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May 11, 2012 10:33 AM   Subscribe

Grant Hart talks to the Village Voice about his new double LP The Argument, recent hardships (losing his home in a fire), and the conditions for a Hüsker Dü reunion.
posted by porn in the woods (46 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
...and here's a Voice interview with Bob Mould from Nov. 2011.
posted by porn in the woods at 10:40 AM on May 11, 2012


Apparently Hart was arrested in Croatia last year for what this blogger says were "reasons too ridiculous to write about (but which could be described with the term "bureaucratic over-eagerness and stupidity")". I imagine there's an interesting story there, somewhere. Too bad (or thank the gods) that TMZ doesn't relentlessly stalk former members of Husker Du.
posted by item at 10:48 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


no mention of heroin.
posted by philip-random at 10:50 AM on May 11, 2012


Grant Hart wrote all my favorite Husker Du songs.
posted by statolith at 10:54 AM on May 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Doesn't sound likely from Greg Norton's perspective. (self-link)
posted by me3dia at 10:56 AM on May 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


me3dia, I think I like your Greg Norton interview better than the FPP (mostly since post-Huskers Grant Hart just always bums me out).

Stupid, fun easter egg from the Norton interview: in the bottom picture, Norton's wearing a t-shirt from a bar right by my house, which is stupidly exciting to me.
posted by COBRA! at 11:03 AM on May 11, 2012


Grant Hart sure can meander his way to non-answers. Yowza. Can you imagine those two in the studio together again? I think they enjoy sniping at each other from afar than they ever did being in Hüsker Dü.
posted by basicchannel at 11:03 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah, Greg Norton comes out looking like a saint here.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:07 AM on May 11, 2012


I love Husker Du, love em, but even though I have never seen them live, I kind of hope they don't reunite. I can't quite articulate why. I feel the same way about Uncle Tupelo. Don't get me wrong, I would be first in line to get tickets, but if they never do it I would be just fine with that.
posted by holdkris99 at 11:10 AM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Grant Hart sort of bums me out. I'm also in the camp that says he wrote most of my favorite Hüsker Dü songs, and when he came out of the post-Hüsker gate with "2541" I was pretty confidant that he had a phenomenal career ahead of him. But he never really hit the mark again. He's had moments of inspiration in the next 20 years, but they were few and far between.

Sadly, I'm no longer willing to devote the time in his records to find those inspired moments. He just doesn't seem to try very hard. I never thought there would be a day that a new Grant Hart wasn't an "immediate buy on streetdate" for me, but unless I hear good reasons otherwise, I'll be sitting this one out.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:21 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the saddest rock show I've ever seen was Grant Hart opening for somebody at First Ave, playing by himself with an electric guitar. Which is a very tough thing to do (ironically, one of the few people I've seen pull it off is Bob Mould). He just kind of stood there and played pathetically slowed-down Hüsker Dü songs and, well, "Don't Want to Know if You Are Lonely" just doesn't work as a dirge.
posted by COBRA! at 11:25 AM on May 11, 2012


Naming an album is really difficult. Almost as difficult as naming a band. But even so, why would he give his album the same name as the most recent Fugazi album?
posted by The World Famous at 11:33 AM on May 11, 2012


OK, setting that question aside, this is a great interview, and Grant Hart is awesome.
posted by The World Famous at 11:38 AM on May 11, 2012


Naming an album is really difficult. Almost as difficult as naming a band. But even so, why would he give his album the same name as the most recent Fugazi album?

I thought the same thing. I mean there is a 0% chance that he wasn't aware of it right? Maybe he thought enough time had passed? Maybe he's making some kind of ironic statement? Don't know what that might be. Maybe some kind of inside joke in the vein of The Replacements Let It be? Maybe paying homage? but that doesn't sound like something Grant Hart would do. It's confusing to say the least. Not as confusing as Garth Brooks naming an album Scarecrow, but still.
posted by holdkris99 at 11:42 AM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to remember the last time I heard someone other than Bob Mould say something positive about Bob Mould.
posted by oh pollo! at 12:00 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to remember the last time I heard someone other than Bob Mould say something positive about Bob Mould.

A friend of mine stayed at his house in Austin for a week way back in the '90s and said he was a nice guy. But yeah, that was the last time.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:04 PM on May 11, 2012


Interesting interview, but I'm still very much on Team Bob. Yes, Grant, Bob was a controlling and domineering asshole who rode roughshod over everybody. He also wrangled that sweet-ass Warner Bros deal while you had a needle in your arm. He then went out and founded a SECOND great rock band, while you had a needle in your arm. He's moved on, you're still kinda stuck. Face it, Grant: the fact is that you need Bob WAY more than Bob needs you. And no one really cares about Greg. David Barbe could sit in on bass, that's be fine. Don't paint this as "Bob's a resentful asshole and Greg's lost his chops" when the reality is that you've been so fucked up for so fucking long that NO ONE TRUSTS YOU ANY MORE, GRANT. That said, I hope your new album is amazing and transporting and makes me eat my words.

Hüsker Dü were an integral part of my life for decades, and I can still pull joy from the deep, dark wells of their best albums. And Grant was half of that. I hope he's clean. I hope his new album is great.

I'd go see a Hüsker Dü reunion show in a heartbeat. I'd pay crazy stupid mid-life crisis money for it, too.

But I doubt that'll ever happen.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:13 PM on May 11, 2012 [11 favorites]


Well, my wife, whom I love dearly, told me not too long ago that Bob Mould was hot. Does that count?
posted by holdkris99 at 12:13 PM on May 11, 2012


And no one really cares about Greg

Hey - I care about Greg.
posted by oh pollo! at 12:17 PM on May 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm trying to remember the last time I heard someone other than Bob Mould say something positive about Bob Mould.
posted by oh pollo!


I got to interview him 5 or 6 years ago, and he was very nice, cooperative, and informative. I totally don't discount all of the negative accounts coming from other people, but he was pretty cool to me.
posted by COBRA! at 12:19 PM on May 11, 2012


I rented a video to Bob Mould in 1996 or so. He was a very polite customer.
posted by item at 12:32 PM on May 11, 2012


Hey - I care about Greg.

Yeah, that wasn't very well-said, I guess. What I should have said was that most fans would call it a "Hüsker Dü reunion" if Bob and Grant performed those songs with ANYONE playing bass, cuz, well, they wrote 'em. So not that Greg is disposable, but that he is replaceable.

(This thread has me in headphones, listening to the Hüskers cover of "Eight Miles High" and goddamn if that still doesn't sound like the finest thing ever.)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:39 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


(And I gotta give Greg his props. Because, um, a friend of mine, yeah, who used to crank "Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill" while playing air guitar was damn sure playing that bass line.....)
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:50 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


@COBRA! Thanks. FYI, I'm not the interviewer, just the publisher.

Naming an album is really difficult. Almost as difficult as naming a band. But even so, why would he give his album the same name as the most recent Fugazi album?

Fugazi released The Argument in 2001. I think 11 years is beyond the statute of limitations. But yeah, it's seems unlikely Hart isn't aware of it. Maybe it's an allusion?
posted by me3dia at 12:53 PM on May 11, 2012


Never has Bitter Old Punk been more eponysterical.
posted by Bookhouse at 1:03 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


If they reunited I'd just be suffering his (well-written but awfully sung) songs waiting for the Mould ones anyway.

And I'd still just prefer a proper Sugar reunion at any rate.

And yeah, these dudes will never hang with each other again.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 1:12 PM on May 11, 2012


Do you remember Hüsker Dü?
posted by Bonzai at 1:13 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don't paint this as "Bob's a resentful asshole and Greg's lost his chops" when the reality is that you've been so fucked up for so fucking long that NO ONE TRUSTS YOU ANY MORE, GRANT. That said, I hope your new album is amazing and transporting and makes me eat my words.

Yes to all of this. I've unfortunately had to deal with my share of junkies over the years and, if I had to narrow all their bullshit down to one commonality, it would be a genius for self-deception. Which until you (non-junkie involved with said junkie) have been deceived by it a few times, you tend to fall for ... because they're so fucking good at it.

And so much evil flows from it. Fuck heroin and the Jesus like comfort it offers those it enslaves.
posted by philip-random at 1:20 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, Hüsker Dü - Eight Miles High (Pink Pop Festival 87)
posted by philip-random at 1:23 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


In semi-related news. I had Victor Krummenacher on my radio show to a few months back, he told me Camper Van Beethoven are coming out with a new album.

And he said its their best work yet.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 2:10 PM on May 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Grant's "Girl Who Lives On Heaven Hill" is the shouty full-throttle apex of the Hüskers. It completely destroyed my 15-year-old brain back in the day. I sure wish that they ditched the SST in-house producer Spot before they cut New Day Rising, because the self-produced Flip Your Wig is total scorching brilliance.

Least favorite cut: Warehouse's "Turn It Around" - corniest thing ever; a junked-out Gram Smart Grant Hart on backup vocals telling listeners to "turn it around" while Bob's cheesy lyrics hit foul balls all over the place.

At least they wrapped that album (and their career) up with the killer Grant cut "You Can Live at Home"
posted by porn in the woods at 2:15 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, Hüsker Dü - Eight Miles High (Pink Pop Festival 87)
posted by philip-random at 1:23 PM on May 11 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


I was just thinking about how Grant Hart looks like Jon Wurster and then I click on Dave Grohl + Hüsker Dü and there's ol' Jon on drums.
posted by basicchannel at 3:49 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Conditions for a Husker Du reunion, according to my husband: "It all depends on Greg Norton's mustache."
posted by Madamina at 3:55 PM on May 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Not one for reunions myself, but I'd fork over some scratch to see Sugar perform the 30-minute mammoth fuzzball Beaster. Every single track is flawless, especially the 1-2 punch of Judas Cradle" and "JC Auto," which may be the most intense track Bob has ever recording. Best track might just be "Feeling Better," full of sideways pop hooks, and the candyfloss My Bloody Valentine-isms of "Walking Away" (they were on Creation Records in the UK) makes for an amazing closer. 5 STARS!
posted by porn in the woods at 4:39 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was a big Husker Du fan from Everything Falls Apart to the semi-lame finale Warehouse. When I go back and listen to the records now, it really strikes me how most of the high points are Grant Hart's songs.

I've always wondered if the reason Mould was (and is) often such an asshole (in general, but especially regarding Grant Hart), is because he knows in his heart of hearts that his Husker Du songs are inferior to Hart's. Yeah, Mould is the organized, got-it-together, effective self-promoting guy, but I've always thought it must kill him that his songs just aren't as good as Hart's, despite Hart's fucked-up-ness.

Having said that, I think Beaster is truly great - the best thing Mould's ever done - and is certainly better than anything Hart has done post-Husker.
posted by JeffL at 6:48 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I went through a huge, HUGE Bob phase in my adolescence. 'Copper Blue' was the soundtrack to the beginning of the school year after my own personal Big Bad. I always felt really lucky that I got to see Sugar on the 'Beaster' tour.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:57 PM on May 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think you're right, JeffL, but I also think that Mould was the glue that kept shit connected and organized. So there may be a reason for Bob's acting and talking the way he does. Grant may be kinda pissed still, and Bob was certainly a "busy-bossy-bottom", but Bob was really the GUY that made shit happen.

One thing that I'm still not sure about is the SST situation. I was kinda in the scene back then and was at virtually every fucking show and even attended some SST BBQs, but I've always been on the creative side and never learned shit about the business end. Is it true that SST/Greg Ginn pretty much owns everything that came out of SST? I wondered about that for years and I imagine that was at least a part of the problem when Mould cut himself loose from the Huskers.
posted by snsranch at 7:13 PM on May 11, 2012


Husker Du released Zen Arcade, New Day Rising, and Flip Your Wig in the span of roughly 13 months. Too perfect and also, at the same time, too fragile. A wonderful moment like that can't last and in my opinion it's better to leave it alone, it happened and you can't capture it again. The last few notes in Celebrated Summer speak of this perfectly.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 9:39 PM on May 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


So I have listened to a good amount of Husker Du over the years, and in fact ran our indie rock station in college so I am more than familiar with college rock and indie, and I still can't wrap my head around why these guys have such a strong following.

It seems like they are liked - in the same way people like sunny day real estate - simply because they were the loss leader in a narrow definition of a genre.

Can someone explain it to me? And yes I can read the allmusic write up - I'm looking for some gut feeling on this one.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 3:12 AM on May 12, 2012


When Husker Du first HIT (for me, it was Zen Arcade and the 8 Miles High single), they were unlike anything I'd ever heard before. All the ferocity of hardcore but with a psychedelic, melodic, progressive component that opened a big fat door to a realm of new highly charged possibilities. And they weren't just singing anti-Reagan-and-stuff screeds, it was soul music, straight from the heart -- both Hart + Mould. Granted, there were other amazing bands like the Minutemen, NoMeansNo doing their own version of expanding the sound of hard-underground-rock-based-music ... but nobody was doing it as beautifully as Husker Du.

But for me it only lasted for three albums (four chunks of vinyl), like Phlegmco(tm) suggests. Arcade, New Day Rising, Flip Your Wig. By the time Candle Apple Grey came along, it just wasn't sounding that fresh or amazing anymore.
posted by philip-random at 10:38 AM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


All the ferocity of hardcore but with a psychedelic, melodic, progressive component that opened a big fat door to a realm of new highly charged possibilities.

This.

Maybe it's a bit of "had to be there", but for those of us with a bunch of free-floating white-middle-class-suburban angst in the late 80's who thought that "Revolution" and "Helter Skelter" should be considered in the top 10 Beatles songs, it was TOTALLY FUCKING AMAZING that these guys could put out WHOLE COMPLETE ALBUMS LIKE THIS !!!!! (That's my 19-year-old self shouting . . . .)

Hardcore was already getting too shouty & formulaic; The Replacements & Soul Asylum & others like that, while still good, were heading in a classic-rock/Americana direction; "pop punk" was silly and inane and formulaic. Husker Du just hit the sweet spot, sonically merging aggression & melody in a way that was never really replicated until Nirvana - and there's no doubt in my mind Nirvana would have never existed if Du hadn't gotten there first.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:35 AM on May 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also re: someone other than Bob Mould say something positive about Bob Mould.

I've done sound for a few of his solo shows, and it's always been a pleasant experience. He's very easy-going, polite, and professional. If he's got any tendencies towards being a micro-managing control freak I've never seen 'em.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:42 AM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


- and there's no doubt in my mind Nirvana would have never existed if Du hadn't gotten there first.

Exhibit A - Territorial Pissings ... still my fave Nirvana song.
posted by philip-random at 10:13 AM on May 13, 2012


You know, I wish some rich rock star would drive a truck stuffed with money up to Greg Ginn's door, buy the entire SST catalogue, and remaster all those records. Heresy, I know. But I'd sure love to hear New Day Rising without all the murk and incessant cymbal hiss.

As to why people love this band so deeply, philip-random and soundguy99 have said it better than I ever could. Take a song like New Day Rising. That sinuous loop of a riff, Grant's frantic drums, and three words shouted over and over again, like Bob is screaming an incantation. Or a warning. It's a powerful blast of a song, and it distills the uneasiness and ambivalence of that time perfectly.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:16 PM on May 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


Hardcore was already getting too shouty & formulaic; The Replacements & Soul Asylum ... were heading in a classic-rock/Americana direction; "pop punk" was silly and inane and formulaic. Husker Du just hit the sweet spot...

Soundguy99 nailed it. And while Grant's were the songs I put on mix tapes for girls, Bob's were the ones that perplexed and enthralled me.
posted by TonyRobots at 5:05 PM on May 13, 2012


Ya know most of that SST catalog is still highly marketable, not just to elder punkers like myself, but when I turn the neighborhood skater kids on to stuff like Black Flag and the Huskers, the next time I see these kids they're wearing Husker and BF t-shirts (mostly home made BARS.) It kinda pisses me off because I'm not sure who's getting the money. Are SST artists still getting residuals for their music and merch?

I don't know. BUT, back then these guys were doing what they loved to do and perhaps didn't really have their eyes on the pri$e. Besides, it wasn't really cool to come from various underground punk scenes and go mainstream. It made it tough to make serious business decisions. A band could easily lose credibility as punkers and lose their audience. Tough choices.

However, TODAY, I expect that ALL of my Punk Rock Royalty live in spacious homes with servants and be driven around in nothing less than fully restored black '79 Cadillac limos, with hired drivers.

I'm not kidding. Whether it's Grant, Bob, Greg, Kira, Henry, Mike Watt, etc., they all WORKED THEIR ASSES OFF and payed their dues. They all provided us with music that motivated and inspired us...music that is just as relevant and important today as ever. Personally, I believe they've earned a quite a bit more than they have received.
posted by snsranch at 5:31 PM on May 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


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