“See A Light Light” Marathon – Overview – Chapters 12-18
“See A Light Light” Marathon – Overview – Chapters 12-18

“See A Light Light” Marathon – Overview – Chapters 12-18

Note – this is an overview of “See A Little Light: The Trail Of Rage And Melody” – an upcoming biography of former Sugar/Husker Du frontman Bob Mould.
Chapter 12
In which Bob Mould talks about
– Living on the farm in Pine City
– Producing Zulus album “Down On The Floor”
– Writing poetry/short stories/coming up with new songs
– Cofounding Singles Only Label with Steve Fallon
– Meeting Anton Fier (Feelies, Lounge Lizards, Golden Palominos) and Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu)
– Recording Workbook at Prince’s studio Paisley Park
– Touring with Anton, Tony and Chris Stamey (the dB’s)
– Disintegration of his relationship with Mike

For so long I had dealt in a wall of guitar distortion. Now I was writing cello parts on the synth. laying out string arrangements on top of acoustic guitars playing these huge open droning chords. The Yamaha twelve-string had an enormous sheen, filled with twinkling overtones that floated above the fundamental tone of the guitar. I called the sound the “bag of dimes” , because it sounded like someone shaking a Crown Royal bag full of dimes – ththththththththth.

Chapter 13
In which Bob Mould talks about
– Moving to New Jersey
– Rehearsing / touring with his band
– Meeting Kevin O’Neill / starting a relationship with him
– Playing gigs with Pixies
– Writing / releasing Black Sheets Of Rain
– Moving from Hoboken to Tribeca with Kevin

As the band and crew tried to enter an after-hours nightclub in Copenhagen after our show there, my second guitarist Jim Harry got sprayed with mace. People were getting sprayed, kicked, and punched, so the security guards grabbed us and skirted us into this upstairs room. We get there, the room was very quite and still, and there, sitting quietly in a chair, is none other than Boy George. He’s like, “Hello.” Two minutes ago people were kung fu fighting and getting sprayed with mace, and now I’m sitting in a quiet room with Boy George. I’m like, “Hey, George, what’s up?”

Chapter 14
In which Bob Mould talks about
– Moving from Tribeca to Williamsburg, Brooklyn
– Problems with Virgin label
– Meeting Vic Chesnutt
– Playing European festivals with Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth and Nirvana
– Being considered for the production job on Nevermind
– Meeting Alan McGee from Creation Records
– Hearing My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless
Meeting Malcolm Travis and David Barbe (Mercyland) / putting Sugar together

Kevin came along for the Australian dates, then we went to Europe for a month. That was when the documentary The Year Punk Broke was filmed. In one fleeting shot, you can find me smiling like the Mona Lisa. Maybe I knew something was about to happen? The tour started with a week of club shows in Holland, opening for Dinosaur Jr. The shows were held in community centers. During the day senior citizens ate their government lunch; at  night the space turned into a rock club. The crowds were mostly stoned squatter kids, and they were right up in my face yelling, “You suck, get off the stage. We want Dinosaur!” There was a certain irony in that, considering that Dinosaur was one the several key bands who had followed in the footsteps of Husker Du. It was a little unsettling at first, but by the end of the week, I’d gotten used to the banter from the crusties, and, as a parting gift, dialed up the distortion boxes and cranked out waves of noise, both to torture them and to drown them out. The crowd reactions got better as the weeks went on, particularly at the festivals with Sonic Youth and Nirvana.

Chapter 15
In which Bob Mould talks about
– Forming Sugar / touring / recording “Copper Blue” at the Outpost studio in Stoughton, MA
– Touring Japan
– Releasing Beaster EP

After our run of theaters, we performed the first two nights at First Avenue in Minneapolis. Returning to the Twin Cities was always bittersweet and familiar, but this time there was an extra twist. Grant Hart showed up, trying to be congenial, as if nothing had happened. This was the first time i’d seen him  since the discussion at his parents’ kitchen table. I let him into the dressing room, he sat down, and I sat in the room not facing him – listening, nodding and talking occasionally. I was being cool – not cold, but cool. I was suspicious because I always felt Grant was the kind of person, who, if he saw the smallest opening, would try and take a mile’s worth of road.After a few minutes of cautious interaction, mostly small talk about the Beaster tour  and Grant’s projects, I asked him to leave our dressing room. It was getting closer to showtime, and I needed to be with my band.
After the show, as we’re driving to the hotel, David said in a mix of hilarity and incredulity, “What the fuck is up with Grant Hart?” I asked what happened and David said, “He was hitting on me. You know I don’t have a problem with that, but I told him no and he wouldn’t stop.” I started laughing and told David to forget about it.

Chapter 16
In which Bob Mould talks about
– Moving from New York to Texas
– Going on a European tour with Sugar
– Rock’n’roll excesses of fellow musicians
– Meeting Jim Wilson / working with him on the second album by Magnapop
– Playing South By Southwest
– Recording File Under: Easy Listening
– Dealing with Kurt Cobain’s death/suicide
– Shooting videos for “Believe What You’re Saying” and “Your Favorite Thing”

Out of nowhere Greg Norton shows up at the Brixton sound check.  He’s in London, studying at a culinary school to become a chef and restaurateur. In a voice reminiscent of Batman’s Penguin, he says to me, “Well, I just want to do a little bit of business.” He’s got this stack of papers in his hands, shaking them towards me. “This is the contract for the Husker Du live record. I need you to sign this, I need you to sign this now.”
Have you ever seen the Brian De Palma movie Phantom Of the Paradise (1974), with Paul Williams as Swan, the evil record producer? I was reminded of the scene when he’s got the deformed composer Winslow Leach (wearing the Daft Punk-looking helmet) boxed up in the control room, writing his cantata, and Swan is yelling, “Sign this! Sign this in blood!”
I looked at Norton and said, “Send that to my lawyer and get out of here. Enjoy the show. What are you thinking?”

Chapter 17
In which Bob Mould talks about
– Interview with Dennis Cooper
– Subsequent article which appeared in Spin and the effect it had on Bob’s life
– Recording / releasing FU:EL
– The end of Sugar (Nov 13, 1994)
– Playing final shows with Sugar

For a single moment, on one specific line of thought, I made a very awkward choice of words: “I’m not a freak.” Those four words were the highlight of the article. That statement haunted me for a long time. The context was in talking about gay-pride parades, and how it really gets to me that the mainstream media always focuses on the more outlandish characters and not the folks who dress in everyday clothing. I’m gay and I’m a normal person like everybody else, I maintained – or so I thought.
A month or so later, the tear sheet from Spin came through on the fax machine. I read the pull quote, “I’m not  a freak,” and I knew I was in trouble.

Chapter 18
In which Bob Mould talks about
– Finding Mike’s obituary online
– Playing solo shows
– Meeting Pete Townshend
– Disintegration of his relationship with Kevin

Suddenly a stagehand grabbed me and said, “You have someone upstairs who wants to see you – Pete Townshend.” Without missing a beat, I said, “Could you go up and tell him that I’m not quite done yet?” I finished the show, headed up the narrow staircase behind the stage, and walked to my dressing room to meet my distinguished guest.
I was soaked with sweat and still charged up from the performance, just starting to process the fact that I was now meeting one of my formative artistic influences.  In deference, I had to dial that energy back so I could have a civilized interaction with him. Once I downshifted and felt a comfortable energy between us, I began to take notice; he appeared younger than his years would belie and had a familiar focus in his eyes, the knowing gaze of someone who holds the answers.

My Bloody Valentine – Soon
Sugar – Tilted
Sugar – Believe What You’re Saying
Bob Mould – Poison Years
Bob Mould – Sinners And Their Repentances

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