How do you reconcile having elements of “lowbrow” and “high art” in your work? How does that translate into other media, for example, into professional wrestling or comedy? —Charles Ritter
Interesting distinction you’ve made. As far as my seven months working in professional wrestling goes, one could make a case for that period being “lowbrow”—a lowbrow art form that, on an average Monday evening, was watched by 4 million households. I guess that popularity would be akin to the fascination with lowbrow Hollywood starlets who, for the better part of 2007, monopolized mainstream media. In times of trouble, Americans frequently turn to lowbrow. Why, after all, would one want to truly consider the nexus of a looming world war (the president’s words, not mine), “peak oil” scenarios, vanishing home equity, MRSA, global warming, and Chinese lead, er, toy exports? Damn, Britney be sounding mighty fine right about now.
As for my work as a singer-songwriter: Call me crazy, or funny, but I think of it as high art. Not in a theoretical sense but as a spiritual connection it creates in, and for, all of us. For three minutes, we can listen to someone else’s life unfold in melody and poetry. If the song grabs us, we hum along the second time; it’s the unconscious equivalent of empathy. We know how it feels, and we nod in acknowledgment as the listener speaks. Art doesn’t get much higher than that. —Bob Mould
Bob Mould DJs at Blowoff, Saturday, Nov. 17, at the 9:30 Club.