Husker Du - LogoHusker Du - DU

Husker Du from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, 1983

Formed: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Bob Mould - guitar, vocals
Greg Norton - bass, vocals
Grant Hart - drums, vocals

PART ONE: ADAPTED FROM LINER NOTES TO THE EVERYTHING FALLS APART AND MORE CD:

To say that the musical influence of Husker Dü is pervasive and far-reaching is cliche, but true. Many of today's "alternative" or "indie" bands owe more than a passing debt to this three-piece powerhouse. The essence and foundation of Husker's influence was their relentless do-it-yourself ethic, which began with their foundation of their own Reflex Records in 1980 and continued until their dissolution.

Curiously, Husker Dü seemingly defined the punk ethos circa 1980-83 without necessarily embracing or endorsing it. While many musical peers and those in the press sported political slogans as communication, Husker power-communicated below the surface - their songs asked real questions, explored true feelings.

In the bands formative years, they were an almost angelic, polite, and- dare I say? - "proper" pop unit. God, the first time I saw them, Bob Mould was wearing a tie. That musical journey began in the dimly lit confines of J.'s Longhorn Bar in late 1979. The Longhorn was a daytime steakhouse, serving up local punk and new wave in the evenings. On the advice of Chris Osgood (a local legend himself as a founding member of punk pioneers - The Suicide Commandos), I had come to see this relatively new band with the funny Scandinavian name. Osgood had raved about his rising guitar student, Bob Mould.

As I rounded the corner into the music room and saw them for the first time, they were bashing out a Johnny Thunders cover. The originals that followed, delivered with authority and conviction, simply blew me away. From that moment on, I was hooked. Pulse racing, I moved in closer. I noticed that they didn't talk much. They played a tune, thanked the audience, and moved right on - a tradition they would take to ridiculous extreme on the live album Land Speed Record. A "mere" three-member group, there was nothing and no one for them to hide behind as they bared their thoughts and talents.

The long-out-of-print debut single, "Statues/Amusement," was recorded in 1980 and released on Reflex Records in January 1981. In contrast to the hard-core element that was to emerge later, these two songs showcased the band's talents amid slower tempos and more understandable lyrics. A remix of Grant Harts "Statues"" debuts here, clocking in at an amazing 8:42. The original release was edited to conform to the running time restrictions of the 7" format. Also making its debut is Greg Norton's "Lets Go Die," a previously unreleased studio recording from the statues session. A live version appeared on Land Speed Record.

The year 1981 provided another milestone, the bands now-historic "Children's Crusade Tour," which brought them to the attention of The Minutemen's New Alliance Records, SST Records, and, ultimately, the rest of the world. The much-sought-after In A Free Land single, released on New Alliance in 1982, is interesting for its shift to hard-core and the fact that it contains two of the few overtly "political" songs the band ever released: the title track and "M.I.C." (military industrial complex).

Husker Dü - Flyer 1982Husker Dü Flyer 1983Husker Dü - Flyer 1982

Everything Falls Apart proved that a punk record could be pretty and powerful all at once. In addition to standouts like the title track, 'Target', and 'Wheels', check out the lesser-known 'Gravity,' and you'll know what I mean.

The Mould-Hart songwriting axis and Greg Norton's propelling bass may have provided Husker Dü with a more melodic, hook-laden sound than most of their punk or hard-core brethren, but lurking beneath those hooks was a sense of insecurity, desperation, even finality. Husker Dü took pop despair to new heights. It's been 10 years and more since these tracks were recorded, and they still raise the hair on the back of my neck.

Without demeaning their efforts since, Everything Falls Apart is the way Husker Dü were and never would be again. The power, excitement, and integrity of these songs remain undiminished. If only punk rock could be this god again. Everything Falls Apart And More perfectly and comprehensively captures the band's formative years and clearly hints at greater things to come. Even now, the power and diversity of these songs rival anything from today's alternative camp.

PART TWO:

In 1983, Husker Dü became one of hardcore/alternative bands which - like the Minutemen, R.E.M., the Meat Puppets, and the Replacements - carved out a niche on college radio stations, as they made a move away from pure thrash with the critically acclaimed Metal Circus EP, released on 12" not only in the US, but the UK too. New, more intelligent songs such as 'It's Not Funny Anymore' and 'Diane' (both written and sung by Hart) allowed them to play muscular punk rock at a more normal pace, demonstrating how melodic they were. Other songs, like 'Deadly Skies' and 'Real World' (two Mould compositions), harked back to the furious political shenanigans of 'In A Free Land'.

Husker Du from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, 1983 - Zen Arcade Publicity Shot

Husker Dü continued to get better and better. Their 1984 release, Zen Arcade, was their first LP for SST Records. A double set concept album about a boy who moves to the big city and gets fucked up on drugs, Zen Arcade was recorded in 45 hours had it all: completely insane punk blasts, psychedelic pop, backwards effects, the odd acoustic ditty, and the best fourteen-minute instrumental ever recorded. At the end of that year, the band released a scorchingly hot Byrds cover, Eight Miles High, as a stand alone single.

Husker Du from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, 1983 - Flip Your Wig Publicity Shot

The blinding pace of recording and touring continued through 1984 and 1985, but problems were setting in. Rumour had it that Mould and Hart had alcohol and drug issues and weren't getting on. But in 1985, the group released two albums, New Day Rising was soon followed by Flip Your Wig which both received glowing reviews from critics and fans, and are often considered to be their finest efforts.

 Husker Dü - Gig Flyer with The FeeliesHusker Dü - FlyerHusker Dü - In The East 1983

Hüsker Dü - 1985 - Group Photo

Husker Du from Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, 1983

After this success, Husker Dü signed with Warner Brothers and in 1986 released Candy Apple Grey, which spawned a couple of explosive singles, Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely, a Bob Mould rocker that could have been on Flip Your Wig, and Sorry Somehow , a Hart composition that featured a very nice organ and some delightfully tortured vocals. The album itself also featured two astonishing ballads, the best of which was the heart-breaking miserablist epic 'Hardly Getting Over It'.

Hüsker Dü - Publicity Photo Group 1987

Tension in the band, however, remained high, and another double album - 1987's Warehouse: Songs and Stories - turned out to be their last. Their manager David Savor committed suicide just before a major US tour. Mould took over his role, and this did not help. Nor did Norton's getting married. Nor did Hart continuing with his regime of heavy drug and alcohol use while Mould stayed sober. Things in fact got worse. In 1987, Hart was either sacked or quit (depending on where you read about it), and the band broke up.

Hüsker Dü - The Living End Group Photo

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles / Albums

Husker Du - Statues Husker Du - Land Speed Record Husker Du - In A Free Land Husker Du - Everything Falls Apart Husker Du - Metal Circus
Statues
(7", 1981)
Land Speed Record
(LP, 1982)
In A Free Land
(7", 1982)
Everything Falls Apart
(LP, 1983)
Metal Circus
(12", 1983)
Husker Du - Eight Miles High Husker Du - Zen Arcade Husker Du - New Day Rising Husker Du - Makes No Sense At All Husker Du - Flip Your Wig
Eight Miles High
(7", 1984)
Zen Arcade
(2xLP, 1984)
New Day Rising
(LP/CD, 1985)
Makes No Sense At All
(7", 1985)
Flip Your Wig
(LP/CD, 1985)
Husker Du - Sorry Soemhow Husker Du - Candy Apple Grey Husker Du - Dont Want To Know Husker Du - Warehouse: Songs And Stories Husker Du - Could You Be The One?
Sorry Somehow (2x7"/12", 1986)
Candy Apple Grey (LP/CD, 1986) Don't Want To
Know If You Are Lonely

(7"/12", 1986)
Warehouse: Songs and Stories
(2xLP/CD, 1987)
Could You Be The One?
(7"/12", 1987)
Husker Du - Ice Cold Ice        
Ice Cold Ice
(7"/12", 1987)
       

Extraneous Releases

Hüsker Dü - Eight Miles High / Makes No Sense At All Hüsker Dü - Everything Falls Apart And More Husker Du - The Living End Ramones / Hüsker Dü - Sheena Is A Punk Rocker (Live)  
Eight Miles High / Makes No Sense At All
(10"/CDS, 1990)
Everything Falls Apart And More
(CD, 1993)
The Living End
(CD, 1994)
Sheena Is A Punk Rocker (Live)
(7", split with Ramones, 2015)
 

Promos

       
Husker Dü - The Warehouse Interview Husker Dü - Do You Remember?    
The Warehouse Interview
(2xLP, promo, 1987)
Do You Remember?
(CD, promo, 1994)
     

Bootlegs

Husker Du - The Early Years Husker Du - Makes No Sense At All Husker Du - Lynndale's Burning Husker Du - Books About UFOs Husker Du - Pogo Of The Halfdead
The Early Years
(7", 1985)
Makes No Sense At All
(LP, 1985)
Lynndale's Burning
(LP, 1986)
Books About UFO's
(LP, 1986)
Pogo Of The Halfdead (LP, 1988)
Husker Du - Drug Party Husker Du - Live At The 1st Avenue Club, Minneapolis, 1985 Husker Du - Minneapolis Is Burning Husker Du - Live In Boston 1986 Husker Du - Psyche Power Pop A Punk
Drug Party
(7", 1990)
Live At The 1st Avenue Club, Minneapolis, 1985 (LP, 1992) Minneapolis Is Burning
(CD, 1992)
Live in Boston 1986
(CD, 1993)
PsychePowerPopAPunk (CD, 1993)
Husker Du - Live On The Joan Rivers Show Husker Du - Now And Zen Husker Du - Supernova Husker Dü - Up In The Air: Studio Outtakes Husker Dü - Boston 1986
Live On The Joan Rivers Show 1987 (7", 1993) Now And Zen
(CD, 1994)
Supernova
(CD, 1994)
Up In The Air: Studio Outtakes (CD, 1996)

Boston 1986
(CD, 1997)

Hüsker Dü - Ultracore Husker Dü - Do You Remember? The Early Years 1980-1982 Husker Du - Spin Radio Show Husker Du - Every Everything Husker Dü - Early Demos
Ultracore
(LP, 1997)
Do You Remember? The Early Years 1980-1982
(LP, 2002)

Spin Radio Show
(LP, 2000)

Every Everything
(CDR, 2004)
Early Demos
(12", 2005)
Hüsker Dü - Spot's Arcade Husker Dü - The Truth Hurts: Early Demos And Recordings 1979-1980      
Spot's Arcade
(LP, 2010)
The Truth Hurts: Early Demos And Recordings 1979-1980
(LP, 2010)

 

   

Various Artists

Charred Remains US Tape 1981 (Noise Records): Bricklayer

Barefoot & Pregnant US Tape 1982 (Reflex): Target / Signals From Above / Let's Lie

Kitten Kompilation US Tape 1982 (Reflex): It's Not Fair (Live)

Underground Hits 2 Germany LP 1983 (Aggressive Rockproduktionen): Deadly Skies / Lifeline

The Blasting Concept US LP 1983 (SST): Real World

Code Blue US Tape 1984 (Last Rites): In A Free Land / Target / It's Not Funny Any More

Tellus #10: All Guitars US Tape 1984 (Tellus): Bob Mould Soundcheck

Bang Zoom #6 US Tape 1984 (Bang Zoom): Out On A Limb (Live)

A Diamond Hidden In The Mouth Of A Corpse US LP 1985 (Giorno Poetry Systems): Won't Change

NME'S Big Four UK 7" 1986 (NME): Ticket To Ride

The Blasting Concept Volume II US LP 1986 (SST): Erase Today

The 7 Inch Wonders Of The World US Tape 1986 (SST): Eight Miles High / Masochism World Makes No Sense At All / Love Is All Around

Smack My Crack UK LP 1987 (Giorno Poetry Systems): Won't Change

Duck And Cover US LP/CD 1990 (SST): Eight Miles High

Links

HÜSKER DÜ DATABASE - Excellent mine of info (and where I grabbed the publicity shots and flyers from)

MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY - Dü collection

GRANT HART - Official site

BOB MOULD - Official site

THE NORTON'S - Eat at Greg Norton's restaurant!

WIKIPEDIA - Bandpage

FLEX! HARDCORE - Lots of reviews etc

KILL FROM THE HEART - Great bandpage

MARK PRINDLE - Reviews and abuse

GUY PETERS - More reviews

LEFT OF THE DIAL - Bandpage

MYSPACE - Bandpage


 

You can add stuff and make comments/corrections by emailing me at:

jane@punkygibbon.co.uk

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