Clip: Bob Mould at the Sarasota Film Festival
Punk innovator Mould follows his muse
By MARY AWOSIKA
The underground scene is where Bob Mould seeks comfort.
The elusive singer-songwriter avoids the trappings of anything too
polished. That's why he started his first band Hüsker Dü, an American punk
band that laid the foundation of what would later become alternative rock.
The Hüsker sound, fueled by driving bass and Mould's spraying guitar and
angst-ridden vocals, was a direct reaction to the glossy music scene of the
early 1980s, Mould said on a cell phone conversation while driving to
Baltimore from his home in Washington, D.C.
"It was out of frustration for not being heard any other way," said Mould,
who said he listened to the Ramones and The Clash as a teenager. "It was at
the tail end of disco, and there was lot of payola and corporate-run music.
"I hated the music that I was hearing, except the punk stuff, and I thought
I could do it better than that."
Mould said he is flattered when he receives praise from bands such as
Nirvana and Green Day, whose members cite Hüsker Dü as an influence.
"It means a lot to me that they've taken those ideas and reshaped it," said
the 43-year- old, who said he has long since abandoned the hard-core punk
"I enjoy listening to that kind of music occasionally, but I'm past it,"
Mould said he plans to release an album called "Body of Song" this summer,
his first solo release since the debut of "Modulate" in 2002, a project
that opposed his loud, guitar-rock roots.
The evolution of music is something that should be embraced, Mould said.
"It can be a statement of rebellion," he said. "It can be a statement of
Mould is scheduled to perform for the Independent Visions series, a new
addition to the Sarasota Film Festival, at 9 p.m. today in the Sarasota
Municipal Auditorium after a screening of the independent film "Ong-Bak:
Tom Hall, the festival's director of programming who created the
Independent Visions series for non-mainstream filmmakers, said he wants the
festival to seek out more experimental work.
"This festival is known for its parties. It's very flashy and fun formal
events, but there's a community here that's into the independent film and
indie music scene," said Hall, who recruited Mould, Devotchka and Ted Leo
and the Pharmacists in an effort to draw a more diverse audience.
Mould said he's received several e-mails from fans in Jacksonville, Orlando
and Miami about his concert date in Sarasota.
"I've always felt an affinity for those who follow their muse, rather than
the taste of the moment," he said of performing for the indie series. "And,
it's good to see the festival branching out to other media forums."
Mould said he has never been content to stay within one genre. When Hüsker
folded in the late '80s, Mould went solo, then became the centerpiece of
the rock band Sugar in the mid-'90s.
He still tours solo, but has shifted his focus toward producing electronica
and house music.
"The house-rock music thing for a moment was really innovative," said
Mould, who also mentioned that the era of raves and underground dance
parties were the essence of what punk music was to the 1980s. "It left an
Mould has since teamed up with Richard Morel, a producer and remixer, to
create the Blowoff project. The duo DJs weekly Blowoff parties at the 9:30
Club in Washington, D.C., that feature dance and house music remixes. Mould
said he and Morel plan to release a Blowoff album in 2005.
"I've been doing a lot of digital recording, and manipulating of sound," he
said. "I look at how to fill space sonically without limitation."