Tom Sinclair
July 22, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Carnage Crew is living up to its name. Clad in identical tank tops proclaiming themselves to be ”Fat, Drunk, and Pissed Off,” the beefy two-man tag team are inflicting some serious damage on their opponents, a pair of long-haired pretty boys, at the Ring of Honor’s July 9 championship wrestling bout inside Manhattan’s New Yorker Hotel.

From his balcony seat, Bob Mould seems to be absorbing every body slam, head butt, and slap. ”Ooof. . .wow. . .Jesus!” he marvels. Suddenly, one of the pretty boys gets tossed clean out of the ring, where he lands on the judge’s table, breaking it in half. ”Oh, man,” says Mould. ”That kid’s gonna need a hip replacement by the time he’s 30.”

Longtime Mould watchers may know that the alt-rock avatar, who played guitar and sang in Hüsker Dü and Sugar, is a dedicated wrestling enthusiast (he actually wrote scripts for the WCW back in 1999 and 2000). ”When I was a kid I used to watch wrestling on TV, I bought the magazines, I had my dad or my brother take me to matches,” he says. ”I followed it the way most kids follow baseball.”

He still does. Which is why he’s taking a break from promoting his new solo CD, Body of Song (out July 26), by watching grown men beat the crap out of each other. ”There’s nothing quite like it,” he says.

Although he uses words like art and soul when discussing his music, Mould maintains that wrestling a guitar isn’t ultimately that far removed from what the Carnage Crew do. ”When I worked for the WCW and they found out I’d been on the road for 20 years, living pretty hard and fast, the wrestlers realized my life was a lot like theirs,” he says.

Body of Song consolidates many of the styles Mould has worked in over the years, from raging punk to introspective pop. ”It’s a very simple record,” he says. ”The guitars are up front, there are some electronic elements underneath, and I’m doing what I do: channeling stories about me and people around me, trying to make something people can identify with.”

There aren’t any songs about wrestling on Body, but Mould says he might be persuaded to write wrestling scripts again ”if the money and circumstances were right.” Walking out onto Eighth Avenue after the event, he gives the night’s brutality a thumbs-up: ”The testosterone, the athleticism. . . .It really is like a good rock show, isn’t it?”

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