Reissue specialists Numero Group can’t stop teasing ‘massive’ Hüsker Dü mystery project

The Hüsker Dü catalog famously has been in dire need of a sonic upgrade and expansion, and it seems, at long last, that it’s happening, courtesy of the Chicago-based reissue pros at the Numero Group, who are assembling something “massive” around the band’s archives.

But what, exactly, Numero’s Hüsker Dü project will look like remains a mystery, despite a steady stream of hints (see bottom of post) from the label via its Instagram account and other social media channels.

The label, which reissued the band’s debut single “Statues” in 2013, has at least twice described its Hüsker Dü undertaking as “massive” on social media. And Chunklet’s Henry Owings, who has been dropping his own hints about his involvement with Numero’s Dü project, refers to what he’s working on as a box set.

Numero’s most recent tease: A photo shared on Friday that mimics the cover of the band’s 1983 Metal Circus EP, but with some very notable changes. It’s presented in color instead of black and white. It shows the desk on the right side, instead of left side, of the frame. It features letters on the inside of the window, to be read from the inside, instead of on the outside, to be read from the outdoors. And it says “Extra Circus” — as if it were perhaps the cover of a bonus disc in a box set.

(Incidentally, the Numero Group blogged about the Metal Circus cover art back in 2013. In a weird bit of Minneapolis music-scene synchronicity, the office featured in the EP’s sleeve photo belonged to the father of Dez Dickerson, guitarist for Prince and the Revolution.)

Numero began dropping its Hüsker Dü hints back in September, tweeting an image that appears to be the band’s early demo tape with the caption: “Seven years in the making. It begins.” Fans have interpreted that to perhaps be a reference to the time it took to finally secure access to the band’s SST Records catalog.

A few days later, Numero shared a photo of what appears to be a box housing master tapes for the Hüskers’ third album, 1985’s New Day Rising — further fuleing the speculation that, at long last, a deal had been made with SST to reissue the band’s output on that label.

Yet two days after that photo appeared, the Los Angeles Times published an interview with Bob Mould, who discussed efforts to re-release his old band’s music. While acknowleding “positive movement in the Minnesota camp” — referring to ex-bandmates Grant Hart and Greg Norton — he hinted at continued difficulties with SST, noting that the band’s landmark 1984 album Zen Arcade isn’t due for a reissue.

“That’s not one of the assets” that might be released, Mould told the newspaper. “It’s a blunt answer because I can’t make it happen single-handedly.”

Since then, Numero has continued to tease Hüsker Dü fans, sharing photos of stacks of the live tapes it has acquired, plus old photos of the band in concert, pictures of laminates, images of record sleeves and an old flyer for a show at which Soundgarden opened for Hüsker Dü (posted the day Chris Cornell died).

The label even posted — but then deleted — what appeared to be the signiature page on its contract with Hüsker Dü, signed by Mould, Hart and Norton individually last August.

What’s this all add up to? A huge box set? A series of album-by-album, or era-by-era, box sets? We’ll see.

Below, we’ve assembled the Numero Group’s Hüsker Dü-related Instagram posts, from the most recent — just last week — to that original demo tape posted back in September.

 

Presented without comment.

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

Just another day in the office.

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

 

Saturday, Hüsker Dü style.

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

The laminate archive grows by four. #savageyoungdu

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

Another beautiful morning in Minnesota.

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

Husker Du, as seen by Lori Barbero.

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

We’re swimming in Du tapes. Can’t wait to announce this massive project.

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

 

A bevy of Husker riches rolling on the deck today.

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

Endless Husker tapes.

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

The Du tapes keep coming.

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

 

Du Day Rising.

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

Two more from our massive new archive of HD cassettes and reels.

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

Scratching the surface.

A post shared by Numero Group (@thenumerogroup) on

 

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15 Comments

  • Whoopie

    Never did get what people see in this band.

     
  • Morris Minor

    The greatest band in the world. I will probably cry when all this comes out.

     
    • Likewise. My first reaction was, “What could it possibly be?” Followed shortly thereafter by, “How could they improve upon ‘Warehouse’? It’s a perfect record.”

       
  • Jonathan Haynes

    I recall doing a trade with a fellow in Finland a couple decades ago. He had a list of Hüsker material that was staggering. It had to have been from inside the band’s circle. I’m guessing this is the same stuff. I asked Greg Norton about the tapes at a Land Speed Record panel discussion at the 7th Street Entry last year, and he claimed to never have heard of this trove. Certainly a massive bunch of stuff we’d all love to hear.

     
  • Michael Toland

    As much as I would love for this to be a box set of remastered studio albums, it seems to me that all of these photos point to a box set of live material. Which would definitely be a very cool thing, especially for those of us who never got to see the band play. (The Warner Bros. live record is good, but unsatisfying, somehow.)

    SST has let a lot of catalog stuff go over the past few years (Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr.), but I suspect they’ll hold on to the Du catalog like a drowning man does a life preserver. It probably outsells everything else on the label (except for maybe Black Flag) by a wide margin. I doubt the Numero Group has the pockets deep enough to make it worth SST’s while to let it go.

     
  • LowestFidelity

    I am sure their pressings will be a disastrous, unlistenable failure. The Bedhead box set from Numero was the single worst pressing of LPs I have seen: warped, insanely off center, rough lead-ins. Oh, and this was *after* the 3rd time they replaced the LPs!

    I would looooove to have Husker Du’s music on vinyl, but I will never buy a record from Numero again.

     
  • Eric axtion

    On the Numero poster they had t record store day it already listed it as a 4lp box set. I m on vacation but my be someone else can post it. They include the poster with the checklist in new orders.

     
  • Scott Stalcup

    Flings contents of wallet at the screen, thinking it will expedite the release of this material.

    Please, a live version of “Never Talking to You Again” that doesn’t sound like it was recorded down someone’s overcoat and slightly brighter “Ticket to Ride” beyond the flexi-to-MP3 transfer I have.

     
  • I am hearing from a reputable source that it will be 5 box sets, with pre-orders for the first 2 sets starting up in August.

     
  • Scott R Stalcup

    30 years gone and I’m hardly getting over it.

     
  • Paul D

    There is nothing wrong with the original Husker Du albums on cd format unless you don’t like the way the albums sounded in the first place. In other words the transfers were of the truthful flat faultless variety. I would be the first to agree such distorted rock music sounds much better on vinyl format but that is to do with the sound characteristics of vinyl itself. Sure, maybe you will prefer more warmed versions of these “remasters” (providing they don’t cock it up) but the old cd’s are perfect transfers and the husker du back catalog has not been “in desperate need of an upgrade for so long” as all these articles about the re-issues are all claiming. Sorry, I hope they sell well n’all (Husker Du were a great band at least up till the Warner transfer point where I lost interest personally). If something isn’t broken don’t try to fix it as the old expression goes and I for one applaud SST for keeping standard issues of all their stuff in print for so long. The trouble is that remasters are so popular nowadays despite the fact that far more often than not they are worse than the original. If something was taken competently first time around, that’s usually as good as it gets, at least for old albums that were recorded on analog master tape because if you go back to the tape now it’s in far worse shape than when the original digital transfer was made due the mere passing of time itself. That’s why nearly all remasters “from the original tapes” (as the blurb so often goes) are of course actually remasters of the original cd (or digital master) of the original tape (so technically no lie is told). Bonus tracks (some like them, I don’t like them on the same disc as the album and more often than not they are unreleased cause they aren’t very good) and extended liner notes or photos etc are a totally different matter of course. I understand why some collectors get excited about remasters for these reasons but in terms of sound, not all of course, but the vast majority of remasters are just not an improvement over the original cd. A lot of people think they are though. It’s been proved that louder volume itself momentarily registers as better to the human ear if you play two tracks side by side at different default volume. The more remasters people continue to buy the more louder at default files they have in their device (with modern cd’s and remasters almost always being louder at default than older cd versions). The older cd files tend to start to annoy you in playlists as they sound feeble and require you to jump the volume. Or you could look at it the other way around and consider the new (usually unnecessarily) loud files of newer versions of albums to be the annoyance. I have bought many remasters up till several years ago. Almost always the old cd is better sounding. It got to the point where it was clearly just a huge waste of money. Only when I know an album from vinyl and it sounds particularly suspect/bad on the older cd will I consider looking at subsequent re-issues or import editions (for example many Japanese early cd’s used totally different far better digital masters than standard old us/uk edition cds). There are of course plenty of genuinely bad old cd releases that used substandard 2nd, 3rd generation etc master tapes but it does pains me when people drum up a storm for remasters on albums that were transferred to digital perfectly first time around. If you want it to sound different, perhaps warmer (though you’ll likely always loose other frequencies when changing sound) why just play with such a perfectly transferred digital master within a mastering program? You can then always revert to the perfectly transferred original if you think you did a bad job and want to try again.

     
 

 

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