Grant Hart, the rambunctious drummer and co-lead vocalist of Hüsker Dü, has died in Minneapolis aged 56, tearing a hole in the American punk and indie scene.
The usually barefoot drummer—all flying hair, elbows and thick-tongued vocals—was the perfect counterweight to scowly guitarist-vocalist Bob Mould. His rangy back catalogue “changed the emotional vocabulary of punk rock” according to Rolling Stone‘s Rob Sheffield.
Hart was “the cheeriest-looking guy anyone had seen in a hardcore band” Sheffield wrote in an obituary Thursday, “and despite all the turmoil he brought to their songs, he also brought his skewed pop smile.”
While the opposing energies of Mould and Hart’s resulted in electric performances, the two were set on a collision course exacerbated by struggles with addiction and the suicide of their young manager. Their split in 1988 was so venomous that the band, which also included bassist Greg Norton, had only recently reopened lines of communication, according to Variety.
Hart would later release several more EPs, both as a soloist and the leader of the band Nova Mob. But it was in the Hüskers where he really shone.
In memory of Hart, here are four songs to play loudly today.
Flip Your Wig
The title track from the Husker’s fourth LP, Flip Your Wig, released September 1985
Ticket to Ride
Released in 1986. A frenetic take on Lennon and McCartney’s 1965 original.
Keep Hanging On
Track 12 off 1985’s Flip Your Wig.
Books About UFOs
From the B-side of the band’s 1985 New Day Rising. An ode to a stargazing girl who hangs out at the library.