If, like me you’re intrigued, about the journey Bob Mould has made from angry young punk to gay DJ then the publication of his long awaited biography ‘See A Little Light – The Trail of Rage and Melody’ finally tells that story.
As such it’s a book that very much mixes the personal and the (music) business. The two are undeniably intertwined – the music that Bob has made has been shaped to a large extent by who he is and where he is in his life at any particular time. And for someone with a reputation for privacy this is also a surprisingly candid read which will surely tell you more than you will ever need to know about his sex life.
Of course a big draw for a lot of people will be Bob’s recollections of his time in Hüsker Dü and, after a brief section about his upbringing, the band becomes the early focus of the book. Following on from the fairly recent publication of Andrew Earles’s book on HD, this is Bob’s chance to finally tell his side of the story in full.
Initially this section shapes up as the most disappointing section of the book with much of the band’s history covered in a fairly perfunctory manner. Indeed at one point there are a handful of pages which are little more than a catalogue of “we played in X, staying with Y” facts with the odd touring anecdote thrown in. Arguably Earles covered this part of the story in more depth and definitely from a wider range of perspectives.
But as things go wrong within the band, Bob documents the break-up in more detail. But whilst the detail’s interesting it’s not that surprising. You get the one intimate perspective missing until now but Bob offers nothing radically different from the generally accepted reasons for the demise of the band.
The biggest surprise is his revelation that he discovered Grant’s heroin use fairly late in the day. Despite the widely commented on inter-personal hostility his view on his former bandmate is fairly dispassionate – he talks about why they grew apart but also gives him plenty of credit for the band’s success as well.
The descriptions of the early solo years and his time in Sugar are interesting too as these are the least documented periods in Bob’s career. Even now the casual manner in which Sugar was ended still disappoints. Clearly to Bob it was just one possible vehicle to make music and the intense nature of the Sugar period clearly had an impact on the decision. But the thought that the band may have resumed at some later stage had Mould and Balfe handled the split differently is a tantalising one.
The chapters on the last decade largely focus on Bob’s personal journey as he comes to terms with being an openly gay man and also on his immersion in gay culture.
Aside from the two main strands of the book there are also diversions such as an interesting chapter on his experiences working for the World Wrestling Federation.
But overall there’s very much the feeling of a man coming to terms with his past through an acknowledgement of past mistakes.
And, in case there’s any doubt, the angry young punk and the gay DJ are parts of the same man. Still.
An essential read if you have any interest in Bob or any of his past endeavours.
Buy it here.