Bob Mould returns to Provincetown with solo show

CAPE COD TIMES - Bob Mould will be riding a wave of newfound momentum from his home base in San Francisco to Cape Cod when he performs Friday at Provincetown Town Hall.

By Jason Savio - May 25, 2022

“This is the most ambitious tour plan I’ve had since 2012 or 2013,” he says on a telephone call from the West Coast. The singer/guitarist is referring to the long list of shows he has scheduled from now through October that has him traveling to the United Kingdom and Ireland in addition to shows here in the U.S.

He credits the busy schedule to “a lot of big releases in the past couple of years,” mostly his 2020 album “Blue Hearts and the Distortion: 1989-2019” box set that chronicles his solo career and band Sugar following his days in the influential punk/alternative rock band Hüsker Dü.

Bob Mould // May 29 at Ptown Town Hall // Payomet

His most recent release, a 2022 EP entitled “The Ocean,” is a three-song set that takes two songs from “Blue Hearts” — “The Ocean” and “Forecast of Rain” — and gives them an acoustic spin. The Hüsker Dü track “Divide and Conquer” from 1985’s “Flip Your Wig” finishes the trio in the same fashion.

“At the time that I did those, that’s when everyone was still separate (because of COVID-19),” he says. “And when you can’t get the band together, you pick up the guitar and do the best you can by yourself.”

A one-man electric show

When Mould makes his trip to Provincetown (courtesy of Payomet Performing Arts Center), he’ll be onstage by himself and, to him, that presents more opportunities to share with the audience.

“One of the benefits to me about solo touring is just being able to go deeper into the songbook,” he says. “I can’t open up the songbook with the band that I tour (with), but solo, it’s a little more spontaneous, it’s a little more flexible and the shows are a little more intimate.”

The connection with the audience is different when he performs his solo electric shows, Mould says, citing good feedback about them and a different view of how people are taking in his new material. It also gives him more time to work on new material either at sound check or in the car driving. “That solitude is really conducive to thinking about the next record,” he says. “Solo tours are real fun for me.”

Not only will Mould be playing his new songs when he comes to the Cape, he’ll also be diving deep into his other solo records — plus work from Sugar and Hüsker Dü.

“It’s just me and the Strat,” he says of his guitar. “(It’s) mostly loud. It’s a dynamic show, there’re down moments as well, but it’s pretty much a rock show without drums, I guess.”

More practically, the portability of the solo setup and ability to more easily respond in case something goes sideways due to COVID-19 also make the solo outing more convenient. “And to be honest, these days, embarking on a big tour with production and band and crew, right now it’s really easy for something to happen where a tour gets re-postponed,” he adds.

Hüsker Dü and its everlasting influence

Mould first made waves in the ‘80s as singer and guitarist in Hüsker Dü, a punk/alternative rock band in Minnesota. The group disbanded in 1988 after releasing six albums, but since then has continued to make an impression on younger artists and is even thought to have affected the start of the shift in the musical landscape that took place in the early ‘90s.

Mould, a self-taught musician who grew up in the Adirondacks, formed Hüsker Dü with bassist Greg Norton and drummer Grant Hart while attending Macalester College in Saint Paul.

“Those eight years were incredible,” he says of his time in Hüsker Dü and the like-minded bands they played alongside. “It was an amazing community and Hüsker Dü was a real good band.”

One of those younger musicians who has taken note of Mould’s work is the Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl, whom Mould met back in 1991 when he was doing a solo acoustic tour in Europe and was playing the same festivals as Nirvana, Grohl’s band at the time. “That was right before ‘Teen Spirit’ dropped,” Mould says.

Fast-forwarding two decades later, Mould has played alongside Grohl on the Foo Fighters’ 2011 “Wasting Light” track “Dear Rosemary” and with the band onstage at a number of live shows.

“A lot of people mention Hüsker Dü in terms of influencing what they do and that’s one of the highest compliments you can get in anything you do in life, just following your own muse, your own path, and other people seeing that path that you took and the work that you did and it informs what they do,” Mould says. “That’s as good as it gets.”

Praise for Provincetown

Mould is no stranger to Cape Cod. He previously played at the Beachcomber in Wellfleet and from 2008 to 2013, he was part of a DJ party at the Boatslip Resort & Beach Club during Bear Week in Provincetown.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to P-Town,” he says. “I have a lot of friends there who run shops and have inns and stuff like that. The Cape and Provincetown … I’ve had so many great times up there over the years.”

Although the Memorial Day traffic might be a bit of a bummer (“P-Town is one of my favorite places on Earth, if it doesn’t take me six hours to get there,” he jokes), Mould won’t let it deter him from the fun that awaits once he crosses the bridge and he can do what he enjoys the most.

“Music has been my life’s work. Every day I look forward to it, especially getting out to perform for people,” he says. “Music is so important to me and everyone who loves it. It creates community, it tells stories.”


To see Bob Mould

When: 7 p.m. Friday, May 27

Where: Provincetown Town Hall, 260 Commercial St.

Tickets: $35, $33 for members -