Broken Mould

Queer punk pioneer Bob Mould turned an abusive childhood into a musical movement, but memoir targets hardcore fans

2.5 out of 5 stars
SEE A LITTLE LIGHT: THE TRAIL OF RAGE AND MELODY
By Bob Mould (with Michael
Azerrad). 2001 (Little, Brown)
$25; 404 pp.

………………………….
It all starts with “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” It continues with the itsy-bitsy spider, the ABCs and being a little teapot. From there, you embrace whatever your older siblings are listening to until you develop your own musical tastes. Maybe you started with records, moved on to the cassette tapes, CD and now, your iPod is full.

The point is, you’ve never been without your tunes.

But what about the people who make the music you love?

When Mould was born in 1960 in the northernmost end of New York, he entered a family wracked with grief: Just before he was born, Mould’s elder brother died of kidney cancer. He surmises that the timing of his birth resulted in his being a “golden child,” the family peacekeeper who sidestepped his father’s physical and psychological abuse.

“As a child,” he writes, “music was my escape.”

Mould’s father, surprisingly indulgent, bought his son guitars and young Bob taught himself to play chords and create songs. By the time he entered high school, Mould knew that he had to get out of New York and away from his family. He also knew he was gay, which would be a problem in his small hometown.

He applied for and entered college in Minnesota, where he started taking serious guitar lessons and drinking heavily. His frustrations led him to launch a punk rock band that made a notable impact on American indie music.

Named after a children’s game, Hüsker Dü performed nationally and internationally, but Mould muses that perhaps youth was against them. He seemed to have a love-hate relationship with his bandmates, and though he had become the band’s leader, there were resentments and accusations until the band finally split.

HUSKER DON’T | Bob Mould turned his youthful rage and homosexuality into a music career. (Photo by Noah Kalina)

But there were other bands and there were other loves than music, as Mould grew and learned to channel the rage inside him and the anger that volcanoed from it.

“I spent two years rebuilding and reinventing myself,” writes Mould. “Now that I’ve integrated who I am and what I do, I finally feel whole.”

If you remember with fondness the ‘80s, with its angry lyrics and mosh pits, then you’ll love this book. For most readers, though, See a Little Light is going to be a struggle. Mould spends a lot of time on a litany of clubs, recording studios, and locales he played some 30 years ago — which is fine if you were a fellow musician or a rabid, hardcore fan. This part of the book goes on… and on… and on, relentlessness and relatively esoteric in nature.

Admittedly, Mould shines when writing about his personal life but even so, he’s strangely dismissive and abrupt with former loves, bandmates, and even family. I enjoyed the occasional private tale; unfortunately there were not enough.

Overall, See a Little Light is great for Mould fanboys and those were heavy into the punk scene. For most readers, though, this book is way out of tune.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 26, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Libertarian Party To Gays: Leave Your Abusive Democratic “Spouse” And Join Us

The Libertarian Party has launched a campaign to lure gay voters, saying, “Like abused spouses who keep returning to their aggressors, gay voters keep handing their votes to the Democrats who abuse them.” The statement continues:

The Libertarian Party (LP) wants to break this self-destructive behavior and offers LGBT voters a better alternative. LP Chairman Mark Hinkle said, “Exit polls indicate that Democrats get over 70% of LGBT votes in federal elections. Those voters must really love the Democrats’ rhetoric, because they certainly aren’t seeing any action. “President Obama and the Democrats had almost a year of complete control of the federal government: the Presidency, the House, and a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate.

“They could have repealed ‘don’t ask don’t tell.’ They could have gotten rid of the Defense of Marriage Act. But they didn’t do either of those things. That’s a complete and total betrayal of all the promises they made to gay and lesbian voters for years. “After a carefully orchestrated failure in the Senate, the Democrats are now blaming Republicans for blocking the repeal of ‘don’t ask don’t tell.’ Of course, three Democrats just voted against it too, including Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid claims he voted for procedural reasons, but the whole situation seems calculated to look like they’re trying to help, while making sure they don’t actually help.” Unlike the Democratic and Republican Parties, the Libertarian Party believes that gays and lesbians deserve equal treatment under the law.

The statement concludes that the Libertarian Party “neither supports nor opposes gay relationships.”

Obviously the Libertarian Party seeks to capitalize on LGBT disenchantment with the Obama administration and further splinter the gay vote to the benefit of the GOP. Nothing more, nothing less. Most self-described libertarian candidates, of course, actually run on the GOP ticket. (Witness today’s post about Colorado’s Stephen Bailey.) Very few officially Libertarian candidates ever become viable candidates in general elections. Talk about throwing your vote away!

But just for the sake of argument, let’s tick off the official Libertarian agenda as posted on their website:

1. Abolish welfare.
2. Abolish Social Security.
3. Abolish the IRS.
4. Abolish the FDA.
5. Allow insurance companies to exclude any disease.
6. Dismantle the public school system.
7. Allow machine gun ownership and open-carry anywhere.
8. End foreign aid to starving nations.
9. Sell all national parks to private groups.

To be fair, the Libertarian Party does have reasonable positions on immigration reform, privacy, and the war on drugs. But the essential takeaway from reading their platform is this: “If you are impoverished, starving, desperately ill, unemployed, or uneducated…tough shit. Don’t come to the government with your lazy unpatriotic hand out. Every American for himself. Get the fuck out of here.”

Joe. My. God.

—  John Wright

Joseph Rocha’s Abusive Navy Boss Michael Toussaint Expected To Walk Away With Full Taxpayer-Funded Pension

toussaint

Michael Toussaint, the disgraced Navy senior chief petty officer allegedly responsible (although he says otherwise) for leading a canine unit in Bahrain that involved the degradation of sailors, including the anti-gay abuse of Joseph Rocha, just might glide into retirement with a full pension.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  John Wright