Hüsker Dü Database
Magazine articles & interviews

Coolest Retard #19, Mar-Apr 1982

This Land Speed-era interview appeared as a photocopy, without attribution, in the LSR press package, but turns out to have been lifted from Coolest Retard #19. The same issue also includes a review of the 29 Dec 1981 show at the 950. The interview, from early in 1982, is of interest because all three band members participate more or less equally in answering the questions. (The intro has been reproduced as originally printed; the interview proper has been edited to correct obvious spelling, syntax and typographical errors for the sake of readability.) "Craig" is Craig Schmidt; "Di" is Dianne Dittrich.

Husker Du, live or on record, are a walking allit-
eration for the word: maelstrom.  A gtr/bass wash
of sound with multi-layered vocals/screaming--
coming/exiting at different times and different
paces.  They often collide.  All of this is then
pounded silly by Grant, the drummer.  In concert
Greg can still casually draw on a cigarette and
re-strap his guitar.Land Speed Record has a night-
marish intensity, but lately so does life.  H/D know.

C.R.: How did you get in touch with New Alliance? Greg: Well, we had a live tape and we played it for Black Flag and they liked it, so they in turn played it for the Minutemen, then the Minutemen played it for New Alliance. They heard the tape and they really liked the band. When we got back to Minneapolis we asked ourselves, "How in the hell are we going to put out this record?" We didn't know how we were going to get the money. So we called out west and talked to Joe Carducci at SST. And he asked what's going on with the band and we told him that we wanted to put out an album. He said that we could put it out, but that we would have to wait until they had the money. We didn't know what to do, because we wanted to put it out as soon as possible. Then Mike Watt from New Alliance heard that we were talking to SST and he said that he could put out the album. New Alliance had the money right now. Mike said that he'd heard the band, liked us, and just said, "Let's DO IT." C.R.: Is it all live? Greg: Yeah, all live. C.R.: Do you have any favorite tracks? Bob: Side two is the stronger side. You'll notice that the sound quality gets stronger as you get farther along in the album. Since there was no stopping between songs, it was sort of a hit or

       miss proposition with mixdown; you really
       had to be on top of it.  It turned out good.
       Side two is stronger material and it is a
       little more uptempo (laughs) than the first
C.R.:  When did you guys form?
Bob:   May* 1979.  No real bands had ever really
       played out around that time.
Grant: Me and Greg worked together at a record
       store and Bob was a customer.
Bob:   The scene was just going down for the first
Greg:  It was right after when the Suicide Commandos
       busted up, and everybody just started to get
       this attitude that "Now this scene is dead;
       the Suicide Commandos started it, and now
       they've finished it."  But it wasn't true:
       they just paved the way for all the other
Bob:   Yeah, and at that time the Suburbs started
       playing more danceable music.
C.R.:  How about Twin/Tone Records?
Bob:   Yeah, it's a good label, and it really takes
       care of its people.  Almost too much--
       overprotection--but they sell their bands 
       like crazy.  They force it on people.
C.R.:  Is this album going to be a one-off with New
Greg:  It's hard to say.  I'd like to continue, but
       it's a wait-and-see situation.  But they are
       easy to work with.
Grant: The first pressing is already sold out.  The
       first thousand are gone in four days.
C.R.:  Did you expect that?
Grant: Yeah.  After three years of busting our
       asses, something had better have happened.
C.R.:  Do you play a lot in the Midwest?
Bob:   We just played in Madison, in the student
       union.  Everything was trashed.
Grant: The place looked like the grand ballroom from
       Camelot:  it's got these 14th century
       tapestries on the wall, the flags of all the
       nations, murals on the ceilings, silk drapes.
       And it was all totally destroyed.  It was
       about $500 worth of damage** to furniture,
Bob:   So they had to call the cops and everything.
C.R.:  Did you have to pay any of the out-of-pocket
       expenses for this damage?
Greg:  No, we didn't; but unfortunately, the guy who
       put it together got the bill.
Bob:   But he didn't pay it, and he's not going to
       pay it.
C.R.:  What's going to be your followup to the album?
Bob:   We're going to follow it up with a 7" single,
       recorded in a studio.  We'll try to do it with
       New Alliance if we can; if not, we'll do it
       ourselves, limited edition.  SST might want to
       do the single.  Then we'll do a short Midwest
       tour in March.  Then we do more recording on
       the West Coast.
C.R.:  How did you get to the point where all three
       of you sing?
Bob:   Well, we all three write, so...the writer
       generally sings the song.
Greg:  Yeah, we sort of have this policy:  "You write
       it, you sing it."
Grant: Now I got started singing before I saw a lot
       of bands live, so I got used to doing it before
       I realized it wasn't the sort of thing you do.
       Breathing is the hardest part; sitting is
       really hard on the diaphragm.
C.R.:  Who are your favorite bands?

Greg:  Having played with the Dead Kennedys and Black
       Flag, I have to say that I like them a lot.
       Biafra is an excellent frontman and he knows
       how to put on a great show.  Henry really adds
       a lot to Black Flag.  I've worked in record
       stores for [a long time(?)], and when I was
       laid off I just sort of let my ears rest.  Plus
       being unemployed for the last year:  no money--
       no records.  But basically my tastes don't run
       that much to hardcore, but more to experimental.
Bob:   Man Sized Action and the Blue Hippos are good
       in Minneapolis.
Grant: Being in clubs most of the time, I'm overexposed
       to the new stuff so when I'm at home, I listen
       to a lot of instrumentals.  I like most of the
       really high treble guitar.  I like really well-
       done production.  But right now my fave is a
       polka song by Little Joe's Dance Band, but it
       has a really exciting, excellent sound to it:
       bum-bump, bum-bump, dum-ba, dum-ba-da.
       Discharge, right?
Bob:   The stuff I like is funny, 'cause when we
       started out there wasn't any hardcore at all,
       but now there are all these bands that are
       doing very similar things without ever having
       heard one another.  I'm really curious to hear
       what our contemporaries sound like-- Necros, DC
       bands, the LA stuff.  I mean, you don't know who
       these people are, and when they come up with
       the same licks.  Also I like 60s pop and some
       experimental stuff.
C.R.:  Do you do any cover songs?
Grant: We'll do them, but for fun only.
Bob:   We just added "Sunshine Superman" to our set
C.R.:  Is there any reason why you play a Flying V?
Bob:   Not really.  That's the only thing I could get.
       At 17, I really liked the sound.  It's really
       easy to play.  It has a great thrash sound that
       I always wanted, long before it became the vogue.
C.R.:  Did you ever think of adding a fourth member?
Greg:  Well, we like having a three piece.  We've been
       together for three years, which might seem like
       a long time, but it's not really.  After we were
       together for a year we toyed with the idea of
       adding a fourth member, but it would have
       depended on who the person was, what their
       attitude was like.  But we never meet anyone who
       would work in like we would want.
Bob:   It's really strange; we've never had a personnel
       change in over three years.  It's a rare thing
       to find a band that doesn't have a change of
       some sort in three years.  We just couldn't find
       anybody to join us; this new person would have
       to put their life into it.  Now we will run into
       people who are interested, but we really mean
       what we are doing.  Someone might be a great
       guitar player, but he wouldn't work out 'cause
       with us it is not just the music!
C.R.:  Do you have other jobs to support the group?
Bob:   I go to school.  The government is paying for
       all this, so I can't complain.  It's not a
       problem as far as conflicting with the band
       because I don't do anything at school.
Grant: I tried working, but I retired about two years
       ago.  We reinvest all the money back into the
       band, so I don't have the most luxurious life.
Greg:  I got fired from the record store--basically
       because I was concentrating on making a name
       for the group.  But I just got a job as a

*Possible transcription error?
**Either 14th Century tapestries were undervalued in 1982, or you don't want Grant as your insurance adjuster.

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