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September 14, 2017 5:30 AM   Subscribe

Hüsker Dü drummer Grant Hart dead at 56. The McCartney to Bob Mould's Lennon, Hart's drumming and songwriting anchored some of the most influential music of the post-punk/proto indie era, both with seminal hardcore band Hüsker Dü, solo and side projects.
posted by tim_in_oz (86 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
posted by parki at 5:31 AM on September 14

posted by misteraitch at 5:38 AM on September 14

Oh no. Heartbroken in the Twin Cities.
posted by padraigin at 5:41 AM on September 14 [6 favorites]

posted by SageLeVoid at 5:42 AM on September 14

Well, shit. I'd been playing the heck out of Husker Du on my summer radio show (so much good stuff so how could I not?), and it just ended for the season. I'll play something this Saturday on the other radio show I do with Shepherd as tribute.
posted by Kitteh at 5:45 AM on September 14 [5 favorites]

posted by SpannerX at 5:47 AM on September 14


If you are interested in Grant Hart's music outside of Hüsker Dü, I highly recommend his last solo album, The Argument. Very Bowie sounding.
posted by NoMich at 5:52 AM on September 14 [6 favorites]

Big windows to let in the sun

"2541" has been on my mind a lot since I saw Marshall Crenshaw cover it. He loves that song, and so do I.
posted by thelonius at 5:54 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]

This one hurts.

I got into Husker Du in high school, long after they broke up but right when Sugar were getting popular. I liked Grant's Du songs fine, but never felt compelled to get into his solo work until the documentary Every Everything played at a local film festival. It hit me where I lived for a bunch of reasons outside the scope of this post, and I was so moved by it that I booked a show for Grant in Boston in 2013.

The day Grant agreed to show and we found a venue, I'd been fired from a toxic job. A few days later my great aunt had been admitted to a nursing home. I was devastated, but Grant had booked his airline ticket and I put a deposit down on the room, so I had to move ahead with the show. Suffice to say that I was not in the right frame of mind to put together a show; I was flaky, and Grant was rightly frustrated with my inability to focus or be organized. (He also laid waste to my favorite coffee mug.) After the show I'd apologized for my personal issues, and we exchanged a few emails when he was starting to work on the unabomber album he was working on at the time of his death. The whole thing felt like a postpunk version of My Favorite Year.

I had an opportunity to see him a few months ago, but after being in close contact with some of his fanbase I turned down the ticket. I didn't want it to be weird, and I didn't want to see him until I had my life back together. I guess I'll never have the chance to make it up to him.

RIP, sir. Thanks for inspiring me and many others. See you down the line.

posted by pxe2000 at 5:58 AM on September 14 [21 favorites]

Holy shit. And this is shortly after Numero Group finally wrested Hüsker Dü's back catalog from Greg Ginn.

Grant's had a rough life, and I hope he finds some peace now.
posted by ardgedee at 5:59 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]

posted by notyou at 6:00 AM on September 14

posted by Barack Spinoza at 6:00 AM on September 14

Ugh, no.

posted by cooker girl at 6:01 AM on September 14

posted by with hidden noise at 6:05 AM on September 14

posted by Thorzdad at 6:06 AM on September 14

(Bleh, I missed the edit window: The Numero Group set only contains Hüsker Dü's pre-SST albums. Oh well.)
posted by ardgedee at 6:07 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]

pxe2000, that coffee cup story went somewhere unexpected and delightful and from everything I know about him, to a very, very Grant place. Thank you for sharing it.
posted by padraigin at 6:07 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]

I hadn't told the coffee cup story for a long time because, well, so many people had colorful Grant stories and I didn't want to seem like I was piling on someone with his background.

The mug is on my desk; I keep pencils in it. For a long time I joked that it was to remind me to never meet my heroes, but now it means something different.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:10 AM on September 14 [4 favorites]

posted by mustard seeds at 6:17 AM on September 14

posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 6:21 AM on September 14

posted by hawthorne at 6:27 AM on September 14

posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 6:29 AM on September 14

Jesus Christ. I just cranked New Day Rising on repeat during a solo road trip to my hometown. I'd never liked "Books About UFOs" as a teenager; this time I sang along.

posted by Beardman at 6:30 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]

posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:35 AM on September 14

If I had a dollar for every time I listened to the crappy copy-of-a-copy tape I had of New Day Rising, I'd be pretty well set for retirement. I'm sorry to read this.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:36 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]

posted by Gelatin at 6:37 AM on September 14

Aww, man.
posted by rodlymight at 6:38 AM on September 14

posted by doctornemo at 6:53 AM on September 14

posted by mcdoublewide at 6:58 AM on September 14

posted by faceplantingcheetah at 6:59 AM on September 14

posted by drezdn at 7:08 AM on September 14

I know they were never getting back together, but I always thought they'd get back together.

posted by whuppy at 7:09 AM on September 14 [9 favorites]

Land Speed Record is one of my favorite albums. Just the pure ferocity of it. And like so much music, attached to a specific time and place, so many years ago.

posted by gwint at 7:12 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]

posted by penduluum at 7:18 AM on September 14

I'm not even sure what to do with this; somehow, I didn't know he was even sick. I live where I live because of Hart (and Mould, and Norton, and Westerberg, Mars, and the Stinsons). The period where I basically came online as a thinking, empathetic adult human lines up almost exactly with when I discovered Husker Du. Having a hard time writing anything that's not just me me me. But: fuck this. Hart was great, and the Huskers were great, and I really do not like this thing of slowly watching all the people I admire die.
posted by the phlegmatic king at 7:30 AM on September 14 [5 favorites]

There are going to be a lot of Grant Hart stories in the Twin Cities in the next few days, because I think literally all of us met him and it was in some way memorable. I wouldn't be surprised if my 80 year old father calls me today and is like, Grant Hart? We used to have coffee together every morning.
posted by maxsparber at 7:30 AM on September 14 [7 favorites]

posted by doctor_negative at 7:32 AM on September 14

posted by skyscraper at 7:45 AM on September 14

I was on the committee that booked him to play at my uni back in ~1990. My experience of him at the time was that he was a quiet but nice man, if having a few internal battles. I hope that subsequent years brought him a measure of peace within. Sounds like they had.

posted by droplet at 7:49 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]

posted by Lyme Drop at 8:15 AM on September 14

posted by languagehat at 8:20 AM on September 14

posted by Cash4Lead at 8:25 AM on September 14

Maybe now reunited with the Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill.
This is a terrible loss.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 8:47 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]

posted by eclectist at 8:49 AM on September 14

posted by neutralmojo at 8:53 AM on September 14


I'm not sure I can express how crucial Dü was to my understanding of what rock & roll could be - having grown up in the classic-rock-radio wastelands of suburban South Florida, hearing them for the first time was like a lightening bolt right to my brain.

I caught them live on the "Warehouse" tour, when they were apparently barely speaking to each other, and it was one of the best shows I've ever seen.

RIP, Grant.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:53 AM on September 14 [6 favorites]

posted by Joey Michaels at 8:55 AM on September 14

Bob Mould:

It was the Fall of 1978. I was attending Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. One block from my dormitory was a tiny store called Cheapo Records. There was a PA system set up near the front door blaring punk rock. I went inside and ended up hanging out with the only person in the shop. His name was Grant Hart.

The next nine years of my life was spent side-by-side with Grant. We made amazing music together. We (almost) always agreed on how to present our collective work to the world. When we fought about the details, it was because we both cared. The band was our life. It was an amazing decade.

We stopped working together in January 1988. We went on to solo careers, fronting our own bands, finding different ways to tell our individual stories. We stayed in contact over the next 29 years — sometimes peaceful, sometimes difficult, sometimes through go-betweens. For better or worse, that’s how it was, and occasionally that’s what it is when two people care deeply about everything they built together.

The tragic news of Grant’s passing was not unexpected to me. My deepest condolences and thoughts to Grant’s family, friends, and fans around the world.

Grant Hart was a gifted visual artist, a wonderful story teller, and a frighteningly talented musician. Everyone touched by his spirit will always remember.

Godspeed, Grant. I miss you. Be with the angels.
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:56 AM on September 14 [14 favorites]

posted by scruss at 8:57 AM on September 14

I'm crushed. I woke up with "Books About UFOs" in my head and was blissfully unaware of Mr. Hart's death until I looked at Instagram. Hüsker Dü was such a big part of my world in the 80s. I still love their music and find it comforting. For some reason I never listened to his solo stuff, but I need to now.
posted by smich at 9:03 AM on September 14

Live on KEXP, Hart performing "So Far From Heaven" off 2013's The Argument, the Milton/William Burroughs-inspired album.

A 1985 New Day Rising tour interview in Boston with Bob, Greg, and Grant. Grant: "When I'm jacking off I write sad songs. When I'm getting laid I write happy songs. Sometimes when I have a wet dream I wake up and there's a song ... (laughs) That's a bad joke."

Hüsker Dü, "Hardly Getting Over It."
posted by octobersurprise at 9:08 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]

posted by homunculus at 9:10 AM on September 14

posted by snsranch at 9:32 AM on September 14

posted by cazoo at 9:39 AM on September 14

posted by shackpalace at 9:55 AM on September 14

Angels pacing, gently placing roses 'round your head

posted by fregoli at 10:09 AM on September 14 [2 favorites]

It's a Bob song, but still my reaction is "Makes no sense at all.."
posted by Nerd of the North at 10:24 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]

posted by univac at 10:26 AM on September 14


And thank you, octobersurprise, for the info re: The Argument. I'd not heard about it, and I started Paradise Lost a week ago.
posted by the sobsister at 10:36 AM on September 14 [1 favorite]

Grant Hart taught us to always keep your soul in the noise. The world is an undoubtedly poorer place without him.

Pink Turns To Blue

posted by lumpenprole at 11:33 AM on September 14 [3 favorites]

posted by Kattullus at 11:34 AM on September 14

posted by Sys Rq at 11:50 AM on September 14

posted by limeonaire at 12:43 PM on September 14

"Zen Arcade" was one of the first punk-like records early teenage me was able to find in a mainstream record store. That was back before I realized there were other kinds of record stores, and listening to it was one of the things that led me down the road to finding those, and to a whole lot else. Also a record that got me out of the gate understanding that punk didn't have to sound "punk" or be in any other way a cliche. RIP + thank you, Grant Hart.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:45 PM on September 14 [4 favorites]

Very Bowie sounding.

Wow, go to about the seven minute mark and see if you can tell them apart.

posted by Mr. Yuck at 12:55 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]

This one really hurts, more so than any other death in the firmanent that I can remember.
Husker Du, when I first heard them, had a sense of immediacy and emotional complexity that struck a chord in me that no other band had done up til that point. Some of my favourite music of all time, and it will always be part of my life.

So, Mr Grant Hart, I thank you for putting something into the world that helped my former peripatetic self understand that maybe he wasn't quite alone in feeling the way he felt.

posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 1:40 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]

posted by Gotanda at 3:02 PM on September 14

I grew up in Minnesota but only managed to see Hüsker Dü once, one of their last shows at First Avenue when Warehouse: Songs and Stories came out. I listened to their albums a hell of a lot.

I'd see Grant sometimes hanging out at one of the record stores in Minneapolis, Garage D'or. I moved away in 1992 to San Francisco.

It was quite a while until I saw Grant again. He wasn't touring much, but Doug Hilsinger at the Eagle in SF booked him three times in the 2000s, of which I think I saw two shows - I believe plane-shy Grant took the train out for the shows. He had a printout of his BMI list of repertoire lying on the stage instead of a setlist so he could choose whatever song from it. Hearing him perform old songs took on a new poignancy, particularly a song like "Flexible Flyer" that had seemed so carefree when originally on record, but now the lyrics have taken on a new depth with the passage of years.:

Times, places and situations
Lead us to an early grave
When we get there we see
Just what did we save?
posted by larrybob at 4:00 PM on September 14 [3 favorites]

posted by porn in the woods at 4:04 PM on September 14

posted by evilDoug at 4:11 PM on September 14

By the way, Minnesota radio station The Current posted photos from Grant's last gig in July, with appearances by Greg Norton, Dave Pirner, Lori Barbero, and more.
posted by larrybob at 4:37 PM on September 14 [7 favorites]

posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:38 PM on September 14

posted by jindc at 5:09 PM on September 14

I heard the news this morning on CBC radio while waiting in a ferry lineup. Nice day, warm breeze blowing, so I was out of the car, leaning against the hood. They gave a little bio material, then played a track from his first solo album, which was cool, but maybe halfway through, it started sounding rather odd, in a good way, great orchestrated swells of strings and oboe even. Wow, I thought, I didn't know he'd done stuff like this ... until things started to really unravel, competing time signatures and whatever, and I realized that somebody else had their stereo cranked, playing Ennio Morricone's The Mission Soundtrack, which just happened to be in the same key as the Grant Hart song.

Fitting, I thought, because way back when, 1984 or so, when I first heard Husker Du, it immediately struck me as a music that existed to melt boundaries ... between punk thrash hardcore pop psyche, everything really -- uncontained, aiming beyond the stratosphere and everything else ....

Godspeed ...

posted by philip-random at 5:43 PM on September 14 [2 favorites]

posted by lapolla at 6:27 PM on September 14

posted by equalpants at 6:47 PM on September 14

posted by goshling at 7:31 PM on September 14

I started off as a Bob guy, but finished as a Grant guy.

posted by daveje at 1:40 AM on September 15 [5 favorites]

I had to go to work and couldn't find this earlier and didn't have time. It's not great but it's one of my friends from college up on stage with one of his heroes at a benefit for another really nice guy who died too young. You can tell they like each other.

Well that started because Phil and I took out a couple muggers who were after Grant in DC one night. We didn't know it was him. Would have done that for anybody. I had to go to work but they had breakfast and talked for hours about music and kicking the horse.

Phil wouldn't mind me saying that he was a brilliant and addled 22 year old with a drinking problem and the ghost of heroin. I was a 28 year old ptsd mess of a soldier and we bonded over Husker Du.

I was doing everything I could for the kid but it was that breakfast that broke him free and Grant would call him when he was going to be near. Phil followed me to NC and that might have been one of the very best nights of his life.

Really good person. We miss him hard.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:24 AM on September 15 [2 favorites]

posted by rhizome at 12:07 AM on September 16

posted by hap_hazard at 8:52 PM on September 18

Ahhhh shit. I was just starting to really like the Huskers. (It took me a very long time to settle into them and the Bad Brains.) But Grant Hart's solo albums, for whatever reason, resonated with me when I was 20.

posted by not_on_display at 7:17 PM on September 19

From the Twin Cities Citypages: Remembering Grant Hart
posted by pxe2000 at 8:06 AM on September 20

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