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Bob Mould

11 June 2009

As an addendum to the short-take featured in the current issue (#64), here is part 1 of the complete text of the interview with BOB MOULD. The remaining parts of the interview will follow on the blog. The interview was conducted by myself and my wife, ANNE LEAVITT-GRUBERGER, before his show at the North Star Bar on April 4th, 2009. It was conducted underneath the main level of the club, in the performers’ dressing area.

Matt: During my first year of college, the concert organization that I was a member of booked THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BOSSTONES, so I met them and I saw their rider and they had a lot more food and beer than you have.

BOB MOULD: When I do band tours, the rider is much bigger because there’s six people on the road. We have one vegan, one carnivore and then four guys in the band who will eat meat and vegetables.

Matt: Ah, The Omnivore’s Dilemma!

BOB MOULD: Well everyone has things that they like. I always want the promoter to provide sliced turkey breast so that I have something to eat at 11:30 at night because usually in anytown U.S.A., it’s usually Denny’s or Domino’s and I’m not crazy about either one.

Matt: Me neither! I’m curious if your current band is the same as on the last tour?

BOB MOULD: The drum throne tends to move around a little bit, but JASON NARDUCY will be playing bass and singing, RICH MOREL will be playing keys and singing and as it stands right, JON WURSTER (who played on Life and Times) will be the drummer on the tour. That’s the plan, but something could change with Jon because he plays with A.C. NEWMAN, SUPERCHUNK. He’s an amazing drummer and so much fun to play with.

We just saw him with A.C. Newman a few weeks ago. I’m curious if he’s still sporting the mid ‘80s juvenile delinquent look with the leather jacket and the stubble, sort of like BOOGER from Revenge of the Nerds or MCA from THE BEASTIE BOYS around that time.

BOB MOULD: He’s sort of working that. That’s how he shows up. We take him as he is.

Anne: Let’s not turn this into a fashion magazine interview.

BOB MOULD: There’s a minimal dress code for the band tour. I just ask that each band member wears a black shirt. It could be whatever black shirt without writing that they want.

Matt: Were you consciously thinking of the 20th anniversary of Workbook when you were recording Life and Times?

BOB MOULD: Yes and no. I started writing the record late it in the summer of ’07. District Line got delayed because I switched labels from Yep Roc to Anti. Anti wanted time to set the record up. District Line was in the can and done by February ’07, so it was a year old when it came out. It was supposed to come out in August or September ’07, but that’s when I started writing Life and Times. It’s a good thing it didn’t because I broke my ankle and I was in a cast for 4 to 6 weeks. It’s fine now, except it clicks. So when that happened, I sort of settled into a writing groove and the first three songs I wrote were the first 3 songs I wrote for Life and Times and they happened to have a Workbook feel. So, to answer your question, I didn’t start out with that in mind but it just ended up that way. I thought “this feels like Workbook again” and I sort of noticed that the 20th anniversary was coming up in a year and a half and wouldn’t it be nice if this record came out then. So it was sort of a natural thing, but I am aware of benchmarks like that.

Matt: I’ve also noticed that the last couple of albums don’t have the dance elements that Body of Song and especially Modulate had. Is that a conscious decision or something that just occurred by chance?

BOB MOULD: Again, it sort of occurred naturally. With Body of Song, it was a move back towards the guitars and with District Line, all but one song was really a move back towards the guitars and with Life and Times, it’s a completely a singer/songwriter thing. For six plus years now, Rich Morel and I have co-hosted a club night called Blowoff. We’re doing 35 events this year and I’m actually DJ’ing more than I’m performing now (almost) and because the DJ thing was gotten so intensive now, all of the energy that I’ve put into electronic music has gone into DJ’ing and I’m freed up to write songs.

Anne: It makes you have a chance to draw a distinct line.

BOB MOULD: So now I’ve got these two full-time jobs that are different, but complementary. Now I’m back on the guitar on a more consistent basis and I have a satisfactory outlet for the electronic stuff.

Anne: Are most of those Blowoff events in DC or do you take it elsewhere?

BOB MOULD: It’s monthly in DC, every two months in Manhattan, every two months in Brooklyn, every three months in Chicago, we start San Francisco in May and Atlanta in July. We do Provincetown. It’s gotten really successful.

Anne: We love the posters!

BOB MOULD: Yeah, the artwork’s amazing. LINAS GARSYS, our artist, is really, really good.