In 1979, Bob Mould, Grant Hart, and Greg Norton, whose lives intersected at a record store in Minneapolis, added umlauts to the name of a Swedish board game and started performing as Hüsker Dü. They played hardcore. Had they continued to play hardcore, '80s alternative rock would've traveled a much different path. With his irresistible guitar squall and thoughtful lyrics, Mould nudged the band into the emerging indie scene, cumulating in the 1984 masterpiece Zen Arcade. The excellently titled double album offered young and confused youth a soundtrack to their lives in a way that bands like the Dead Milkmen would never do. (Cult novelist Dennis Cooper, himself a demigod to the young and confused, calls his book Try a tribute to the album.) Hüsker Dü became a prototypical indie band, one of the first to sign a decent contract with the majors -- Mould, in fact, holds the unique position of being the guy who gave major-label advice to Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, who went on to dispense it like Advil to the rest of the pack. Still, Hüsker Dü never achieved widespread success, and drugs and infighting broke up the band. Mould went on to modest '90s success heading a more radio-friendly band, Sugar. The early 2000s, however, saw a more multifaceted Mould emerge. Among other things, he embraced DJ, electronica, and dance music; played lead guitar for Hedwig and the Angry Inch; and worked as a scriptwriter for professional wrestling. Tonight, he appears in conversation with critic Michael Azerrad, who wrote the book on indie underground -- literally, with 2001's Our Band Could Be Your Life. "Talking Music" with Mould is co-presented by City Arts & Lectures and Noise Pop.
Tue., Oct. 16, 8 p.m., 2007