Grant Hart of influential band Hüsker Dü dead at 56
Hart released several solo albums after the band broke up in 1988
Grant Hart, drummer and singer for influential 1980s American alternative band Hüsker Dü, has died.
Ken Shipley, who runs the record label Numero Group, which oversees the band's back catalogue, told The Associated Press that Hart died at the age of 56 of cancer at his home in St. Paul, Minn.
Taking their name from a Swedish board game, which translated into English as "Do you remember?," Hüsker Dü formed in 1979 with Hart, guitarist and singer Bob Mould and bassist Greg Norton. They came out of a Minneapolis music scene that would also spawn The Replacements and Soul Asylum.
Releasing albums on the SST label, home to other artists such as Black Flag, Sonic Youth and Meat Puppets, the band was influenced by punk and initially known for the breakneck speed and intensity of their live shows and recorded output.
They expanded their sound with the 1984 double-record Zen Arcade and evolved towards a more melodic, but still loud sound on New Day Rising, Flip Your Wig, Candy Apple Grey and Warehouse: Songs and Stories.
Just two records into a major record label with Warners, the band dissolved at the beginning of 1988. Relations were tense between Mould and Hart — who wrote individually and then divvied their songs towards the band's records — and Hart was dealing with a heroin habit.
"We're lucky we got out of it with our lives," Hart said in the 2013 documentary Every Everything: the music, life & times of Grant Hart.
The band was cited as influences by later alternative artists such as Pixies, Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins.
Mould praised his former bandmate in a Facebook post early Thursday for the nine years they shared collaborating.
"We made amazing music together," said Mould. "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.
"Godspeed, Grant. I miss you. Be with the angels."
Mould would go on to form the band Sugar in the early 1990s and recorded several solo albums.
Hart released five solo albums beginning with 1989's Tolerance, as well as being involved in a number of side projects.
Several musicians remembered Hart and shared how they were influenced by him after learning of his death, including Canadian performers Joel Plaskett and Carl Newman.
Husker Du had a mix of anger, sadness + joy I'd never heard before. Didn't care about style or image + that struck young me as super punk.—@ACNewman
Rest In Peace Grant Hart. An amazing drummer & songwriter. Your songs spun me around & lifted me up. They still Dü. <a href="https://t.co/0Y1RqWqemw">https://t.co/0Y1RqWqemw</a>—@joelplaskett
Incredibly sad waking up to this news of Grant Hart -- RIP amazing musician/songwriter 💔Turn On The News - Hüsker Dü <a href="https://t.co/Ell5ZLhXHf">https://t.co/Ell5ZLhXHf</a>—@TanyaDonelly
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RIP?src=hash">#RIP</a> Grant Hart <br>All these songs and records in 5 years. FIVE. No one has a run like this but… <a href="https://t.co/2FUS2ZYKua">https://t.co/2FUS2ZYKua</a>—@superchunk
WIth files from The Associated Press