Bob Mould celebrates 25 years with remastered ‘Workbook’ and 7-city tour
By Jeff Elbel For Sun-Times Media February 25, 2014 3:46PM
Bob Mould | COURTESY OF NASTY LITTLE MAN
Updated: February 26, 2014 3:45PM
Bob Mould’s long career is distinguished by serial highs. He first made impact in the ’80s with influential Minneapolis punk-alternative trio Husker Du. During the ’90s, Mould scaled higher peaks with the short-lived but potent Sugar.
In between the two bands, he launched a solo career. Mould’s debut collection “Workbook” turns 25 this year. The album revealed new ideas and surprising twists following the previous year’s breakup of Husker Du.
The restless Mould is taking a rare backward glance by traveling to support the remastered “Workbook 25.” Longtime sideman and former Verbow frontman Jason Narducy joins Mould for shows in Chicago on Saturday and Sunday.
Many “Workbook” songs have remained staples of Mould’s performances through the years. The jangle and chime of “See a Little Light” was somewhat nostalgic when it was written, and currently carries a double dose. However, the tour finds Mould taking the song’s air of regret and repurposing it as celebration.
“Workbook” balanced the acoustic drive of “Wishing Well” with the slashing electric guitars heard on “Poison Years.” The melancholy cello of “Sinners and Their Repentances” is worlds apart from the raging catharsis of “Whichever Way the Wind Blows.” “Brasilia Crossed with Trenton” contrasts simple country landscapes with hectic urban life. “Dreaming I Am” casts the paranoid restlessness of prey and predator at the henhouse in much the same way that the Police described threats rising from the bottom of a dark Scottish lake in “Synchronicity.”
Such extremes of sound and lyrical exploration allow “Workbook” to remain compelling after 25 years of repeated play.
Mould’s special connection to the local audience results in two of the anniversary tour’s mere seven dates taking place in town. Chicago was important to Mould when “Workbook” was taking its baby steps, too. The remastered “Workbook” package also features a full concert from 1989 at Metro.
♦Bob Mould, with Ryley Walker, 8 p.m. Mar. 1, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln. $34. (773) 728-6000.; oldtownschool.org. And 8 p.m. Mar. 2, City Winery, 1200 W. Randolph. $30-38. (312) 733-9463; citywinery.com.
VIDEO: “See a Little Light:
http://bit.ly/1h9rWse. SPOTIFY playlist: http://spoti.fi/1jS2exc