For the second time this month, Walking the Floor podcast is going punk. Today, Chris Shiflett’s podcast series focuses on a conversation with Bob Mould, frontman of Hüsker Dü and Sugar. The interview is short – not unlike Hüsker Dü’s earliest songs – but the two musicians still find time to talk about Mould’s former gig as a pro wrestling consultant, the origin behind Hüsker Dü’s name and the reason none of his former bands will ever reunite for a festival slot.
Some highlights from the episode are below, as is the official premiere of Walking the Floor‘s newest clip. Check back every week for new episodes.
Bob Mould was a jukebox kid.
“I was born in 1960,” explains the New York native, who didn’t move to Minneapolis until his college years, “and in my pre-teen years, my dad would go and buy used jukebox singles from the vending company in the small farm town that I get up in in. It would be Beatles, Beach Boys, Hollies, Byrds, Mamas and Papas. All the Roulette stuff, amazing Motown stuff [and] gimmicky trucker songs [like] ‘Gimme 40 Acres and I’ll Turn this Rig Around,’ because I think the only jukebox was in the diner where all the truck drivers went.”
Hüsker Dü borrowed its name from an old board game whose commercials were notorious for their subliminal messages.
“Hüsker Dü means ‘Do your remember?'” Mould says. “It’s either Danish or Norwegian. If you go back to the Sixties and Seventies, there was a board game in America called Husker Du, and allegedly, they got busted by the FCC for putting subliminal messages in their TV ads.” The message in question – a single frame that read “Get It” – was more capitalistic than satanic, but the FCC received enough complaints during the 1973 Christmas season to convince the agency to shut down Husker Du’s advertising trickery. Years later, the board game is still available, now touting itself as a memory game “Where the child may outwit the adult!”
As a kingpin of Minneapolis’ music scene during the Eighties, Mould hung out with Paul Westerberg and the rest of the Replacements.
“There were periods of time where Paul and I would hang out a little bit,” he remembers. “We tried [to write together]. It wasn’t any good. No good at all. We were just goofing around. Neither one of us wanted to be serious.” The bands were serious about playing, though, and they did pair up several times. “We took the Replacements down to Chicago to do some punk rock shows,” Mould adds, “[but] I’m not sure they really dug that scene as much. They’re more of a rock band. We saw each other around all the time. There was a friendly competition.”
Now a contented solo artist, Mould isn’t planning on reuniting his first band anytime soon, regardless of the paycheck.
“That was a really important band to me, and. . . to a lot of people,” he notes. “I think musicians should do whatever they wanna do. If they wanna reunite their bands 20 years later, for whatever reason, that’s great. I’m not the kind of guy who looks on that and makes judgment. [But] to me, the way Hüsker Dü burned when it was hot, can’t be duplicated. You only get it once. It was a great experience, mostly, when it was happening. But I wanted to move forward after that.” That means no Coachella reunions or Bonnaroo headlining slots, despite the opportunity to cash in on a quick, lucrative reunion. Mould, who released his twelfth solo album, Patch the Sky, last March, says his first band is “best left the way the people who saw it remember it.”
Believe it or not, Mould worked in professional wrestling during the sport’s late-Nineties renaissance.
“I was a creative consultant, and I did a lot of production management right behind the curtain,” says Mould, who’d grown up infatuated with the sport and spectacle of pro wrestling. “I knew people who worked in the business,” he adds, “and through the Nineties, I sort of gave them ideas. . . Fast forward to September of 1999, a position opened up at World Championship Wrestling in Atlanta. I had a friend who was working there and he came into more power, and he said, ‘ We want to bring you in as a consultant.'” Mould joined the company on the road, playing a crucial role in keeping each match on time by wearing a headpiece and communicated with the referees. He sat in on content meetings, too.