Friday, April 5, 2013

What Would Hüsker Dü?

Just at the start here, I want to make what for me is an exciting announcement.  I will be releasing a new single, a live recording of my song "Pretty Blade Trickster," very soon.  It's what I think is a very good recording of it from a performance at Lestat's West, here in San Diego, a few weeks back.  It will be available for sale as a digital download on my Bandcamp site (link on the music player, at the top of the page here), beginning Wednesday, April 17.   

A few days ago I finished reading Hüsker Dü: The Story of the Noise-Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock by Spin and Paste magazine writer Andrew Earles.  I had been waiting for someone to write a book detailing the full history of the band.  Rolling Stone writer Michael Azerrad wrote a book a while back called Our Band Could Be Your Life, in which he devotes something like 40-50 pages or so to about a dozen of the most influential bands that essentially founded the American underground or "indie rock" movement.  Hüsker Dü gets its own section of that book, but after being such a fan of their music and so inspired by them as a musician myself, I wanted to know more than Azerrad could cover there.

Earles' book does the trick, detailing every part of this widely influential Twin Cities band's story.  He goes all the way from the members' first meeting, to their hardcore punk beginnings, to them becoming the darlings of American college radio, to their signing a record deal with Warner Brothers, to their eventual break-up.  

The one thing missing from Earles' book is author interviews with the band's guitarist, co-vocalist and co-songwriter, Bob Mould, who after the demise of Hüsker Dü went on to found the alt-rock 90's band Sugar, and have a prolific solo career, which continues to this day.  So now I am continuing to learn more about my musical heroes by reading Mould's autobiography, See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody - which, coincidentally, he co-wrote with Michael Azerrad.

I could write a lot about how and why Hüsker Dü has had such a big effect on me and my music.  But the short story is that when I finally delved into their music, I just flat-out fell in love with it.  And they went on quite a journey with their musical range.  Their first album, the live album Land Speed Record, is all speed, volume and screaming.  Their final album, the double-album Warehouse: Songs and Stories, is mostly downright commercial-radio-friendly.

But beyond just being a rabid fan of their songs and albums, I have also been very inspired by them in terms of their outlook and philosophy around what they did as a band.  They seemed to always stay as true to themselves and their own instincts and inner drives as possible.  They made the music they wanted to make, put it out in the world through relentless touring, incredible live shows, and releasing records with astonishing frequency and consistency.  A remarkable feat, especially considering they were entirely self-managed and self-booked for most of their existence.

Earles' book about the entire band was enjoyable as a historical narrative.  I am now also enjoying and relating to Mould's book, which is really the story of his life, of which Hüsker Dü is an important part, but only a part.  I find myself even in the first five chapters relating a lot to the stories he describes so well from his childhood and college years.

Working on some new material here this morning, specifically a new song tentatively titled "Throne of Gold."  Also trying to get my relatively-new songs "New Home" and "Bittersweet Departure" into performance shape.  I've also re-worked my new song "Fly, Baby, Fly" just a bit, and would like to get the new, slightly-altered version up and running.  

I'll be performing this weekend at 3:00pm PT Saturday afternoon.  I'll be playing three songs at the Starbucks outdoor courtyard on Jamacha Boulevard in El Cajon, as part of the weekly Open Mic Rancho San Diego.  For those of you San Diegans coming out, note that there are TWO Starbucks on that same road in El Cajon.  The one I'll be playing at is part of the large shopping center at 2512 Jamacha, near the Taco Bell, Ross and PETCO stores.

Thanks so much for visiting my blog here and for reading!  

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