By Neal Broverman
Originally published on Advocate.com April 23 2009 11:00 PM ET
Advocate.com: Congratulations on your new album,
Life and Times
. You just had an album last year; any reason you're so
was supposed to come out about six months sooner than it
actually did. It was meant to be out in late '07,
and when I switched labels from Yep Roc to ANTI it got held up.
So actually the writing has been in cycle, but the albums have
been out of cycle.
From your Coachella set, it's clear you have a diverse
fan base. How do you describe your fans?
It's an eclectic mix. Going back to Hüsker
Dü in the '80s, that was a very underground,
hard-core punk audience that morphed into what we know as
college rock or alternative music. In the '90s with Sugar,
that music had become so mainstream, and Sugar was a really
popular band that got a lot of exposure on MTV and commercial
radio; that brought a much bigger casual audience. Now I think
the audience is a combination of a lot of the old-time fans,
but there's a whole new crop of people coming in.
Specifically, with the gay and lesbian audience, I have the
bear fans. Go figure.
The music you make has evolved over the years. Are you
currently responding to new genres?
Over the last decade I've been a real fan of the electronic
stuff going on. In the late '90s, when I was living in New
York, that's when I got exposed to a lot of that music;
Chelsea and West Village and that trancy techno that was
everywhere. I got an ear for it and started composing in that
style. Through the rest of the decade I've been moving back
to guitar stuff. Having said that,
is the big DJ event we do [at Washington, D.C.'s 9:30
Club], so I get to have my electronica fix there and my guitar
fix here. As far as stuff I'm listening to,
there's a lot of young bands that are revisiting that
hard-core alternative rock sound from the '80s like No Age
and Fucked Up.
You're based in D.C. Does it feel like a new city
Totally. It started the night of the election. The streets were
mobbed with people celebrating. I live in the middle of town
and it's simple things: less Escalades flying up and down
the street and more single-gear bikes. The city is being
humanized. During the Bush administration -- I've lived
there since the middle of '02 -- those guys wrecked
everything. There's a lot of rebuilding to do, but some of
the class war that was there -- whenever Republicans are in
power and city services start to shrink the disenfranchised get
angry -- now that's starting to dissipate and
everybody's getting along better. It's a lot
Tell me about your upcoming memoir.
I'm working on an autobiography that'll be out
in the fall of 2010. Michael Azerrad [author of
Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana
] is editing the book and keeping me on track. I think
it'll be really interesting; I've never been the kind
of person who looks back much on his life, I always try to move
forward. So looking back on the past 48 and 49 years is pretty
Will it put you in the rock and alternative scenes of the
'80s and '90s?
There'll be a lot of music, a lot of personal stuff.
There's nothing that's off-limits. And Azerrad's
pushing me. The whole dynamic of Hüsker Dü
will be told from my perspective; I've been really
reticent about that.
How's your relationship with the guys in Hüsker
There is none. Every handful of years we have to agree on one
or two business things and that's it.