Hüsker Dü Drummer Grant Hart Dead at 56
Hart formed the celebrated hardcore band alongside Bob Mould and Greg Norton in Minneapolis in 1979, and they went on to release six studio albums between 1983 and 1987. As their career progressed, the band became known for embracing melody in their songs and later became cited as one of the biggest influences on bands like Nirvana, Pixies and Smashing Pumpkins.
Hart and Mould served as the main songwriters in Hüsker Dü, though in the band's later years Hart accused Mould of prioritizing his own songs, ensuring that the drummer's songs never made up more than 45 percent of an album.
The band eventually broke up in the late '80s. Following the death of their manager David Savoy, tension between Mould and Hart escalated. Ultimately, they cited "three people going their separate ways" as the reason to disband; Hart was recovering from a heroin addiction, Mould was in the process of quitting drinking and Norton was newly married.
Hart went on to form a new band called Nova Mob in the '90s, and released a number of solo albums, as well. His last solo offering arrived with The Argument in 2013.
Hüsker Dü never reunited, though they did go online for the first time in 2015, unveiling an official website and revealing that there was "ongoing communication" between the three original bandmates for the first time in a long time.
Just last week, it was announced that Hüsker Dü's early career will be profiled in a new Numero box set titled Savage Young Dü. It's currently available to stream via NPR ahead of its official release on November 10.
Since news of Hart's passing, Mould has shared a touching tribute, detailing his complicated relationship with his former creative partner. He reminisces about their first meeting, and goes on to describe Hart as "a gifted visual artist, a wonderful story teller, and a frighteningly talented musician." Read the full message below.
UPDATE (9/14, 1:05 p.m. EDT): Numero Group's Ken Shipley has also offered his condolences in a moving essay about Hart via Facebook. Read it below.
A number of other Dü-worshippers from across the musical world have also shared their respects for Hart. See a selection of those messages below.
Grant Hart wrote some of the songs that matter the most to me. Thank you and Rest in Peace.— Craig Finn (@steadycraig) September 14, 2017
This one hurt. Bad. The passing of Grant Hart of Hüsker Dü .. there are no words that describe the huge impact that Grant Hart and Bob Moulds music on Green Day. When we first started we listened to Warehouse songs and stories, candy apple gray, flip your wig constantly. We were 16 years old. Hüsker Dü was our favorite band. We became a three piece because of Hüsker. We went through adolescence listening to this band. I wanted to be a song writer because of Hüsker Dü To put it simply there would be no GD if it wasn't for Hüsker Dü .. Grant where ever you are , I don't have to put on your records to listen to them. They are memorized in my head. "Please leave a number and a message at the tone Or you can just go on and leave me alone" heart breaking #granthart #hüskerdü
RIP Grant Hart— Ryan Adams (@TheRyanAdams) September 14, 2017
Your music saved my life.
It was with me the day I left home.
It's with me now.
Travel safely to the summerlands. pic.twitter.com/B8JfIdp57H
Wonderful show in Vancouver, but gutted to get offstage and hear that Grant Hart has died. I fucking adore Hüsker Dü. Sad news.— Frank Turner (@frankturner) September 14, 2017
RIP Grant Hart..super nice guy who used to let us stay at his house when we were in Minneapolis. Great, great songwriter pic.twitter.com/V0399rQUc6— mark lanegan (@marklanegan) September 14, 2017
NOOOO! Goddamn it. Songs like 'Green Eyes' and 'Flexible Flyer' were the stuff that got me through high school. Thank you Grant. RIP. https://t.co/R3DKVcuA93— Carl Newman (@ACNewman) September 14, 2017
Waking up to news Grant Hart is gone. I can't even *understand* his drumming, but his classic melodicism was a massive inspiration. RIP.— Ted Leo (@tedleo) September 14, 2017
impossible to say how much grant hart meant to me as an angry confused young kid. his songs guided me through very hard times. RIP grant :(— Cloud Nothings (@cloudnothings) September 14, 2017
His drumming was so incredible I feel like a fraud when we play Husker Du songs. AND he could write & sing like thishttps://t.co/aDaGE6QuU4— Jon Wurster (@jonwurster) September 14, 2017
RIP to one of the greatest songwriters EVER! Thank you Grant Hart for all the music you left the world with.— Damian Abraham (@leftfordamian) September 14, 2017