Bob Mould's new band might know more about his old band than he does. Or so it seemed in August, as the Minnesota music expat mapped out the set list for a surprise show at 7th Street Entry.
"Let's start with 'In a Free Land,' because that's how 'Land Speed Record' started," Mould suggested, referring to the breakneck-paced album that Hüsker Dü recorded in the Entry in 1981.
"No it didn't," drummer Jon Wurster rightly interjected.
Mould could only smile. "I honestly don't remember any of it," he said. "But I will say, we were having a lot of fun at that point."
Mould is finally having fun again playing the songs he wrote during his tumultuous decade in Minnesota. Mould, Wurster and bassist Jason Narducy have been tearing and blaring their way through sets in classic fashion and dusting off more old songs. Fans can expect more of the same when the trio returns for a two-night stand Friday and Saturday at First Avenue.
"These guys love those [old] records, and if they get excited to play that stuff, I do, too," Mould said. "The caveats are, I have to be able to sing them without reasonable vocal damage, and I have to be able to remember the words."
About 30 pounds lighter than he was a year ago, Mould said he practices a very un-punk-rock health regimen to be able to play like a young punk. "I do a lot of time in the gym and completely change my diet getting ready for a tour," he said. "There's probably no way I could be playing this way at my age otherwise."
When asked to reflect on his 11 years in Minnesota (1978-1989), Mould divides them into pre- and post-sobriety. He was visibly fattened by his heavy drinking, and the "speed" in "Land Speed Record" wasn't just a musical reference. "For many years when I was here, it was just a blur," he said.
"When I got sober, then it was a different city for me. I had a different view. The band was on the ropes, things were changing. I was spending more time at home because I didn't want to go out drinking. The CC Club isn't a lot of fun to hang out at if you aren't drinking."
He continued, "I loved my time here. I didn't appreciate it as much when I was here as I should have. I learned how to play music here, and learned a lot about myself here."
Mould learned more about himself than he ever could have hoped, he said, by sorting through memories for his 2012 autobiography, "See a Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody." Writing it, he said, "was such a heavy deal, afterward I felt lighter. It set the stage for me to have fun again."
However, last summer's album "Beauty & Ruin" casts a darker tone. It was largely inspired by his father's death in late 2012. Said Mould, "After getting a sort of pass to have some fun, time, place and circumstance sort of caught up with me."
Another stormy relationship is somewhat on the mend. He and Hüsker Dü's Grant Hart have stopped waging war on each other in the press. He called Hart's "The Argument" album of 2013 "a high water mark for him." He also said of the business surrounding the band's long-neglected catalog, "Everybody is in communication and participating. We're in sort of an assessment period."
Bob Mould Band
With: Fury Things
When: 9 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
Where: First Avenue.
Tickets: $25. www.etix.com.