It's time for another installment of 'Ask That Guy,' the
question and answer column where you ask that guy some
questions. Today's topic is Bob Mould's latest career
I heard that Bob Mould had a heroin habit, or a headache
or something. Is he gay? -- D.R., Cleveland, CA
He gets asked silly questions all the time. Somebody from
his first set of ex-bandmates was hooked on smack, but he
might or might not be off it now. It's no business of yours,
but he does in fact get depressed some times.
Is Bob Mould following in the footsteps of the great
confessional singer-songwriters of the 1970s, like Janice
Ian and Joni Mitchell? -- P.D., Toledo, MI
Not so much confessional as accusatory. Thanks for writing.
Has Sugar broken up? -- G.G., Akron, MA
Apparently. But when Bob gets tired of his isolation, he
will form another pathbreaking power trio with a drummer
who's not all that bad a songwriter in his own right.
Is his current solo work as delicately beautiful as his
first great solo album, "Workbook"? -- P.Q., Dayton, GA
There are a couple nice acoustic tunes; "Thumbtack" on the
album and "Eternally Fried" on the "Egoverride" ep. As with
many of his songs on these two disks, you can enjoy the
desolate anger of the music as long as you don't pay too
much attention to the self-pity in the lyrics. Most of the
rest of the tunes have little acoustic garnishes, but mostly
to lull you into a false sense of security when the
distortion pedals kick in. But 'Delicately beautiful'? Sorry. Thanks for
What are your Radio Playlist Choices for this album? -- B.V.,
If I listened to anything on the radio besides freeform
college music and the news, I'd probably figure "Egoverride"
to score the CMJ bucks. "I Hate Alternative Rock" is
catchier and is whiny (a bonus), but
Alternative-Oriented-Radio playlists could've already had
their fill of
playing Mike Watt and Eddie Vedder's "Against the Seventies"
for a couple days last year. "Art Crisis" is also mighty
catchy, but is about complex things that confuse radio
Did Bob Mould have a bad day? This album's kinda' bitchy.
As opposed to bitchin'. -- B.O., Kent, PA
The way I figure it, whoever pissed him off, their ears are
burning. The rest of the world can only wonder.
Would you consider this album to be a step forward in
Bob's development as an artist? -- Q.W., Ashtabula, WI
Perhaps. The music is tight and some of the melodies are
pretty damned catchy. But the rhythms are stiff 'cause Bob
did the drumming himself (it's not on par with his guitar playing
skills), the lyrics are entirely
self-absorbed, and the whole album is too slick to be
entirely involving. Bob does get points for including sound
effects of a record needle between sides and riding the
Okey-Dokey. So Bob broke up with somebody, or his car got
sideswiped, or he had the flu. Is that any reason to break
up a kickass band and hole up in Texas and not put on his
kickass live shows? -- Z.A., Wooster, NM
Well, um, I guess it is. This is probably the musical
equivalent of getting really upset and spending the weekend
alone in your bedroom, only stepping out to order pizza and
get more beer from the fridge, the rest of the time
writing in your personal journal about how you'd been wronged and how lousy THEY
are and how the whole damn world is no damn good.
In other words, Bob got pissed about something and made this
album about it all on his own, but unless you know who or
what he's singing about, you really don't understand what
justifies the bile.
At least he's not writing campaign songs for Bob Dole.
Thanks for writing.