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Talking Catharsis, Crisis, And Pro Wrestling With Bob Mould

Bob Mould, pictured here not appearing on this podcast but rather performing at Coachella.
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

It is difficult to know where to start with Bob Mould. He has been making angry, catchy, urgent, thoughtful music for going on four decades, in different bands and different styles and even different genres, and told the story of his life in the process. He has a new album called Blue Hearts, and it’s quite good, but he has also been almost implausibly prolific for an impossibly long time. Distortion, a new box set that covers his solo career and work with the band Sugar, spreads nearly 300 songs over 24 damn albums. It’s a long and distinguished career, in short, and ours is a podcast that strives above all else for brevity and whatever the opposite of distinguished-ness is. So you can see the problem that presents itself in having actual living legend Bob Mould as a guest. It’s a good problem, as problems go, but you can see it.

I’ve loved his music for a long time, and Drew reveres him in the way that people with healthy family dynamics revere their parents. So you can see the problem with having Mould on a podcast: At least one of the two hosts is ideally going to try to keep their shit together a little bit, and neither one of us are remotely up to that task. It was our great good fortune that Bob Mould is as delightful and engaging a conversationalist as he is a songwriter.

In a perverse way, the howling and abject shittiness of the world at this moment worked in our favor, here. Mould has spent a lot of his life as a performer calling bullshit and injustice by their rightful names, as loudly as he can, and it turns out we’ve got a lot of that going on right now. We talked about Mould’s new record and career, but also about all the bullshit and injustice that inspired his most overt protest songs in years, as well as the future of live music, the cyclical recurrence of American tragedies, a presidential debate that both Drew and I skipped as hard as we possibly could, the horror and shame of this broader moment’s abandonment and cruelty, and what it’s like to run a pro wrestling show from behind the scenes. That is another thing that Bob Mould has done in his life.

We did not ask him to Remember A Guy, unless you count Drew bringing up Dave Grohl, but I think on balance it all still came out pretty well. But if you feel like you’re missing out, here you go: Gene Larkin.

One additional programming note: this episode marks the debut of our new theme music, by the redoubtable mega-genius polymath Kirk Hamilton. It’s good and we are very glad to have it. If you would like to subscribe to The Distraction, you can do that at Stitcher, or through Apple PodcastsSpotify, or wherever else you might get your podcasts. If you’d like to listen to an ad-free version of the podcast, you can do so on Stitcher Premium; a free month of Stitcher Premium can be yours if you use the promotional code “Distract.” Thank you as always for your support.