of their break up is chronicled in the book; it was not Grant’s addiction to heroin. The band signed a contract with Warner and that was the beginning of the end. The band became a job. Egos played and still play a part that keeps the band in the past without a hope they’ll reform. Let’s see, since money motivates. The money Husker Du earned intoxicated Mould though he gave up drinking at 25.
Mould struggled to hide his homosexuality for years till he agreed to address it in an article in Spin. He was upset for the way he was portrayed since he said he was not like most gays, in other words he was and is not an effeminate male. I think his coming out was a way to promote his new band Sugar and to rid the Husker Du past. He shares his desire for the burly men - even military porn, as well as some episodes that I felt were leaning towards indulgencies, but without sharing too much of his motivations, other than going through some “dark” times. Most of his relationships with men are long lasting. He moves fairly frequently, from his upstate New York hometown to college and a young career in Minneapolis to Hoboken, then across the river to New York City off to Austin and to DC and finally to San Francisco. His music like his moves has developed - even influenced his personality. He currently DJ’s for a certain group of burly men, referred to as bears. But I’m disappointed to learn he’s sort of retired from performing with a band.
Would I recommend this book? I would, I cared for the SST stories and Black Flag plays a part in Mould’s past. The early days are well chronicled, but this book could have been shorter.

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