Bob Mould will chronicle the three decades of his career that came after the breakup of Hüsker Dü in a new box set.
The collection, Distortion: 1989 – 2019, will contain 24 CDs: the 18 studio albums he has recorded as a solo artist and as the frontman of Sugar, four live albums, and two albums of rarities and collaborations. It will come out on October 2nd. The first installment of a vinyl version of the box set will come out the same day.
Mould is previewing the collection Thursday with an amped-up live recording of “Could You Be the One?” that he made with his solo band in 2005. The track originally appeared on Hüsker Dü’s final album, Warehouse: Songs and Stories, and came out as a single and video. He leads the live version at a faster clip, finding new power in the riff and charging through the studio version’s psychedelic bridge, making it feel more like a slashing punk song. Incidentally, the solo performance took place at Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club, which was also the last place where Hüsker Dü had performed the song in 1987.
“For years, I didn’t play Hüsker Dü material with my subsequent touring bands,” Mould said in a statement. “This was the first time my long-time friend and colleague Jason Narducy [bass] played in my touring band. Rich Morel [keys] was my work partner for 11 years in [the collaborative group] Blowoff, and the 9:30 Club was home for our monthly dance party. Brendan Canty [drums] nudged me out of my self-imposed ‘rock retirement’ after the 1998 Last Dog and Pony Show tour, which is also chronicled in the box set. Brendan’s company Trixie Productions filmed and edited the show.”
Distortion also includes rarities like his collaborations with Foo Fighters, Golden Palominos and a previously unreleased demo of “Dog on Fire,” the theme for The Daily Show for nearly 25 years now. It also includes Mould’s otherwise out-of-print electronica projects LoudBomb and Blowoff, and a booklet with liner notes by music journalist Keith Cameron, interviews with Mould, a foreword by Fred Armisen, and quotes from Richard Thompson, Shirley Manson and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino. The booklet also includes lyrics and photos of previously unpublished memorabilia. A limited-edition version of the box set includes a signed print by Mould.
“It’s called Distortion because it describes the music and it fits the world we live in,” Mould said. “In this new age, everybody shares their life in real-time. But I’m not done yet. If I didn’t have a constantly active career, this anthology might feel like the proverbial dirt landing on top of my coffin — although somehow I seem to be able to crawl my way out of the dirt every time!”
The vinyl edition of the box set will come out in four volumes. The first, Distortion: 1989 – 1995, features eight LPs, covering Mould’s output from his solo debut, Workbook, to Sugar’s File Under: Easy Listening. It also includes Sugar’s Besides outtakes comp and Distortion Plus: 1989 – 1995, which features more rarities. This edition comes with a shorter booklet, and a limited edition contains a screen print of the Copper Blue artwork, which Mould has signed alongside artist Simon Marchner. The rest of the vinyl box sets will come out next year.
Both editions of the box set will arrive shortly after the release of Mould’s upcoming solo album, Blue Hearts. So far, he has released two tracks from the record: “American Crisis,” which contrasts the AIDS epidemic of the Eighties with the Trump administration, and “Forecast of Rain,” a caustic number that skewers religious hypocrisy.