Thursday, January 11, 2018


I hate singers who spend most of their songs whisper-singing. They either have a crap voice, haven’t figured out who they are or have nothing at all to say. These days? Cigarettes and Sex is a culprit. I don’t know where this trend came from and I’m sure it’s defended as a means of making the vocals just another instrument. Yuck.

Grant Hart hurled his heart into the untrammeled blaze of Husker Du’s music. Whereas band mate Bob Mould sang like a pissed off, hung over prisoner smashing his coffee cup against the bars, Grant Hart was a dude in a straight jacket in a white room desperate to be heard. He was raw, melodic and heart breaking. Vulnerability slammed around the walls of just about every song Hart sang. Check out “The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill”, “Keep Hanging on”, “Don’t Want To Know If You’re Lonely” or “The Last Days of Pompeii” from his work with Nova Mob.

Hart met Bob Mould while working at Cheapo Records in St. Paul, about 15 years before I moved to the Twin Cities. (Yeah, a great band was formed by guys hanging out and working at a record store. That won’t happen again, will it?) I usually arrive late on the scene. I was in my early teens and too young and scared to drive when Big Black and Naked Raygun were regular playing in Milwaukee. I have a friend who saw Husker Du twice though and she said that sonically it felt like she was in a crappy, open-top car with her hair blowing back and her heart splitting thanks to the band's sheer volume and thanks to their unapologetic vulnerability driving every song.

I treasure vulnerability. Part of adulthood is learning how to hide your weaknesses or worse, how to pick up and store away others’ dirty mistakes when they make the mistake of opening up to you. The urgency of Grant Hart and Husker Du is still there when I listen. He opens up his jacket, points at his heart and lets you take a shot.

The reason for their demise was often attributed to Hart’s abuse of drugs and Mould and Hart's infighting. According to a Rolling Stone article written by Daniel Kreps in September of 2017, Husker Du broke up because Mould told Hart that he would never let a Husker Du record have equal songs Mould and Hart and thus the album Warehouse: Songs and Stories had 11 Mould songs and 9 Hart songs. Yuck number 2.

Husker Du never reunited. Hart died due to liver cancer.

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