There is word this morning that Grant Hart, drummer for influential American rock band Hüsker Dü, has died after a battle with cancer. He was 56.
Variety is citing an unnamed source confirming Hart’s passing, and the Minnesota band’s Facebook page posted a photo of the drummer without commentary around 2 a.m. this morning. There is no confirmation of his death as of press time.
It was the Fall of 1978. I was attending Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. One block from my dormitory was a tiny store called Cheapo Records. There was a PA system set up near the front door blaring punk rock. I went inside and ended up hanging out with the only person in the shop. His name was Grant Hart.
The next nine years of my life was spent side-by-side with Grant. We made amazing music together. 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. It was an amazing decade.
We stopped working together in January 1988. We went on to solo careers, fronting our own bands, finding different ways to tell our individual stories. We stayed in contact over the next 29 years — sometimes peaceful, sometimes difficult, sometimes through go-betweens. For better or worse, that’s how it was, and occasionally that’s what it is when two people care deeply about everything they built together.
The tragic news of Grant’s passing was not unexpected to me. My deepest condolences and thoughts to Grant’s family, friends, and fans around the world.
Grant Hart was a gifted visual artist, a wonderful story teller, and a frighteningly talented musician. Everyone touched by his spirit will always remember.
David Fricke, in his March 1987 Rolling Stone review, called Hüsker Dü “the most vital rock and roll band in America today,” and then-Village Voice scribe Robert Christgau pondered if they were “the best American band of the ‘80s”
Via Variety: “Grant formed Hüsker Dü with bandmates Bob Mould and Greg Norton in 1979 helping to usher in a new wave of punk with hardcore leanings, but at the same time, melodic and digestible, particularly to the college crowd of the 1980s. The band, and Hart as a drummer, is often cited as having influenced Foo Fighters frontman and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl.”