On Friday night at San Francisco’s Noise Pop festival, Bob Mould played Sugar’s 1993 album “Copper Blue” from front to back for the first time in his career. The post-punk icon plans to take the album on the road, the latest look back in what’s become a retrospective period for Mould: last fall, he was celebrated with a tribute concert in Los Angeles that featured Dave Grohl, Ryan Adams and others, and he released his autobiography, “See a Little Light,” in 2011. But Mould’s also at work on new music. In the weeks before his Noise Pop gig, we talked about the endurance of “Copper Blue,” the ’90s revival and the return of his “loud” guitars.
What do you think has made that album in particular stand the test of time?
Bob Mould: I don’t know, it’s a pretty optimistic record, compared to some of the work that proceeded it and followed it, so I guess it stands out for that… At the time I loved writing that record, I loved recording that record and I loved playing those songs so it’s sort of an easy one for me. There’s an early ’90s thing that’s happening right now that’s out of the control of all of us. And it was good songwriting. In my book, I talk about the year leading up the recording and the release of Copper Blue and just how it seemed like things were lining up personally and in the music world that set the stage for that record to be my most successful.
What was the tribute concert in L.A. like for you? The musicians all seemed very excited to be there.
I was pretty speechless at the end of the night with just how great everybody played and just the song choices. Especially Britt [Daniel of Spoon], taking on “JC Auto” from “Beaster,” I was surprised by that, he did a great job with it. Ryan [Adams]’ takes on the “Workbook” and “Black Sheets” stuff. You know, just a really, really great night. Personally, it’s fun to listen to those records again. I’ve always been a pretty forward-looking guy so it’s been interesting.
At those kind of shows, anything can happen, it just felt like a really fun sort of party. Matt Pinfield did a great job [hosting]. I really wanted Matt there because he’s such an encyclopedia of modern music and he’s an old friend, he and I go way, way back. It was great to have him come in and tie the whole show together. It was nice to have Margaret [Cho] there, she and I are friends and she’s very, very earnest about her music. Dave [Grohl], of course. Where do I even start with that? [ Laughs] Nicest guy in the world.
He was so energetic, even compared to everyone else – he was like a lightning bolt.
[ Laughs] He was. He’s a great guy, it’s been nice to get to know him over the past year and a half. Our paths had crossed briefly very ,very briefly and superficially over the past 20 years and it was nice when we finally got in a room and talked about stuff. I think it showed on stage what the chemistry’s like.
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