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.
PREVIOUSLY ON SLICING UP EYEBALLS
- ‘120 Minutes’ Rewind: Hüsker Dü gets a ‘120 X-Ray’ post-mortem — 1987
- Hüsker Dü’s ‘The Living End’ live album to receive first-ever vinyl release
- Hüsker Dü’s Grant Hart announces ‘Paradise Lost’-inspired ‘The Argument’ — hear 2 tracks now
- Vintage Video: Hüsker Dü in Indianapolis, 1986 — watch full 52-minute set
- Hüsker Dü, Robyn Hitchcock, Paul Weller, Wire prep vinyl releases for Record Store Day
- Video: Hüsker Dü’s Greg Norton jams with tribute band Hüsker Düdes in Chicago