Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü has died at age 56

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The influential indie rocker was suffering from cancer.

Reports are surfacing that Grant Hart, the drummer and co-songwriter of the enormously influential Hüsker Dü and acclaimed solo artist, has passed away at the age of 56. He had been suffering from cancer.

Hart formed Hüsker Dü alongside frontman Bob Mould and bassist Greg Norton in the late-‘70s and by 1980 they were performing regularly.

"We made amazing music together," Bob Mould said in a statement this evening. "We (almost) always agreed on how to present our collective work to the world. When we fought about the details, it was because we both cared. The band was our life.

"Grant Hart was a gifted visual artist, a wonderful story teller, and a frighteningly talented musician. Everyone touched by his spirit will always remember."

Hüsker Dü fast earned notoriety as one of the fastest punk rock bands in the American Midwest, if not the world. Thus they named their first record – a live album – Land Speed Record.

“For some reason we were labelled 'the fastest band in rock'n'roll' and we thought 'is that all we have to offer people'?” Hart told Double J’s Karen Leng in 2016.

“So, we recorded those songs on a live album, so we could move beyond it, but got a little bit trapped in our success of that first record.”

A box set of the band's earliest recordings, Savage Young Dü, is set to be released in November

By 1984, both Mould and Hart had become outstanding songwriters and had well and truly broken free of any gimmick that may have been associated with the speed in which they played.

That year saw the band release Zen Arcade, an ambitious double album that was deliberately a long way removed from what other bands in the punk scene were doing at the time.

 

“That was one of those 'as far as we can get from punk rock sameness' moves that we did,” Hart said. “It was a double album for crying out loud. Telling a story – I don't want to use the term rock opera – but it's definitely a storytelling song cycle, Which, to my knowledge, hadn't been done by an officially approved punk rock band.

Zen Arcade is in a lot of ways the coming of age story. You have a disaffected young person – not really defined as male or female, but probably a male – that sees a lot of the world during his act of finding himself and finding a comfortable role for himself in the world.”

Hart was proud that Hüsker Dü were able to inject something personal and heartfelt into a scene that was often very brash.

“Punk was an attitude,” he said. “I think it involved honesty and a willingness to point out the dishonesty in society and government and interpersonal politics.

"There wasn't a whole lot of love songs, but if there's one thing that we may have brought into it, it's maybe a little more attention to the personal end of things."

 

Hüsker Dü split up following long-standing tensions between Mould and Hart, with the former claiming Hart’s relationship with heroin the reason for the split, though Hart denied this was a factor.

Following the band’s split, Hart made four solo records – 2013’s The Argument the most recent – and two albums with another band by the name of Nova Mob.

Tributes to Hart have flowed since word of his passing circulated this afternoon. 

 
 

 

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