WILL SUCCESS MAKE SUGAR'S LEADER LESS TORTURED? NAH.
Bob Mould is so wary of fame that he wrote a song about a fanatic who treats him as a Christ figure (”JC Auto”) even before the release of Sugar’s 1992 breakthrough album, Copper Blue. ”Right now it’s sad. I think in the media there’s a tendency to want to burn through people’s lives as quickly as possible,” says the 32-year-old guitarist, who is currently touring Europe with his trio. ”You know, just really go through somebody to get to somebody else and then go through them.” Not since Leonard Cohen, perhaps, has a songwriter been so obsessed with images of betrayal and crucifixion. But unlike Cohen, Mould is no laconic troubadour. After more than 10 years of recording convulsively innovative rock songs, first with the influential hard-core pop trio Husker Du, then as a solo artist, and now with the dreamier pop of Sugar, the tortured elder statesman of the alternative genre is still rocking with righteous anger. The band’s recent album, Beaster-described as Copper Blue’s darker side-entered at the top of the pop charts in Britain and, Stateside, has hit the top 10 on the college charts. ”What I do is never going to be accepted in the mainstream,” says Mould, who had been an early choice to produce Nirvana’s Nevermind, alternative rock’s primer. ”It dabbles along the edges, it informs other people’s work, and maybe in a couple of years it’ll crop up as something really important.”