See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody Hardcover – Jun 15 2011
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"As a long time fan, I feel so grateful that Bob chose to share his life story in such a candid and open manner. "See A Little Light" stands tall with the greatest rock and roll memoirs of all time."--Benjamin Gibbard, Death Cab for Cutie 'Bob mould's incredible journey is an inspiring one. I hope to one day be able to write a book like this, to live like this, to rock like this, but in the meantime, I can read this. A poetic and devastating memoir from one of the greatest artists of all time. I love Bob Mould.'--Margaret Cho "Ultimately, it's [Mould's] ongoing quest to transform himself from an isolated and work-obsessed individual into someone who's actively involved with his community and lover on multiple levels that informs his life's story--and which makes "See a Little Light" such a compelling and rewarding read."--"ForeWord Reviews" "Bob Mould's revealing memoir written with Michael Azerrad, would make a great gift for the music-lover on your list. Mould, who played in groundbreaking bands such as Husker Du and Sugar, was that rare commodity in the alternative and college rock scene, an out gay man."--"The Bay Area Reporter" ""See a Little Light" tells of Mould's struggles with homosexuality, personal relationships and various addictions, but this is not just another titillating rock 'n' roll memoir ... It's a clear, plain account of one troubled musician's life, with a lively and happy ending."--"Chicago Sun-Times" " After all, if you take my word for it, "See A Little Light" is a treat, an absolutely-first-tier rock autobiography."--"LA Weekly" "[A] brutally honest autobiography tour de force."--"Village Voice" ""See A Little Light" is not a memoir, it is an autobiography. Bob Mould's story is an entertaining, funny, intensely-inspirational and perhaps the consummate tale of human spirit and willpower in the hands of a master. As well as a great narrative history for casual to fanatical fans of Bob's myriad endeavors (Husker Du, Sugar, Bob Mould solo, etc), "See A Little Light" is also the story of one of our era's great rugged individualists."-Andrew Earles, author of "Husker Du" "More than just another punk rock memoir, "See A Little Light""is an open-hearted testament to one self-made man's undying, unflagging, undeniable voice, and an inspiring tale of spiritual and musical growth that deserves a spot on the shelf of any serious DIY or GLBT library. In the end, I read it mostly as a love letter of explanation to Mould's alcoholic and angry father, and as an amazingly self-aware (and often deliciously good-humored) meditation on how son channeled dad's shared rage into sobriety, music, catharsis, and redemption. Riveting stuff."--Jim Walsh, author of "The Replacements: All Over But The Shouting: An Oral History" and "The Replacements: Waxed Up Hair and Painted Shoes: The Photographic History" "The critic Lester Bangs used a phrase, "imperative groin thunder," to describe the loud, raw music he loved most. Mr. Mould's music brings that kind of thunder. Some of the time, and in surprising ways, so does his book."-- Dwight Garner, "New York Times" "Any number of veterans of the punk and post-punk campaigns of the 1980s could pack a memoir with endless drives in the van, bad food and bad contracts, shoestring recording sessions, hellhole nightclubs, sleeping on floors and all the other genre touchstones. A select few could also explore the conflicts, rewards and drawbacks of wider popularity, and the challenges of sustaining a musical life into advanced adulthood. But there's only one who could do all that and also describe dealing with his unresolved homosexuality and, why not, going to work plotting the story lines in professional wrestling. Those last two elements definitely distinguish Bob Mould's autobiography from the predictable pack, and should keep readers from feeling they're on an endless van ride themselves."-- Richard Cromelin, "LA Times" "Mould captures something of his terrific will, which is a great gift."--"NPR" "A blunt, bracing and astonishingly confessional look back at a man who's produced some of the best rock music of the last 20 years."--Patrick Beach, Austin American Statesman "Mould never fails to captivate and inspire."--"Publishers Weekly" "As satisfying as [Mould's] best work...compulsively readable."--Ben Westhoff, "Washington City Paper" "Brisk and enjoyable...urgently personal."--NPR's "Books We Like" "Offers an emotional depth and level of insight absent from most musical biographies."--Biblioklept "His story is one of persevering and becoming one of the forces that changed American music."--Amos Lassen --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Back Cover
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Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Is it just me, or didn't we once think Bob Mould was smart? It's not in this book. His tone is flat and didactic and he piles on detail like he's transcribing from his day planner (and this is with a co-writer). To be fair, the early music stuff is fascinating--how he was writing songs, trying to get a certain sound, the feeling in the early days of underground music, how bands were creating a network, sleeping on people's floors--but when he gets to the more ordinary parts of his life, he treats them as though they're similarly exotic. Aren't his readers, you know, hipsters? Does anyone need gay culture explained to them anymore? A quote: "There's a very specific time-honored dynamic with some gay men, not necessarily the daddy/son dynamic but more of a bear/cub dynamic." Thanks for clearing that up for us, Bob.
I had this dream while reading this book: I was in my college radio station, looking at old Husker Du albums, and suddenly it occured to me: This is so middle-aged. This is the most middle-aged thing I've ever done. I am not cutting edge, I am not hip, I'm a MILF looking back, here to disappoint a whole new generation with my compromises. That's what this memoir did to me.
Still, I read the whole book. I was sort of fascinated by the portrait of an emotionally stilted person who can break loose and make great art...but he lost me, finally, when he was a jerk to Grant Hart at the end. That weird story about playing a few songs together, the puke on the wall of his dressing room, the pure 7th grade pettiness of Bob's inner dialogue, how he thinks Grant is going to say something psychotic into the mic on "my stage." This while Grant's being all friendly and offering to carry his stuff and Bob is cringing from him--it's just awful. Bob and Grant spent the best years of their lives together doing something exciting and singular, and now he treats him like a leper. I understand why Grant says he's still a prick...because he's still a prick.
As one reviewer already points out, Mould does a good job balancing discussing the evolution of his musical career with sharing personal recollections. As I'm not a Husker Du acolyte (in fact, my 80s underground rock-loving husband had to inform me that Bob Mould was not my own personal discovery,)the discussion of those paricular songs and albums does not have intimate meaning for me. And while some fans may feel deflated when they read The Real Reason Why Husker Du Will Never Get Back Together, it fits perfectly into the narrative and is consistent with the kind of person Mould presents himself to be. No matter what phase of his musical career or personal life he shares about, emotions come through well. His admissions about being a jerk during many important moments in his life read like those of a man who boxed up a lot of unpleasant experiences and has now finally opened them up to find out which parts belong to him. Mould's honesty about his own failings and shortcomings feels authentic even though his muted language at times may cause some to question whether or not he takes full ownership of all his parts. The other major thread, his coming out odyssey and how it relates to the safer emotional spaces he now tries to live in, reads beautifully. Instead of falling into some trite, kumbaya-I-found-myself-hallelujah verse, he freely shares gritty, funny, embarrassing, joyful, heartbreaking, and scandalous moments from a 20+ year process. It does indeed get better.
Mould's memoir reads easily and well. Although I am now a fan and that was my hook into this book, others may well find something to take from it. The production side of the music industry as well as (surprise!) professional wrestling receive detailed treatment. Integrating sobriety into a career not tailored for such a lifestyle is touched upon several times in addition to surviving the irretrievable breakdown of a number of different kinds of relationships, both personal and professional. Woven throughout the book, too, is the theme of working hard at one's job: getting up everyday and reporting for duty, pounding the pavement and repeatedly knocking on doors, and showing up ready to deliver one's best. Being a rock star is a uniquely awesome job and he doesn't shy away from the coolness of it, but Mould makes it clear that it's still work. If the music didn't require such effort and he didn't get paid for it, he'd call it a hobby and none of it would matter to the likes of me. As it clearly is work to Mould, and he takes his work seriously, fans like me benefit. I highly recommend See a Little Light both for its ability to convey richer meaning to Mould's musical body of work and because the overarching theme of the struggle to mature into a whole person should resonate with all of us who take that trail.
One final thought: in this reviewer's opinion, this book is a better and much easier to read book than Andrew Earles' Husker Du biography that was published in late 2010. Not only does this book cover a broader scope in the musical (not to mention personal) life of one Husker Du's members, rather than (mostly) covering just the 1979-1987 Husker Du period, and not only is it written from a first-person point of view rather than a third-person point of view, but it is also edited much better, avoiding the frequent repeating of stories and information that plagued Mr. Earles' book.
If you have any interest in Bob Mould as a musician, or even in Bob Mould as a "non-stereotypical" gay man (with this reviewer speaking as a heterosexual male), this book is well worth picking up.
I have never met any of the three members of Husker Du and know nothing about them personally. However, after reading this book I find myself liking Bob Mould a lot less as a person. I mean, come on-is there nothing positive that he can say about Grant Hart and Greg Norton, who together with him made three of the most amazing albums ever put out in less than a 2 year span (Zen Arcade, New Day Rising and Flip Your Wig)? Those three albums are all "10's". It took all three of them to make these albums so good. How about a little appreciation of the band, and not just of his own contributions to it? Husker Du would have been a shell of a band without Grant Hart, just as it would have been without Bob Mould.
It will be interesting to see if Grant's perspective is covered in the upcoming film, "Every Everything".