Grant Hart, the founding drummer who served as co-songwriter/singer for pioneering hardcore-punk trio Hüsker Dü, a band that laced tuneful melody with blistering power to help define the ’80s indie scene, died overnight at the age of 56, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Hart had been diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer in recent months, according to Chris Riemenschneider, the newspaper’s longtime music critic.
Bob Mould, Hart’s songwriting partner and co-leader of Hüsker Dü, acknowledged his former musical partner’s death in a Facebook post early this morning. The two met in 1978, formed Hüsker Dü with bassist Greg Norton, and worked together for a decade before a bitter falling out.
“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.”
Hüsker Dü, fueled by Hart’s and Mould’s contrasting songwriting and vocal styles, evolved from pure hardcore to more melodic hard rock, releasing six studio albums — including classics such as 1984’s Zen Arcade and 1985’s New Day Rising — and becoming one of the first bands from that underground scene to sign to a major label, paving the way for so many acts, from R.E.M. to Sonic Youth to the Pixies to Nirvana.
After the group’s famously bitter split, Hart released a solo EP and album, then formed the band Nova Mob, and worked with that group during the early to mid ’90s. Most recently, Hart released The Argument, an album based on John Milton’s epic “Paradise Lost,” in 2013.
Hart’s post-Dü career was not as prolific or high-profile as Mould’s, but the two stayed in touch, according to Mould, and recently had come together to approve a large reissue project with the Numero Group, the first fruits of which will see light this fall.
“We (almost) always agreed on how to present our collective work to the world,” Mould writes of Hart. “When we fought about the details, it was because we both cared. The band was our life.”
Below, read Mould’s full statement, and listen to some of Hart’s music.
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