In the late 70s and early 80s, the frozen tundra of Minneapolis was a hotbed of musical innovation. The Replacements brought the raucous rock, Prince brought the funk, and Hüsker Dü brought the punk.
Now, hot on the heels of the release of a remastered box set of Hüsker Dü’s early recordings comes word that drummer Grant Hart has passed away at the age of 56.
Jon Wurster, the drummer for Superchunk who also mans the drum kit for The Mountain Goats and former Dü member Bob Mould, wrote a great tribute to Grant on Rolling Stone’s website.
And at the center of the sonic hurricane was Grant Hart, arms flailing, feet flying, laying waste to every drum and cymbal in his path.
His drumming alone is enough to secure Grant Hart a place in the alt-rock history books, but that’s only part of his story. Grant was a top-shelf songwriter, penning and handling lead vocals on Hüsker Dü classics like “Terms of Psychic Warfare,” “Diane,” “Green Eyes” and “The Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill.”
And what a voice. His was arguably the best to come out of the post-punk/hardcore/alternative scene: sweet and angelic one minute, menacing the next. Grant also handled much of the band’s visual side, designing Hüsker Dü’s album covers and helping other bands with theirs, most notably the Replacements’ 1983 LP, Hootenanny.
My favorite Grant Hart tune is the lead track off his first post-Dü release, “2541”… and I’m not alone. This Minneapolis writer feels the same way.
R.I.P. Grant, and thanks for the great music.