Grant Hart, co-founder, songwriter and drummer for legendary Hüsker Dü, 1961-2017

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.

Mould writes:

“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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9 Comments

  • El Arreglardo

    Excellent selections Matt. The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill still sounds great.

     
  • Tim Barlow

    My God, that’s a shock. Well to me, not to Bob. To draw a crude analogy, Grant was the McCartney to Bob’s Lennon and taught the (US) punks to appreciate melody as well as speed, attitude & fury.
    I saw them a few times, I’m glad to say (Liverpool Univ in was it ’84? was a blast) and harboured selfish hopes of a reunion which will now not happen.
    And maybe that’s for the best.
    Rest In Peace, Grant X

     
  • Murray

    “Terms of Psychic Warfare” and “Books About UFOs” off New Day Rising are two of my favorite songs of all time! RIP

     
  • Linda

    Gutted…I lived in Minneapolis in the 80’s and Husker Du revolved around everything then. They are such a part of my memories of that perfect time and place to be. Influencers of the whole scene up there. RIP Grant…

     
  • Michael Hash

    Very sad news.

     
  • jim vandegrift

    Thanks for the tunes and the memories. r.i.p.

     
  • Michael Toland

    I may be a bit too hero-worshipful of Bob, but Grant was my entrance to Husker Du. His songs on Warehouse: Songs and Stories are melodic and accessible without stinting on the band’s power, and those are what originally hooked me on to the Du. His solo albums were distinctive, sounding like no one but himself. And he has always been one of my all-time favorite singers. I’m sorry he’s gone. May he rest in peace.

     
  • Scott Stalcup

    That Grant will “Never Be Talking to You Again” is a situation where every Husker Du fan will be “Hardly Getting Over It.”

    The box set is a fitting epitaph, though we all wish it weren’t.

     
  • Douglas McConnell

    Devastating may be a little hyperbolic a sentiment but I was/am extremely saddened by Grant’s death. Hi music has been a large part of my life since my teens and I have only appreciated him more and more as I have grown older. The Argument is a brilliant album and couldn’t wait for his next release. Too soon to loose this brilliant and underrated artist.

     
 

 

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