Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Legendary Bob Mould to grace Iron Horse

By Dean Curran

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Courtesy of Myspace

This Tuesday night, underground music icon Bob Mould will perform at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton. Mould has been prolific in his three-decade career as the guitarist, singer, and songwriter of Hüsker Dü, Sugar, and his successful solo career. His song “Dog on Fire,” as performed by They Might Be Giants, is the theme song for The Daily Show and undoubtedly his best known work.  But Mould’s importance is not to be understated, for his contributions to the genre now known as alternative rock have made him a legend.

Though they achieved only moderate commercial appeal, Minneapolis post-hardcore three-piece Hüsker Dü is widely regarded as one of the most influential American rock bands of the 1980s. Their nine-year career was a remarkable musical progression that defied punk rock’s perceived limits, and in doing so conveyed the flexibly melodic potential of the genre.

Hüsker Dü’s fourth album, 1984s “Zen Arcade,” is a sprawling double concept album that vaguely follows a disaffected teen’s lucid journey through the greatest unknown, the self. Though informed by hardcore punk, the album is often considered the band’s masterpiece for its volatile experimentation and melodic mastery.

Both in sound and approach, Hüsker Dü was one of the primary forefathers of alternative rock, a genre which has now found mainstream success around the world. Mould’s guitar work has specifically been cited as a major influence for Nirvana, the Foo Fighters and the Pixies. Hüsker Dü was also one of the first American punk rock groups to sign to a major label, proving it was possible to do so without compromising creative vision. This set a strong precedent for scores of independent artists who would later emerge from the underground into the mainstream. In 1988, Hüsker Dü disbanded amid tensions between Mould and band member Grant Hart.

Mould released his first solo album, “Workbook,” in 1989. The album’s acoustic nature made it a departure from his work with Hüsker Dü, but earned him critical acclaim. The single “See a Little Light” remains one of his most popular songs to date. A year later, Mould released his second solo album, “Black Sheets of Rain,” which featured the Modern Rock Top 10 hit “It’s Too Late.”

In 1992, Mould formed alternative pop-rock group Sugar, whose first release, “Copper Blue,” became his most successful album to date. Two of the tracks, “If I Can’t Change Your Mind” and “Helpless” were MTV and college radio hits, and the album was nearly certified Gold by the RIAA.

Mould dissolved Sugar in 1995 and went on to release five more solo studio albums before releasing his most recent record, “Life and Times,” in 2009. Mould now lives in Washington D.C., and occasionally performs as a live DJ in Blowoff, a collaboration with dance music artist Richard Morel. He is currently writing a memoir to be released in spring 2011 with Michael Azerrad, author of “Our Band Could Be Your Life” and “Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana.

Bob Mould will be performing at the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton on Tuesday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m.  Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. 

Dean Curran can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “Legendary Bob Mould to grace Iron Horse”

  1. Renato on November 8th, 2010 11:32 pm

    Bob Mould used to live in DC, but he’s relocated to San Francisco 🙂

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