I love Bob Mould. I’ve loved his solo work ever since Workbook in 1989 and its ferocious follow-up Black Sheets Of Rain (back at the NME, when our boss Danny Kelly left, we dispatched him to interview Bob, who was his punk-rock hero, and we put the story on the cover, as a parting gift to Danny); I loved Sugar during the grunge years and saw them a couple of times, Copper Blue and Beaster being touchstone albums for the early part of that decade (“I’m not your Jesus Christ! I know! I know!”); and I grew to love Husker Du in tardy retrospect, especially Zen Arcade and Candy Apple Grey and that album’s crowning glory, Hardly Getting Over It, which turned out to be a Mould composition and not one of Grant Hart’s.
But never mind all that; I learned to actually love Bob Mould when I met him, a few years ago, on 6 Music. As my producer Leona will attest, he was a fabulous guy, a real joy to have in the studio. He was a “confused, self-hating gay man during the Reagan years” – that’s how he described himself. He was outed by Spin in 1994 (pretty much against his will), and it seems it was the decision to move to New York City that gave him the space and confidence to open up and come to terms with his own sexuality, since which he’s been more than comfortable with it. He moved to Washington DC seven years ago and you can read all about his daily life on his excellent, self-effacing but often funny blog, a superb mix of domestic bliss (he’s put a fence up) and gay clubbing (bears and cubs) with a lot of links I feel sure I’d be out of my depth by clicking on!
Anyway, his new album is Life And Times (released here in March) and I interviewed him on the phone about this and other matters two nights ago for the next issue of Word, which you’ll have to wait to read. The funny thing was, I’d just been watching old footage of Husker Du on YouTube before our call, and Bob had just been watching my interview with Mickey Rourke on YouTube. It’s a small world.