Hüsker Dü Database
Magazine articles & interviews

Metro, 1987

The interview below, from the 09 Mar 1987 issue of Nashville arts rag The Metro, was conducted during the early stages of the Warehouse tour. Already apparent are the tensions that would lead to the breakup of the band at the end of the year. Grant's attitude in particular (e.g., his remark that "She's A Woman" is "one of the nine best songs on the album" and his not-so-oblique dismissal of Bob's depressing songs) reflects what can in hindsight be seen as a growing jealousy. Bob's attitude is harder to gauge, as he makes only a cameo appearance, but his non-participation is itself suggestive. Greg, meanwhile, seems oblivious to it all.

A review of Warehouse appeared elsewhere in the same issue.

Günga Dü      Narrated by Kath Hansen GREG. (Laughingly) Yeah, I'm driving, so I don't do that. GRANT. (Springs to his feet frantically) We really ARE in Bangkok! The exit is usually here!
REPORTA. (Eagerly) So, do you consider interviews to be an obligation?
GRANT. It never has a bad effect on business. It doesn't hurt to get your name in print. (Again sarcastically) We ran into a little trouble with the whole Nazi thing once, but... REPORTER. Nazi thing? (Trying to be funny) Must be the umlauts.
GRANT. Hey, no more umlaut jokes.
GREG. Oh, I can see the headlines now: (raising voice) GRANT: NAZI!
REPORTER. What country stars do you want autographs from?
GRANT. (Seriously) Hank Williams, Sr. Jim Reeves. Kitty Wells.
GREG. Well, (Jokingly) we got all the Hee-Haw girls on the guest list! (GRANT excitedly jumps up from his chair)
GRANT. Yeah, all the girls are gonna get on stage tonight and go: "HOWDY! Now Grant's gonna play y'all a song about sumpin' else!" The another one'll jump up and go: "HOWDY! Now Bob's gonna sing y'all a song about sumpin' differnt than the song Grant just sang to ya about!" Hey, do they still have that '53 Cadillac convertible of Hank's on display here?
REPORTER. I don't know. (Helpfully) I think there's a Hank Williams museum somewhere here.
GRANT. Really? Hank, Sr. or...that fuckhead? Just call me Bocephus! That man falls down a cliff twice on his face, then he gives away his inheritance to some ne'er-do-well country-western-singer-marryer.
GREG. (Laughing at GRANT's phrasing) You gotta watch out for them!
GRANT. I heard at one point they were thinking of exhuming Hank, Sr. and moving him to Nashville and burying him again in a 50-foot concrete cowboy boot... did they ever do that? (Sarcastically) Is there a 'Tomb-land' here?
(Suddenly, both GRANT and GREG depart noisily, with GRANT explaining to REPORTER and REPORTA that "they have to write a summary for the Elks Lodge meeting before they get home.")
        ACT THREE
SCENE ONE—BOB MOULD, a portly gent with a charming smile, wanders over to where the others are. He has been entertaining some friends and hasn't been seen up to now. His shy and reserved nature eeems dichotomous, since he is normally very wild and unrestricted on stage. REPORTER approaches him, carrying notes and tape recorder.
REPORTER. (Uneasily) So, this is your first time in Nashville?
BOB. Yeah, (seriously) we were in Knoxville about a year ago. It was neat...some band called Smokin' Dave opened for us.
(REPORTER and REPORTA look at each other, giggling.)
REPORTER. What did you think of them?
BOB. Thet were a bunch of characters. They sent us some of their tapes and stuff—they're pretty good. (BOB moves away anxiously. The photographer awaits him. REPORTER and REPORTA sit back down and cast knowing glances at each other. Pictures are snapped. Perrier and Coke flows freely. The first few chords are banged out by Christmas, their non compos mentis music begins filling the halls of the Cannery. GRANT's parents arrive.)
(Or, a night in the life of Hüsker Dü, a band of epic proportions.)

BOB MOULD, Hüsker Dü's guitarist, vocalist and songwriter
GRANT HART, Hüsker Dü's drummer, vocalist and songwriter
GREG NORTON, Hüsker Dü's bassist and (sometimes) songwriter
MARY, Warner Brothers representative
MICHAEL, vocalist/guitarist in a musical group called Christmas
REPORTER, Metro magazine journalist
REPORTA, REPORTER's accomplice
        ACT ONE
SCENE ONE—Metro headquarters, Nashville, Tennessee, early March, 1987. REPORTER, sitting in a cramped, stuffy office, receives a phone call from BOB MOULD, who talks with a sore throat from a hotel somewhere in North Carolina. The phone line is full of static, and appears to be getting worse.
REPORTER. Nervously) So, is it hard living up to all the critical acclaim?
BOB MOULD. (Hoarsely) No, 'cause we don't write any of it, you know, We've plugged at what we've done, and it's good to get recognition, but we don't really pay attention to what other people say. We do pretty much what we want to do.
REPORTER. (Tapping on phone, futilely trying to fix the bad line) You have been working pretty steadily since your first release back in '79. Do you guys ever take a break?
BOB. Yeah, we took three months off this summer. Got a lot of songwriting done. That's when we started putting the album [Warehouse] together I guess, so it wasn't really time off. (Clears throat) But it was relaxing...sort of like summer vacation. You need to have a balance.
REPORTER. Apologetically) Sorry for the static. So, you do most of your songwriting during breaks from touring?
BOB. (Patiently) Not really. We write just whenever we feel like it. On the road, at home, whenever it hits you. There's really no specific time that I write songs. I don't know about Grant.
REPORTER. I saw the video for "Could You Be The One?" (Hüsker Dü's current single, released from their album WAREHOUSE) the other day. It's really colorful. Did it take long?
BOB. Yeah, (flattered) we're real pleased with it. We worked on it, technically, in New York and L.A. No, it didn't take that long. Lots of people think it took a long while to produce, but the thing was, we had an individual, collective vision of what we wanted before we went in to do it. We're real proud of it—a lotta bands just go in and lip-sync to the song, you know.
REPORTER. Are you bothered that people still try to label you a 'hardcore' band?
BOB. No, (sounding bothered) people will label us whatever they will—post-psychedelic, post-punk, post-whatever. People need labels. In an ideal world, there would be no labels. But our audience has really broadened. Like, for instance, we were in Norfolk the other night, and some guy in his mid-40s came up to me. (Then proudly) He was retired from the service and he had a copy of each of our albums and wanted us to sign them...he had autographs from everyone; it was really kinda flattering that he came up to us. So our audience is definitely changing.
REPORTER. (Changing the subject) What do you think of England? (Looking distressed over the increasingly bad phone line)
BOB. Well, it's a nice place to visit. (Laughing) The British are very reserved—they have a dry sense of humor. We enjoyed it, though—the audiences were okay.
SCENE TWO—REPORTER, hopelessly frazzled, gives up on the static-laden phone line and asks BOB if she can interview the band when they arrive in Nashville. She arranges another interview with Hüsker Dü's record company rep, MARY, who seems a bit perturbed.

        ACT TWO
SCENE ONE—Four days later, seated at a red & white checked table backstage at the Cannery (local nightspot), REPORTER and REPORTA are introduced to GREG NORTON. An attractive, tall man with a very easygoing nature, GREG shakes REPORTER's hand and, smiling, slumps into a chair with a cigarette. He is a business-minded man, but his handlebar mustache makes him look as if he is always grinning. There is no alcohol in evidence backstage, and many people are entering and exiting the room. REPORTER. (Again nervously) So, how would you react to having a hit song?
GREG. (In a thought-filled tone) You have to take it all with a grain of salt. You can't just all of a sudden go, "Hey! We're big rock stars! Yay! Whooppee! Let's go buy a limo with a swimming pool in it!" If it happened, I'm sure we'd all have smiles on our faces, but that's not what we're aiming at. (Enter GRANT HART, a boyish-looking man of disarming intelligence. He sports an open lumberjack shirt and a long string of pearls with a Hüsker Dü laminate dangling from them.)
REPORTER. (Politely) Would you like to join us?
GRANT. (Teasingly) Why, are you falling apart?
REPORTER. (Laughs, then in a businesslike tone) Do you receive much fan mail?
GREG. (Nodding and laughing) LOTS.
GRANT. (Seriously) A lotta people who are interested in the band just want some information; some of it gets ridiculous. There are people who write and discuss certain topics or ask if we meant certain things with our songs—trying to figure out if they got it right. Sometimes they're just relaying info to us, like (takes on playful tone) 'somebody at my high school spray=painted the name of your band on the, you know, principal!' (Laughing)
REPORTER. (Becoming more comfortable with the conversation) Is there a certain demographic that writes to you?
GRANT. (Curtly) Under 30, male, college.
GREG. Some girls write.
GRANT. (Sarcastically) Maybe to you, Greg! Actually, we get about 5% girls writing.
REPORTER. (Gingerly) Is there some kind of story behind "She's A Woman (And Now He Is A Man)?" (Song on new LP with lines like: "He'll never listen to her 'cause his mind is like a sieve.")
GRANT. Ummm...(Gruffly) It's just about two people who are absolutely fed up with each other.. It's one of the nine best songs on the album (grins).
GREG. I like it. I bought it.
GRANT. Yeah, I got it a month later with all the corners chopped off.
REPORTER. (Pausing a second) WAREHOUSE doesn't have the same kinds of 'experiments' that your last record did.
GRANT. (Surprised) You're the second person to mention that...a lot of those experiments were just the regular arrangements. It was nothing we forsaked. We just had 20 bona fide songs we were working with. If we had started experimenting with all of them, it probably would have gotten real expensive.
REPORTER. What did the record company say when you handed them a double album?
GRANT. (Shrieking) EEEEEK! AAAAAAK! Well, they hadn't been faced with anyone presenting them with a double album for a long time...
GREG. (Struck by this) It's a lot harder to sell than a single album.
GRANT. Yeah, looking at it from that standpoint, there were probably a lotta people shakin'. They gotta be shakin'. If they weren't concerned with the quality of the recorded work, well, they'd be in trouble. REPORTER. (Anxiously changing the subject) Your songs seem to be more like tales or stories than Bob's.
GRANT. (Thinking, in an intellectual tone) My songs, albeit a little lighthearted, are songs as well, you know. You see, if I'm gonna have a miserable time, the last thing I'm gonna do is write a four-minute song about it and have to live that over every night we play.
REPORTER. I don't know, (questioningly) that last record got a little depressing, don't you think?
GRANT. Well, it depends on how you look at it. (Short pause) In trying to write about all kinds of emotions, not all are happy ones. From thst perspective, yeah, it got a little depressing for some. But then, we don't try to take ourselves so seriously that we forget where our sense of humor is.
REPORTER. (Turning to GREG) Do you write for the band any more?
GREG. Well, (lowering voice sheepishly) I used to write a lot, then I stopped for a while, but now I'm starting up again. A new song of mine called "Everytime" is on the B-side of "Could You Be The One?" in England.
REPORTER. (Changing subject again) So, most of your songs are realistic in tone, right?
GRANT. (Sharply) Not necessarily.
GREG. Well, you know, the party's between your ears. Sometimes you can be a realist and sometimes you can be a surrealist.
GRANT. (He waits, then goes on insistently) Sometimes you can be a cerebralist. Sometimes you can be a methodist. (Looks REPORTER straight inthe eye) Points of view often change. Some situations lend themselves to bending a little bit more than others. But as far as being realists, no, I don't think we're painting too many fantasy pictures for kids. I think we're offering real songs about real topics...we've not had to do songs about being a rock band...that's ridiculous. (Enter MICHAEL, a very eccentric and witty young man. He enjoys wearing brightly colored clothes. Scanning GRANT from head to toe, he adopts a mocking tone.)
MICHAEL. Oh yes, I think you look very beautiful tonight, Grant, with your string of pearls...
GRANT. (Sarcastically) This is necessary. It holds my thing. It is my lanyard.
MICHAEL. Yeah, yeah. (Exaggerated sarcasm) I don't wanna hear it. I hook mine directly to my chest. (Points to show pass)
GRANT. Oh, you're such a tough guy too!
REPORTER. Let's get back here. (Regaining command) Do you consider yourselves a pop band?
GRANT. That depends on your definition of pop. No, I don't think we've had any #1 singles yet? (Jokingly) Have we had any #1 singles, Mary? (Enter stage left MARY, a striking woman who takes care of the band in a motherly fashion) No, I don't think so.
GREG. I guess not. Damn. We are, for lack of a better term, a rock & roll band.
REPORTER. You've been touring steadily since about 1979. Is it hard to figure out where home is some days?
GRANT. There was a point when it got a little weird... (Trailing) Now we treat it like a little camping trip. Sometimes I'll pretend we're driving into a different city than we are.

Greg, Grant and Bob never promised you a rose garden.

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