By Ryan Bray, Special to   Published Oct 20, 2010 at 1:01 PM

At this stage in his career, Bob Mould has earned the right to slow down and rest on his laurels. That is, if he ever decides to slow down.

The former Hüsker Dü and Sugar frontman has built up an enviable resume over the past 30 years, but even at 50, there's no stopping the venerable rocker's motor. The past decade has seen Mould release four solo records and a live DVD, tour relentlessly, take up DJing as one half of the dance duo Blowoff and finally pen an autobiography, set for publication in spring 2011.

Now he's back on the road for a string of solo dates through the Midwest and the east coast, including a stop at Shank Hall on Wednesday. We caught up with Mould prior to his Milwaukee stop to talk about writing a book, getting back into touring and writing music and playing songs from his back catalog. The past year has been a busy one for you, having moved and finished up your autobiography. But you've kind of put music aside. What was it like keeping so busy outside of music?

Bob Mould: To be honest, looking back over the past five years and all the things I've been working on, it's been super crazy. "Body of Song" came out, toured a bunch on that, then "District Line" and the live DVD came out and I toured around that. Then there was "Life and Times," Blowoff and all the DJ gigs that came along with that, and then the book (laughs). And yet it's funny because I feel like I've been slacking off.

OMC: In what way?

BM: Just in general. I just feel like I'm behind. I haven't written a lot of music since work started on the book, so maybe that's where that feeling comes from.

OMC: Has this been the longest you've stepped away from songwriting and preparing new material?

BM: It has. It's been almost three years since I've sat down and done some serious music writing. But I'm excited. The book is done and will be out in the spring, so I'm just looking forward to these dates and getting out and playing again. I have a good feeling that coming home from that will bring about a good creative spurt. So, fingers crossed on that.

OMC: You've mentioned that you're not big on looking back on the past, and yet writing an autobiography is the epitome of that. What prompted you to write a book?

BM: Well, I'd never done it, and I don't look forward to doing it again (laughs). The idea for the book came up in 2001, so this was an idea that had been around for almost 10 years. Back then it didn't make sense for me, but a lot of things have happened in my life in the past decade. As interesting as the '80s are to some people and the '90s are to a lot more people, the last decade was one that holds a lot of the keys for me. I'm glad I did it. It'll be nice to let those 50 years of my life go.

OMC: Does it feel that way, as though you're working off a clean slate moving forward having documented so much?

BM: I've said before I'm not a big fan of looking back and that I'd rather look forward. But I'm curious to see how the book is received. It'll be revealing. I think people will have a completely different take on what I do, who I am and all those things.

OMC: You kick off the tour on the 19th in Minneapolis, right?

BM: Yeah. I'm in Minneapolis on the 19th and at Shank Hall in Milwaukee on the 20th. I really like Shank Hall a lot. I've played there a lot of times over the years and the people there are always great to work with.

OMC: The Midwest plays a big part in your legacy going back to the Hüsker Dü days. Do you have any sort of a special affinity for playing these parts?

BM: There's still people in Minneapolis who come out, people who saw me there when I was a kid and have stayed with me over the years. But yeah, the Midwest in general, that's where I cut my teeth with this stuff. I've got a long history with Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Madison and Chicago. They're always fun. I just try to get there before the weather hits.

OMC: Are you heading out with a band or just by yourself?

BM: It's just me, solo acoustic and solo electric. It's "An Evening With ..." sort of thing. I'll get up there with a guitar, go through the songbook and pick the songs I enjoy and take a few requests. Hopefully that won't be a dismal failure, but there's always someone who calls for something I haven't played in 23 years.

OMC: Someone calling for (Sugar's) "JC Auto?"

BM: If someone calls for "JC Auto" I'd probably just laugh (laughs). But they're fun, intimate shows. I'm at a point in my life where that's what these shows are about. You get caught up in it with people. It's a good time.

OMC: Your body of work at this point is pretty dense. Is it difficult preparing a set list for a tour like this?

BM: I have a feeling for which songs work best for this kind of setting. There's always certain songs like "See a Little Light" that you know people want to hear, so that's an easy addition. But I try to think about it, whether I should do this song or that song, or maybe I should try "Hanging Tree" in a different way. I tend to look for certain songs that have been sleeping for a while.