Grant Hart 1961-2017 R.I.P.

A gifted musical and visual artist leaves us once again.

By Fred Mills

Hüsker Dü: without the Minneapolis band’s ’80s efforts, modern punk would have no doubt evolved far differently. Guitarist Bob Mould, bassist Greg Norton, and drummer Grant Hart blazed a trail across the Amerindie underground and even helped make major labels respectable in terms of their hosting punk bands.

Today we learned that Hart passed away last night at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. The cause of death is listed as complications from liver cancer and hepatitis. Hart was 56.

Erstwhile bandmate Mould, with whom Hart clashed near the end of the band’s tenure (HD broke up in 1988), penned a heartfelt tribute at his Facebook page, writing the following:

“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.

“Godspeed, Grant. I miss you. Be with the angels.”

Hart embarked upon a post-Husker career than included both solo albums and under the name Nova Mob, and he also worked as a visual artist, as Mould notes. According to NPR, his final show was “July 1 at the Hook and Ladder Theater in Minneapolis [and] was actually a surprise tribute to him that featured Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner, Babes In Toyland’s Lori Barbero and others: ‘I carried my guitar in, and it was like this sea of faces turning to me with great affection. There’s not too many big surprises that have been successfully thrown at me, but that was definitely one,’ Hart is quoted as saying.”

Below, revisit some choice video memories of Hart.

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