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Live From The Current Studio

Bob Mould performs at The Current

Bob Mould performs in The Current studio.
Bob Mould performs in The Current studio.Mary Mathis | MPR
  Play Now [31:59]

by Jill Riley and Brian Oake

March 29, 2019

Bob Mould - The Final Years (Live at The Current)
by MPR
Bob Mould - The Descent (Live at The Current)
by MPR
Bob Mould - Sinners and Their Repentances (Live at The Current)
by MPR
Bob Mould - Sunny Love Song (Live at The Current)
by MPR

Great conversation is usually expected when a good friend comes for a visit, and that's exactly what happened when Bob Mould stopped at The Current for a solo session hosted by Brian Oake and Jill Riley. Mould is in town with his band for a couple of weekend shows in St. Paul — at the Palace Theatre on Saturday night and one at the Turf Club (very sold out) on Sunday.

Earlier this year, Mould released his latest album, Sunshine Rock; during the session, Mould plays tracks from the new album as well as from his back catalogue. And in a wide-ranging and fascinating conversation, Mould talks about everything from his musical evolution to his new home in Berlin to his memories of being an emerging musician in the Twin Cities.

Listen to the complete session using the audio player above, and read highlights from the interview below.

Interview Higlights

On what drew him to set up residence in Berlin, and what he finds attractive about living there:

I still have a place in San Francisco, but also I've been spending a lot of time in Berlin. Most of the last three years have been over there. It's been pretty great. I've never lived abroad, and I knew after the 2016 Patch the Sky campaign, once that wrapped up, that I was going to have some time off, so that seemed like the moment to try to make that move.

It's a pretty amazing city. I have a lot of friends there that I've known for many years, musicians and artists. The culture is really cool; it's a really progressive city. Berliners will tell you that it's not like the rest of Germany, and I think they're correct in that. It's a city that's really growing fast again. There's been a lot of migration over the past three years, a lot of migrants from Syrian and now Yemen, I suppose a lot of the war-torn areas. There's a lot of multiculturalism and a lot of change is happening there right now. It's certainly nice to be there and be part of it and see what's happening.

On the more upbeat tone of Sunshine Rock compared to earlier releases:

With Beauty and Ruin and Patch the Sky, those were both informed by the loss of each of my parents. That's a deep emotional well that I'm not sure I wanted to go back to again. So it was, "Come on, let's try to be a little brighter, let's be a little upbeat, a little happy." And I think the change from San Francisco to Berlin had a lot of effect on me, with not understanding the language completely and customs and just routines and rituals — everything is so different. It sort of opens up new pathways, new ways of thinking. It's a melancholic place, so maybe everything I was thinking about seemed brighter in comparison.

*   *   *

As a small child, music was this amazing spiritual thing that came out of nowhere. As a little kid, I had these records and I'd put them on this turntable and it would drown out all this other noise that was around me in my life as a child. I didn't really understand at the moment where it all came from, but then I started to read and started to learn and started to write. This record was really an attempt to get back to that childlike state in music, and I think especially in this day and age, right at this point in history, it's sort of nice to go back for a second.

On coming back to the Twin Cities for shows:

It's always great to come back. I mean, this is where I started. This weekend is 40 years to the day of Buddy and the Returnables playing those two nights at Ron's Randolph Inn with Charlie Pine on keyboards, doing two nights of surf covers and [Velvet Underground's] "Sweet Jane" and [Pere Ubu's] "Non-Alignment Pact" and Buzzcocks and whatever we could learn. I remember at the end of the second night … the three of us played a handful of very rudimentary punk-rock songs we had written behind the keyboardist's back. Then six weeks, later, it was Hüsker Dü.

So yeah, a lot of memories. … It's been really sort of nostalgic and fun to just be walking around all week in Lowertown [in St. Paul] and sort of celebrating these shows. Coming back is always great, but there is a little extra pressure to do well!

More Video

Songs Performed

"The Final Years"
"The Descent"
"Sinners and Their Repentances"
"Sunny Love Song"
The second song is from Bob Mould's 2012 release, Silver Age, available on Merge Records. The third song is from Mould's 1989 album, Workbook, released on Virgin Records and Omnivore Recordings. The first and fourth songs are from Mould's 2019 album, Sunshine Rock, released on Merge Records.

Hosted by Brian Oake and Jill Riley
Produced by Anna Weggel
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Visuals by Mary Mathis
Web feature by Luke Taylor


Hüsker Dü: Do You Remember?

Bob Mould - official site

Bob Mould performs in The Current studio
Bob Mould performs in The Current studio.
Mary Mathis | MPR