Turned Out an Internet Punk
My chat with Bob Mould when the net felt underground
My new favorite podcast is Turned Out a Punk. I find it relaxing listening to punk nerds nerd out about punk. It’s like watching golf.
The other day, I was listening to the interview with Bob Mould, he of Husker Du, Sugar, and a raging stream of solo work.
Back in the early 90s, Mould was one of the first artists to come online at SonicNet, a BBS where I had what felt like a sci-fi job: booking and interview artists online. We didn’t have the word “chat” yet for this sort of thing, so I came up with “happening” instead. 🤦♂️ I thought it sounded counter-culturey.
I had to call record labels and explain this thing called the internet, and convince them to send their bands down to our rat-infested building on the lower west side of Manhattan. It wasn’t easy. But the more adventurous artists agreed: Radiohead, No Doubt, David Byrne, Yoni Ono and such. When Mould came on, he’d recently come out in Spin magazine, but hadn’t had the opportunity - or the medium - to talk with his fans directly about it. This was a couple decades before social media, so it felt raw and fresh and underground - in a very punk kind of way. The punkernet it was.
After the Web broke wide, MTV bought SonicNet, and I left to write about the nascent digital culture for magazines. But some of my SonicNet transcripts exist, including the chat with Mould.