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Magazine articles & interviews

Hot Sounds, Sep 1987

Hot Sounds was a slick, lightweight monthly published by the Toronto Sun. This was just the third issue. Dunno how long it lasted. The article below appeared just before the final tour, and provided publicity for the 13 Oct 1987 RPM show in Toronto.

Hold still. Don't Even

blink, or you might miss

their newest phase.

Welcome to the world of


hardcore chameleons who

can't stand still



     Greg Norton is the quiet Du, the practical one, the bassist. His playing isn't real speedy, more of the rock solid foundation style of fretting, yet being flexible enough to accommodate his pals' flights of fancy. He's a non-drinker, and does most of the group's driving. He claims the other two scare him in matters automotive.
     Bob Mould is the huskiest Du, the visionary, the singer and guitarist. He too is basically laid back, but is known to freak for Atlantic City gambling trips and soft-porn film festivals. He likes to talk, will do so anytime, anywhere. You do not ask this man for his autograph lightly.
     Grant Hart is the zaniest Du, the practical joker, the drummer. He loves Keith Moon, has been known to walk around apres-gig parties wearing a trenchcoat and nothing else. He's a ferocious and impressively improvisational drummer.


     LOVE: "I'll say it's at least 80 per cent of what we write about. It just doesn't take the form of 'baby, I love you.' But I'd say it's the basis of most of the material. Bed Of Nails, for instance, is a love song. Sure, it's full of pain, but love isn't always chocolates and nights at the theatre."
     SEX: "I can't see us writing a literal sex song. I mean, what would that sound like? Would it be a

love song or a swan song? Although in this day and age, and with all the sexual fear in the air, it'd be some kind of challenge to write a fresh sex song."
     DEATH: "Some of the songs deal with the inevitability of death, that none of us are immortal. That's such a universal given that to dwell on it.... But there you have it, death creeps into your mind and the next thing you know, there's a death song on your tape. As a youngster I had trouble dealing with it. Over time, I've learned how to deal with it, recently in very immediate ways."

     ANGER: "I used to carry around lots of unfocused anger. If you internalize your anger, it's gonna come out one way or another. My early anger was so vicious and outward directed, when it broke out. Now the anger is stuff that I feel about myself. I'm not peeved at the world anymore."
     CONFUSION: "Confusion is something you have to have in your life. Without confusion, you have no questions; therefore you have no need to seek answers. As a person you change so often in ways you don't realize. If you're at all engaged in your world, every day you pick your way through a tangle of dreams, that's healthy confusion."

     DREAMS: "Ever get nightmares where you come awake, then go back to sleep, and you're back in the middle of your dreams? I have nigtmqares where I'm mass murdering. I never use
guns or weapons. Sometimes I'm in a car just running people over or else I'm pushing them off cliffs or tall buildings. Inevitably, I'll wake up freaked out, then go back to sleep and get caught in it again."


     "Reaction. We're a reactionary band," deadpans Grant. "We couldn't hear anything on the radio we liked, so we had to make our own music. We may as well insult our own intelligence as have it insulted for us. 'Course, once you get started in this music thing, you can't stop."
     "We present an honest viewpoint, not necessarily a comforting one. The morals of our songs are whatever the listener wants to get out of them. The songs are deliberately non-committal because there are lots of right questions but few right answers," adds Bob.
     "We never intended to be a hardcore band, that was just the music that interested us when we were starting out. It's our roots, but we didn't have any hesitations about following our ideas whichever way they led," emphasizes Greg.
     "I don't think I'm being brash by saying that Zen Arcade (LP) set a lot of people free. We never made a direct attempt to be hardcore because we were among those busy inventing it. Then we turned to opening doorways leading away from a musical style that was dictated by firm rules. Once


that started, it was only a matter of time before every avenue was being explored. So we were hardcore by default, just like we were called speed metal by default.


     Very well, thank you. Since their '85 signing to WEA, they've gone from cult status to being one of the biggest draws on the college circuit. Their output is many and varied; Husker Du LPs commonly run between 15 and 20 tracks. They've done 22 tours in four years, and can't seem to get enough. Their energy is legendary. They want it to be all over the place.
     "OK, we're the biggest college radio band in four years, this and that. Critics are nuts about the band. But it would be nice to be played on those commercial stations. I'd just like the chance for people to hear the music, let them be the ones to give it the thumbs up or down. We haven't had a hearing yet at that level," sighs Bob.
     "I guess we've become an influence," Grant opines. "We get a lot of tapes from bands that sound very similar. But the Midwest guitar sound has a long and rich history. Bands like ourselves, The Replacements, Soul Asylum go back in a pretty direct line to the era of MC5 and The Litter. Guitar bands have always been a big thing in that part of America. That's what we mean by working from our roots. That's the stuff that meant
something when we were growing up."
     Earlier this year, Husker Du were brutally shocked by the death of their manager, confidante and 'fourth du', David Savoy. He suffered from manic depression, and literally jumped out of life on the eve of Husker Du's U.K. tour.
     "I don't know why he killed himself. David was good at hiding his problems. Once he disappeared for a while, and we thought he was dead then. This time, I don't know what triggered it," admits Bob. "We were all under a lot of pressure, with things moving at a faster rate. But there's always a lot of tension around this band, which is part of what keeps it creative.
     "We'e all had to assume a lot of responsibilities that David had taken over, pick up the slack and keep moving. Emotionally, it's brough us closer at a time when people were drifting away a bit. I blamed myself for a while, but I'm over that hump now. You can sympathize but until you've been dealt a card like that you don't know how you'll feel.


Singles: Makes No Sense At All, Eight Miles High, In A Free Land, Everything Falls Apart, Statues.


October 13 at RPM.

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