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

Juneteenth Community Mixer at Level tonight

Drinks and fellowship

The Legacy of Success Foundation hosts the Juneteenth Community Mixer tonight. This is a casual event to catch up with old friends and and meet up with some new ones. Plus, the drink specials are insane. But that’s not what this is about! LOSF strives to create an empowering and affirming environment for LGBT people of color.

DEETS: Level Bar & Grill, 3903 Lemmon Ave. 5 p.m. Free. LOSF.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Local Briefs

CCGLA surveys candidates, sets meet-and-greet events

As municipal elections approach, the Collin County Gay & Lesbian Alliance has sent an online survey to city council, school board and mayoral candidates in Allen, Frisco, Plano and McKinney, and “meet-and-greet” sessions for candidates are planned in Frisco, Plano and McKinney in April.

The organization will also create and distribute a voters’ guide.

The Plano “meet-and-greet” will be held on Friday, April 8, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at a private residence. For more information, go online to CCGLA.org.

Results of CCGLA’s candidate surveys will be posted on the CCGLA website prior to each event. The events are informal, non-partisan, and all candidates are invited.

Oak Cliff Earth Day to feature vendors, info booths and more

Oak Cliff Earth Day, which has become the largest all-volunteer-run Earth Day since it started five years ago, will be held on Sunday, April 17, from noon to 5 p.m. at Lake Cliff Park, located at the intersection of Colorado Street and Zang Boulevard in Oak Cliff.

There is no charge to attend the event, which will include art, food, plants and other environmentally-friendly products available for purchase.

There will also be educational booths on topics such as how to save energy and clean up the environment, along with locally-grown honey, animals to adopt and native plants for gardens.

Parking at the park is limited, however, free parking is available at Methodist Hospital, in Lot 10 only, located at 1400 S. Beckley Ave. across from the hospital entrance on Beckley Ave. Methodist Hospital is providing a shuttle bus from the parking lot to the event.

Participants are also encouraged to take DART to the event or walk or ride a bicycle. There are a number of bike racks, funded by Oak Cliff Earth Day, at the park.

Mayoral candidates to speak Sunday on animal issues in Dallas

Dallas’ mayoral candidates will participate in a forum on animal issues in the city of Dallas on Sunday, April 10, at 2 p.m. at the Central Dallas Library, 1515 Young St., in downtown Dallas. The Metroplex Animal Coalition is sponsoring the forum, with is free and open to the public. Journalist Larry Powell with Urban Animal magazine will moderate.

The mayoral candidates are former Dallas Police Chief David Kunkle, Councilman Ron Natinsky, real estate consultant Edward Okpa and Mike Rawlings, former Pizza Hut CEO and Dallas homeless czar.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 8, 2011.

—  John Wright

What Creative Reason Did Budapest Authorities Create To Ban Gay Pride?

Police in Budapest have canceled June 18's planned gay pride parade, because it will cause a "disproportionate disruption of traffic."


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Queerty

—  David Taffet

Mormon Church Mildly Ashamed Over Boyd K. Packer Saying God Would Never Intentionally Create Homos

Evidently not so proud that Boyd K. Packer claimed god would never punish mankind by making some people gay, LDS has toned down the second-in-command's anti-gay rhetoric in the official version of his Sunday speech. 'Cause who needs a historical record of Packer saying the lord would never let anybody be a fag?

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  John Wright

Atlanta Police Create LGBT Advisory Board

In a clear response to the rift between the Atlanta police and the LGBT community, the city's police department has created a nine-person advisory board. The diversely selected committee, which consists partly of a business owner, a transgender activist, and a minister, is intended to open a dialogue between the two groups.

WABE in Atlanta reports on the committee: Gay

No matter how strong the nine members may be, the new LGBT advisory board is just that advisory. It has no policy-making or fiduciary power. And even before the board's first meeting, at least one person is questioning the transparency of the selection process.

"I simply just want to know, as do a lot of people within the LGBT community, how was the selection process conducted?" asked Charlie Stadtlander, a high school teacher and who unsuccessfully ran for the school board. He says several people nominated him for the LGBT advisory panel. He wasn't selected. And while he agrees the nine appointees are well-qualified, he says he never got the sense APD had formal standards for choosing the board.

"We all are questioning what the interview process was, how was the selection process conducted, and what criteria was actually used to select the panel?"

LGBT liaison Powell admits the selection process was informal, but stands behind her decisions. She says the nine members will allow APD to reach communities that, in the past, may not have had a line of communication with the department. And while it will take time, dialogue, and some say an apology from APD for past wrongs, most agree the board has the potential to begin rebuilding those burnt bridges.

You may recall that hundreds of people protested a police raid at the Atlanta Eagle in 2009. Charges against those bar employees arrested that night were later dropped.


Towleroad News #gay

—  John Wright