People have been trying to get Bob Mould to tell his story for years.
After all, there's a lot to tell. He's had enough musical success for four careers -- including leading two of indie rock's most important bands, the hard-edged Hüsker Dü and the sweeter, pop-leaning Sugar. He left music behind to become an executive with World Championship Wrestling. And he became one of the first indie rockers to come out as openly gay in 1994, near the top of Sugar's commercial success.
"I had first been approached to do it in 2001," says Mould, calling from his home in San Francisco. "But at that point, I wasn't anywhere near ready to put in the time or the effort or the emotional investment especially that something like that would take."
It wasn't until 2007 that Mould felt ready to examine his past -- which includes an abusive father, being sexually abused by a baby-sitter, and battles with alcohol and drug addiction while growing up in Malone, N.Y., as well as the contentious breakup of Hüsker Dü. On Wednesday, his memoir "See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody" (Little, Brown) hits stores, wrapping up a three-year process.
"I don't know if I really had an objective in mind other than just telling my story," he says. "I learned a lot about myself. . . . It wasn't really until I was working with Michael Azerrad that I started going through, well, my baggage -- my family history, my childhood -- to see how I carried a lot of that into my adulthood and how it affected my work and my relationships. I didn't see all of that coming, and that took a good while to sort through."
The process grew too much for him at times. "There were points where I had to take a break for my own health," he says. "But I would come back to it. It was a lot. But I think I'm much better for it now."
Though Mould -- who collaborated with Azerrad on the book's structure and themes, but wrote it all himself -- was honest about the painful breakups in his life, including the end of Hüsker Dü, "See a Little Light" isn't a tell-all. "There were a lot of things that were cut out that were more of an indictment of people, and I'm glad it's not there," Mould says. "There was a lot of talk about how much of it was necessary, and if it's in there, it's because it was important to the telling of my story."
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But for as much pain as there is in Mould's story, there's also pleasure, especially when he writes about how alternative classic albums like Hüsker Dü's "Zen Arcade" and his solo album, "Workbook," were born.
"I think a lot of longtime fans will get a lot out of this," he says, adding that he also wanted the story to be detailed enough to chronicle the underground rock scene his bands grew up in during the '80s and how different things are from today. "Maybe that's why I feel so passionate about it."
Mould also can be a living example of how things do get better. Now, at 50, he's happy in both his personal and professional lives, especially now that his career as a DJ has taken off. Mould, along with DJ Richard Morel, has found as much success with his series of Blowoff dance parties as he ever had with Hüsker Dü or Sugar. He also is starting to get his due for his influence on today's rock.
"As I watched him play guitar, I realized that I owe more to Bob Mould than maybe any other musician, because there's specific things that he does that I learned from him, not from anyone else," Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl told Hot Press magazine recently. "I grew up with The Beatles, I loved Led Zeppelin, I ---- loved the Bad Brains and punk rock. But when it comes to guitar playing and song structure, I think that Hüsker Dü might be my biggest influence."
Yes, spoiler alert: "See a Little Light" has a happy ending. "Now that I've integrated who I am and what I do, I finally feel whole," Mould writes. "I'm finally able to enjoy life."
However, Mould says he still has room to grow. "I worry myself to death about things that don't really matter," he says, laughing. "I do that to this day. I haven't gotten rid of that one yet."
Bob Mould: Give him Justice and more faves
BY GLENN GAMBOA, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mould's "See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody" (Little, Brown) is in stores Wednesday.
Bob Mould has been a music fan since he was 6, when his father started bringing home old jukebox 45s by The Beatles, The Who and The Beach Boys for him. These days, he has broader tastes. Here are some of his current favorites:
JUSTICE "The electro beat is a little bit slower, it's a lot more abrasive. . . . It has more of a traditional song structure as opposed to most dance tracks that sprawl. That really caught my ear."
FOO FIGHTERS "I'm actually DJing their big Fourth of July event over in England -- 65,000 people each night, that oughta be crazy."
DAFT PUNK "They reimagined sound. They're so innovative. Everybody is still fascinated by their work, and everyone to some degree or another is influenced by them."