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- Posted on Oct 5th 2009 3:00PM by Steve McLean
"It's funny to be just on the edge of watching someone else's relationship fall apart and not being sure of what you're supposed to say or do, if anything," Mould tells Spinner. "Having been through things myself, sometimes the advice I would like to give if I were asked for it just ends up being these songs."
'Life and Times' is Mould's ninth solo effort and this year marks the 20th anniversary of his first, 'Workbook,' which he says was made after "a year-and-a-half of solitude to find myself and find a new voice" following the acrimonious collapse of Hüsker Dü, the influential post-punk band he formed 30 years ago. While things didn't end happily for the Minneapolis, Minn.-based trio, particularly between Mould and fellow songwriter Grant Hart -- whose first solo album in 10 years, 'Hot Wax,' comes out on Oct 6 -- Mould claims he wouldn't have changed anything.
"No matter what I say about it and no matter what anyone else who was involved says about it, the fact that the work endures is the thing worth most remembering. Personal differences and squabbles and 'he says/he says,' none of that really matters if people still listen to the music. That's what it's really about."
Mould will shed more light on the Hüsker Dü legend next fall in the autobiography he's writing with indie-rock chronicler Michael Azerrad, author of 'Our Band Could Be Your Life' and 'Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana.'
"There's a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff and personal stuff which I've always been sort of reticent to mix up with my professional life," offers Mould. "But this is a good place to tell those stories about personal growth and personal failures. I think it will change the way that people look at the work, hopefully for the better so it won't wreck the whole thing. I don't know how much mystery will be left, but I think it will be good to let people know the story."
Meanwhile, the less-personal stories Mould tells on 'Life and Times' rank among his best lyrics. It's not hard for fans to see themselves or someone they know reflected in his words, which are surrounded by his razor-sharp guitar riffs and a persistent backbeat provided by Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster.
Mould will perform the new songs alongside a cross-section from his entire career on a North American tour, which begins on Oct 5 in Toronto, and you can bet that he'll be playing loud despite the fact that he's approaching 50.
"I'm fighting as good a fight as I can to stay in shape and keep my playing up, but physically it gets a little bit harder every year," says the man who used to write scripts for World Championship Wrestling. "As the clock ticks, I'm not sure I want to spend all my time looking out the windshield. Life priorities change and there are other things that I also enjoy doing with my time. You always have to try and find that balance of work and the other things in my life that are important."
One of those things is the regularly scheduled Blowoff DJ night that Mould oversees in Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago and San Francisco, which indulges his passion for electronic dance music. Mould has remixed Interpol, Low and VHS or Beta, and even released his own electronica album, 'Modulate,' in 2002, though the new record is full-on guitar rock.
"As soon as the book's turned in and that moves away from my daily plate, I'm sure that I'll start writing music," says Mould of his next project. "I just have no idea what it will sound like."