Personalities | Bob Mould | Godfather of Grunge | Guitar Heroes

Alternative guitarist Bob Mould (b. 1960) was born in Malone, New York. Mould was 16 when, inspired by The Ramones, he took up the guitar. While attending college in Minnesota in 1979, he founded Hüsker Dü, originally a hardcore punk/thrash band, with drummer Grant Hart and bassist Greg Norton.

The band’s third album, Zen Arcade (1984), was a double album that broadened the noisy, guitar-driven style to embrace jazz, psychedelia, acoustic folk and pop. Hüsker Dü were instrumental in establishing alternative rock in America, making them one of the 1980s’ most influential acts. Signing to major label Warner Brothers in 1986, they made Candy Apple Grey (1986) and another double set, Warehouse: Songs And Stories (1987), which, although popular on college radio, failed to bring them to a wider audience. The band split in 1988 because of drug problems and the ongoing tensions between Mould and Hart, the group’s other songwriter and vocalist.

Mould launched a solo career with Workbook (1989), which surprised many. His characteristic wall-of-guitars sound, which was to see him hailed as the godfather of grunge, was largely replaced by a more reflective, acoustic ambience. Black Sheets Of Rain (1991) returned him to familiar guitar-heavy terrain, which continued in Mould’s new band Sugar, whose debut Copper Blue (1992) received widespread acclaim. Another power trio, Sugar were more accessible and melodic yet louder and angrier than Hüsker Dü, and Mould’s guitars were very much to the fore. The mini-album Beaster (1993) was notable for the angst-ridden ‘JC Auto’, on which Mould’s powerful playing achieved climactic momentum. For Sugar and his solo work, Mould favoured a 1980s Fender Stratocaster. After File Under: Easy Listening (1994), he disbanded Sugar and resumed his solo career.

He worked briefly as a pro-wrestling scriptwriter, before returning to music as a performer and remixer. Modulate (2002) and Body Of Song (2005) added electronica to his rock template, while Long Playing Grooves (2002) was a full-on dance album released under the pseudonym LoudBomb. District Line was released in 2008, Life And Times the following year and Silver Age in 2012. Mould’s autobiography was published in 2011.

Essential Recordings

Hüsker Dü: Zen Arcade

Solo: Workbook

Solo: Black Sheets Of Rain

Sugar: Copper Blue

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