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GRANT HART,
1961-2017

Hüsker Dü’s Grant Hart, the drummer who shared singing and songwriting duties with Bob Mould in the influential Minneapolis trio, has died. He was 56.

Hart, who never left the Twin Cities and was an icon in the area’s indie rock scene, had been battling terminal kidney cancer in recent months. He died either Wednesday night or early this morning.

An influence on the edgy, melodic rock bands of the late ‘80s and ‘90s, Nirvana, Green Day and The Pixies among them, Hart, Mould and bassist Greg Norton formed Husker Du in 1978.

Initially, their style was the original fast and furious—hardcore punk— but they evolved quickly as songwriters, instrumentalists and singers; Mould was the baritone, Hart sang in the higher registers.

Two year after signing with the SST label, they released their landmark double album Zen Arcade in 1984. The two follow-up releases, New Day Rising and Flip Your Wig—both released in 1985—saw them further develop melodic hooks within a noisy and intense framework. With Hüsker Dü and The Replacements leading the way, Minneapolis became an epicenter for indie rock at that point.

The group signed with Warner Bros. and released two albums, Candy Apple Grey and Warehouse: Songs and Stories, before a bitter breakup in early 1988. Only recently had the trio communicated, largely in conjunction with the Numero Group’s released of the boxed set Savage Young Du.

Hart released five solo albums between 1989 and 2013, the last being The Argument (Domino).

Early today, Mould wrote on Facebook:

“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.”

 

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