The interview below, from the 09 Mar 1987 issue of Nashville arts rag
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.")
SCENE ONEBOB 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 stuffthey'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
SCENE ONEFour 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 songstrying 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
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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