Hüsker Dü Database
Magazine articles & interviews

Brand New Age #2, 1983

Brand New Age was a DIY 'zine out of Arlington VA that covered the DC scene. Issue #2 , which hit the streets during the summer of 1983, featured this longish Hüsker interview from the band's first trip to the East Coast. The reference to the 9:30 Club gig fixes the date as 24 Apr 1983. "Mike" is Mike Ross; "Bob" the photographer is Bob Davis.


Hüsker Dü were interviewed after their set at the 9:30 Club with the G.I.s. Band members are:

       Grant—Drums, vocals
       Bob—Guitar, vocals
       Greg—Bass, vocals
Mike: What plans do you have for a new record?
Bob: We've got a whole album in the can. We were going to do some additional recording and make it a double record, but then we decided to wait until next year. So, then we were going to put out the album, but we decided to scrap about half the stuff and put out a six or seven song 12-inch. Hopefully we can send the tapes off as soon as we get back and have it out by the middle of June. As soon as it comes out, we're going to come back here.
Mike: Just the east coast again?
Bob: No, we're gonna do the whole country in the summer. We'll do the east coast and the southeast, then we'll go home for a week or two before we go down through Texas to the west coast. We're going to be touring July, August and September.
Mike: Have you done a lot of west coast touring?
Bob: We've done three big tours out there and a couple of small midwest tours. This is our first time east.
Mike: Do you like going out west?
Bob: Well, we had a built-in market out there because the record was on New Alliance and people had heard about us through Black Flag. Also, we do our recording out there; we go to work with Spot when we want to do a new record.
Mike: Why did you do two records with New Alliance and then do it on your own label?


Bob: We didn't have the money to put our Land Speed Record and at the time we were shopping around, SST was going to do it but they were backed up with projects, so they suggested New Alliance. We did the single and the album with them and when it came time for Everything Falls Apart, the Descendents' album was in the middle of production and all their money was tied up in that. So we scraped together the money and put it out ourselves. There was no jumping ship or bad feelings, it was just a matter of getting it out.

Mike: How many copies did you press?
Bob: 5000, and we'll probably do 5000 more this summer.
Mike: How long have you ben on this tour?
Bob: This one, a little over two weeks. We started two weeks ago Friday, so we've been out 16 days.
Mike: Where have you played so far?
Bob: Madison, Chicago, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, New York, Bridgeport, Boston and here.
Mike: Who have you been playing with?
Bob: We've been headlining all the shows. Some of the bands we've played with...we played with the Replacements in New York—they're another Minneapolis band—and No Thanks, and the Young And Useless also. The Proletariat were really good yesterday in Boston. Suburban Mutilation in Madison—they're pretty wild guys, all nuts. We're going to open for the Fall in Cleveland; that should be interesting. Also, we're playing with Articles of Faith in Chicago on the way back. That's about it. I thought the G.I.s were really good too. John was really funny: "These Boots Are Made For Walking" was the greatest.
Bob Davis: What did you think of the show?
Bob: It was really cool.
Grant: Today was one of the funnest shows we've had.
Bob: Are you guys straight edge? No. Do you guys think Reagan's fucked? No. Yeah. Well, no wait, yeah. Well, we don't want to kill him, but...you know, what the new thing's going to be next year...Mondale Youth, Mondale Punks Fuck Off.
Mike: What are your musical influences?
Bob: Like, when we started, we were listening to early punk. Now I listen to a lot of 60s music, industrial music and jazz. I listen to all kinds of music, but I don't listen to a lot of hardcore any more because when we tour we seem to play with hardcore bands always, so I get enough of it on the road.
Mike: Do you ever play with bands that aren't hardcore?
Bob: I wish we could. I think we're going to start trying to as much as we can on the next couple tours.
Grant: I guess a lot of just rock and roll bands influence me. Not any particular thing that strikes me, but a lot of different things.
Mike: What about bands playing now? Which ones do you like?
Bob: Right off the top of my head: Die Kreuzen from Milwaukee, Articles of Faith from Chicago, No Thanks from New York, Tar Babies from Madison, N.O.T.A. from Tulsa, Black Flag, Minutemen, Big Boys...I don't like any British bands any more; I think they're all dumb. REM are great though.
Mike: What did you think of Land Speed Record?
Bob: It was something we had to do.
Mike: Why did you do it live?
Bob: A couple of reasons: We had just got back from a tour and we were real hot and we were going to record the first gig back on a 4-track anyway. When we were in SF we decided we should put out an album, and we had been doing those songs for two years and there wasn't a lot more we could do with them musically. So the record documents where the band was at the time. I think it was a good thing to do early. I think had we done it now, maybe it would be more popular or maybe we would get cut down for it. I think it was a pretty daring effort in 1981 to put out a live hardcore album, considering we didn't know we were hardcore until people told us. We didn't know what it was until we went out on the first tour.
Mike: Do you still do those songs?
Bob: Yeah, we did about six of them tonight. We've got a couple hundred songs, so we can pretty well pick and choose. We did those because this is our first time out here and people probably are familiar with that album, so we did a good portion of it so they could hear what was on the record.
Mike: How would you describe Everything Falls Apart?
Bob: It's us. Musically it's more proficient, the sound quality is better. We're a lot happier with it. It's more diverse. It isn't locked into hardcore. Well, there's some hardcore on it I guess, but the rest of the stuff is what we're leaning towards now, a lot more melodical, a lot stronger lyrically, and musically there's more rhythm to it, instead of just speed for speed's sake—which is what Land Speed Record was, no doubt about that.
Mike: What did you think of the sound quality on that record?
Bob: Shit. It sounds just like when you go to a gig and your ears are blown off.
Mike: Would you like to have had it better?
Bob: I don't think so. I think it would have taken away from the effect of it. It wouldn't have sounded like it was recorded live if we did it real sterile.
Mike: What did you think of "In A Free Land?"
Bob: That was basically the sound that we always wanted. "In A Free Land" was just trying to get there. Plus, that was a really good song which we thought should be a single. The production is very good on it. We wanted to get a single out and New Alliance had the bucks, so we did it. That was the step we were going in at the time, and now we're going in a different direction.
Mike: What direction is that?
Bob: It's hard to describe. We did a couple longer songs tonight, a little stronger, some people might say psychedelic, some people might say...
Grant: Heavy metal.
Bob: Yeah, and some people might say post-hardcore. I don't know, it's just what we're doing. We don't want it to stay sounding the same all the time because people would get real bored if we just kept playing our greatest hits.
Mike: How old are you?
Bob: I'm 22.
Grant: I'm 22 and Greg's 24.
Mike: How long have you been playing together?
Bob: Four years. We started in March of '79.
Mike: Are there any places to play in Minneapolis?
Bob: There's a bunch of places to play. I guess the biggest one is First Avenue/Seventh Street Entry; they call it a downtown club. The big room holds 1300 and 7th Street holds 350. The Upper Deck is smaller, maybe 400 people. They got 600 in for Black Flag; I don't know how they did it. They do some all-ages shows occasionally, like once or twice a month like they do here, but it's like a split-show thing—the early show and the drunk show. There's a place called the Whole Coffeehouse on the University of Minnesota that does some shows...
Grant: We played one of those and it was really good.
Bob: There's an occasional hall show. Minor Threat is doing a hall show next week maybe they'll pick up. We've done hall shows, but it's real tenuous up there. You can't rely on people to show up because in Minnesota there's a big drinking crowd. It's completely the opposite from here.
Greg: Big beer country.
Bob: Yeah, most of the people who want to see us are our age and if kids want to go they just get fake IDs; there's no hassle. There's no reason to have a lot of all-ages shows.
Mike: What are some good bands up there?
Bob: Rifle Sport, they've got an album coming out on Reflex next month called Voice Of Reason; Man Sized Action, they've also got an album coming out on Reflex next month—I think it's called Claustrophobia. Ground Zero are real good. The Replacements...
Greg: Loud Fast Rules.
Bob: Yeah, they're good. It's really hard to name them all because there's tons of bands and we don't want to leave anybody out. There's been a lot of new bands in the last year or so. The Barefoot And Pregnant and Kitten compilations had a lot of new bands on them. But a lot of bands on the tapes have broken up and reformed, so there's a whole new crop of bands now. Other bands who are worth noting are Willful Neglect and Propaganda, who are bands that we don't get to play a lot of shows with, but are real good. As far as Reflex vinyl, we have to be real selective because we don't have a lot of money to work with. It's not like our parents are paying for it; it's financed totally by the money we made from Everything Falls Apart. It is our money and we have to be careful with it.
Mike: Have you ever thought of adding a singer?
All: We have three of them.
Mike: Well, someone who is just a singer.
Bob: When we started, that wasn't the trend. Now everybody has a guy who takes his shirt off and runs around and screams. That's real good for people it works for, but we can play and sing. It never crossed our minds to have one. Sure, it would make it easier because we could play a lot faster and tighter, but it wouldn't be much fun for us.
Mike: Are you guys vegetarians?
Bob: Sometimes. My favorite food is steak, but sometimes I'll go without it for a week or so just for fun.
Grant: Or for lack of funds.
Bob: Yeah, that too. Sometimes I have to drink tea instead of coffee, which is interesting because it makes me piss so much more than coffee. It really cleans your system out.
Bob Davis: Do you think the second coming of Jesus is related directly with the impending nuclear war and Soviet invasion of America.
Bob: I think it has a lot to do with the merger of RCA, MCA and A&M. Jesus doesn't want to come back and have to open for, like, Lynyrd Skynrd; he wants to do his own headlining tour.
Grant: He has nothing out.
Bob: Yeah, he has no records out.
Grant: There's that book he did, but that was 2000 years ago.
Bob: The book is one thing, but with all that word of mouth he'll have to do arenas.
Greg: He's going to have to get something out.
Jesus, we're going to have to see some product.
Grant: We got a contract from Jesus the other day, and the stuff on his rider...six nails...
Bob: And a bunch of two-by-fours. But what was so weird, he had all these stage props, but all he wanted was a fish and a loaf of bread. I thought he'd at least want a deli tray or something.

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