It all started at a VFW hall in Middletown, Conn., in 1986. My friend being held back in the second grade finally paid off, as we now had access to a car in our sophomore year. We piled into his mom’s Toyota Corolla and made the 45-minute drive. No GPS, no Internet. PCs barely existed, and cell phones were the size of shoeboxes. We found the gig the way you found anything cool in 1986: You drove around until you saw skaters. There were about 20 of them, tricking on ramps outside a nondescript building that looked like a warehouse. An old man took our $3, looking askance at our regalia: Jason in blue Mohawk and nasal safety pin; Booth and I in matching army jackets and combat boots, Black Flag lapels, Suicidal Tendencies skulls on the back. We went through the double doors into a very dim, large room. Everyone was sitting in little groups and, for once, they were all like us — torn jeans, bleached jeans, shaved heads, dreadlocks, purple hair, pink hair. There were flyers for skate demos and an anti-nuclear weapons rally. Nobody wore an Ozzy shirt. Nobody called us fags. The opening act was The Slimy Green Weenies, and the headliners 76% Uncertain. A skinhead told us the only rule of the pit was to pick somebody up if they fall down. It was the best night of my life — out on our own, away from our backwoods town, my first hardcore show. If you joined that tribe, it’s something you’ll never forget. So I was hoping to relive my youth with this book about what any self-respecting punk rock scenester from the eighties would want: the formation of the awesome band Hüsker Dü. Bob Mould was the lead guitarist and singer for the legendary punk three-piece, formed in Minneapolis and lasting from 1979 to 1987. Known initially as the fastest hardcore band in the country, they evolved over the years into more of a college rock sound. They were one of the first underground punk groups to make the “major-label” jump, but are still remembered today for the classic double album, “Zen Arcade”, on SST records. Mould went on to do some solo records, had a decent alternative band called Sugar for three years in the early ’90s and then went back to solo work until now. I knew the book was in trouble when Hüsker Dü was finished and over with by page 160. “Zen Arcade” barely rates a chapter. To quote Mould, “‘Zen Arcade’ means a whole lot more to others than it does to me. I began to outgrow and move beyond those feelings almost at the moment I documented them.” The next 220 pages deal with Mould’s relationships and becoming more comfortable in the gay community. I hate to criticize the book because Mould is a great musician, and was definitely an inspiring musical force to rock bands from Nirvana onwards, and I also don’t want to sound homophobic. The book really shines in the first couple hundred pages, where he writes about his interactions with legends like Black Flag, the Minutemen, Bad Brains and Minor Threat, and even before that, learning how to play guitar and the band’s first show. I wish there was more of that — unfortunately, that was the last thing he wanted to write about, and hurried through it in order to get to his liberating dance parties and accepting his sexual orientation in bathrooms and “bear” clubs all over the country. Mould says that he’s always wanted people to care more about his art than his sexual orientation, and we do. More than he does, I suspect. Buy the book with caution at Backlist Books ($20 in hardcover), but buy Hüsker Dü vinyl with wild abandon — “Zen Arcade” and a couple others are usually in stock. If you can find it, Mould did a solo album called “Black Sheets of Rain” in 1990 that sounds like REM mixed with Alice In Chains, and is quite extraordinary. And even if you skip the vinyl, stop by the store and tell me your first punk-rock show story. I’d love to hear it.