Reviews & suggestions for punk rock fans.

Bob Mould’s See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody – Book Suggestion

What I Learned from See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody by Bob Mould of Hüsker Dü

See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody, by Bob Mould, holds a story of early childhood abuse, addiction, and how one might survive in a band while writing hardcore songs that could make a person cry. If you’re like me, the aforementioned could be the reason you pick up the book. To my surprise, and once you put the book down, you realize it is about someone who learned how to create an authentic life true to themselves.

For background, Bob Mould helped create Hüsker Dü, a punk rock band formed in Minneapolis. As singer, songwriter, and guitarist for the band, he toured the U.S. playing venues with the budget of sh*t, spreading the punk rock DIY ethos during the 1980s. Reading about his time with SST Records, the label that signed Hüsker Dü, and hanging out with some of my favorite bands, like the Minutemen, was a killer part of the book See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody. Before that, you discover he lived in an abusive home with an alcoholic father in a New York town where a boy died for being gay. He never shies away from the fact that his relationship with his father was complicated. And he also in no way shies away from his understanding of his homosexuality, even at a young age, and what the outside world thinks of his sexuality. His early up bringing helps you understand why he decides to hold back from revealing that he is a gay man to the public. He isn’t hiding or refusing to say it to himself, he is just leaving out details from the world.

Once his sexuality is public, he starts to understand he hasn’t lived as a gay man and begins to take time to create a life that aligns with who he is as a person. I’m going to let this quote explain how freeing it was once he took those steps toward becoming himself:

It was only when I’d cleared everything away and was left with just myself and what I had to offer that my true transformation happened. That was when I began to find out who I was and where I was supposed to be.

From See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody by Bob Mould

Think about all the times you suppressed your own ideas to be “who they want me to be,” or hid a part of yourself from public scrutiny. Can you, too, wake up with the idea of your sexuality, or personality, and instead of suppressing it – celebrate it? Gay, straight – sexuality is something we all share. And I believe we shouldn’t be ashamed of it. We should embrace it.

While Bob Mould explores this newfound gay life, he is also expressing himself as an artist and dealing with the madness of the music industry. You read all about the details of the new music he is creating after Hüsker Dü – some good, some bad – but artistic expression nonetheless. Throughout the process, he evolved as a human being and musician, forming his life. Not one that the world demanded of him, or asked from him. His own. Something we should all be inspired to achieve and ultimately what I walked away learning from this book.

With that, if you are interested in the 1980s punk rock scene, and maybe want to know more about how the music that was created – you should pick up See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody by Bob Mould. Annnnnd you should pick it up if you want to be inspired to understand what it truly means to create your own life despite all the bullsh*t.

Last thing – for those who might be worried about coming out in this f*cked up world, I leave you this quote from Bob Mould to think about:

I had a deep sadness and regret about not coming out sooner – my life would have been so difficult. But I’d been so worried about how people would perceive my work, not considering the impact I might have had on people for being an out gay rock guy. Still, I eventually came out, there were some rough spots, but overall I was happier for it.

From See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody by Bob Mould
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