Bob Mould’s first solo album, Workbook, appeared in 1989, in an era when few alternative artists could transition to major labels without losing their original gritty appeal. Mould's band Hüsker Dü had done better than most, but then they disbanded. Mould had been the group's chief writer, so his first solo work was taken as a serious sign. Workbook surprised everyone, as an acoustic-based collection that metered out the explosively loud guitars in surprisingly brief doses. Only Mould's abrasive vocal style kept things in check and provided an unusual counterpoint to the accessible “Wishing Well,” “See a Little Light," and “Brasilia Crossed with Trenton.” Pere Ubu’s Anton Fier and Tony Maimone provided drums and bass, respectively, with cellist Jane Scarpantoni (then a member of the obscure Tiny Lights and on the verge of becoming an important influence on ‘90s alternative rock) providing the most majestic moments. The initial 11-track album has been reissued in various editions with bonus tracks. A live version of Richard Thompson’s “Shoot Out the Lights” showed that Mould still had the fire within him.