Bob Mould's body

  • by Gregg Shapiro
  • Tuesday August 23, 2005
Share this Post:

There's something to please almost everyone from each chapter in queer singer/songwriter Bob Mould's career on his new CD Body of Song (Yep Roc). Those intrigued by his recent ventures into the electronic realm will find themselves dancing with abandon to "(Shine Your) Love Light Hope," while his Husker Du and Sugar fans will rejoice over the blazing guitars on other cuts. Fans of his solo work are certain to connect. His gay fans will also find much to please, including "Gauze of Friendship," my personal favorite track on the disc. The down-to-earth and good-natured Mould, hitting the road on tour in support of the new disc and promising to perform material from throughout his multifaceted career, spared a few minutes to answer some questions.

Gregg Shapiro: Body of Song has been very favorably received by the press. Do you read reviews or pay much attention to that sort of thing?

Bob Mould: Unfortunately, yes. This one's been overwhelmingly positive. There have been a couple of snarky ones, but that's to be expected. I think it's a good record. I spent enough time getting it right!

Would it be safe to say that Body of Song is close to being the definitive amalgamation of your musical styles and tastes?

I think so. Unlike three years ago with Modulate, I'm a little more comfortable with my legacy or my sound. I think I've reconciled that.

I think this is a fairly optimistic record, overall. I think my writing perspective this time is really simple songs and emotions. It's not quite as oblique as some of the other work that I've done. It's universal and immediate.

"Circles" has what I think is one of your more political statements in it, with the lines, "Tuesday, I walk to the Village/I know that my vote doesn't count anymore/I got my opinions about you/I keep them inside of the ballot box." Would you say you have become more politically active over the years?

I think I've stayed the same. I've lived in Washington, DC for three years now, sort of in the belly of the beast. That line from the song is referential as much inside a relationship, as "it really doesn't matter what I say." I don't know if I was being as overtly political as it might seem.

Have you been able to crack the Billboard dance chart with any of your own dance tunes or remixes?

Not yet. The Interpol remix that I did got a lot of attention. I just finished a remix for a group from Duluth called Low, a slow, indie-rock kind of thing. I'm waiting to hear whether or not Sub Pop is going to put that out. I also recently went to see Liz Phair, and I'm going to be doing a remix for her next record. So, yeah, it's starting to take a little bit.

It was interesting to hear you mention the optimism of the songs on "Body of Song," because they struck me as variations on a recurring theme of heartbreak. So are we to take songs such as "Paralyzed" and "Days of Rain" literally?

They're a combination of things that I go through. I also see those feelings in my friends and the things they're going through. I see the universal nature of relationships. It's always about hope and staying with it as long as you can. This is the bane of human existence! As we go out to forge new friendships, things don't always go as planned. It can be upsetting, but that's the beauty of being human — we keep going back!

Thank you for mentioning friendship because I keep going back to the stunning track "Gauze of Friendship."

It's a really colorful song. It's very Jimmy Webb.

You're known as someone who spends a lot of time on tour. Both Rich Morel, with whom you do the Blowoff club night, and Jason Narducy, whom you produced when he was a member of Verbow, are going to be part of your touring band.

Brendan Canty from Fugazi is also playing with us. I think there is a real good balance there. I've worked with all three of these guys individually, and I know their dispositions and everybody's strong points. It's a really easy fit, and it's going to be a really fun tour. When you have to all travel together for that long, that day-to-day chemistry is as important as anybody's proficiency at their craft.

No personality conflicts?

Everybody's pretty chill in this group.