Hüsker Dü Database
Magazine articles & interviews

Non*Stop Banter, Sep-Oct 1985

Non*Stop Banter was a neatly-presented little fanzine out of Orland Park IL, just outside of Chicago. This was the third issue. Co-interviewer "JR" is identified in the masthead as Tom Novak. (Indeed the name Novak appears frequently in the masthead and in the pages of the magazine, suggesting that this may have been a family effort.)

Non*Stop Banter:  You guys have put
out like five albums and a handful of
singles in about four years, which is
more than most bands put out in a
lifetime.  Zen Arcade was mostly
first takes, just a marathon ses-
Grant Hart:  Well, that's been kind
of misunderstood.  It was mixed in a
marathon session.  It was recorded
over a period of two weeks, depending
on how close we were to the studio
whilst touring.
NSB:  Is there a trade-off between
immediacy and overall craft/perfec-
tion?  Is it more important to get
something released rather than worry
about overall merit?
GH:  The merit is the important
thing, it's just that we do better in
a more hurried, less relaxed atmos-
NSB:  This will probably be pretty
funny for you to hear, but there's
been a lot of talk going around about
Husker Du being the "Next Big Thing".
You've had major labels courting the
band, but you're still committed to
Interview by JR and Bruce Novak

The pressure on Husker Du is growing.
Their last two albums received wide
critical acclaim, drawing new fans
and major label interest.  But, given
the fickle nature of critics, you can
expect that the same people who
praised Husker Du will be ready to
tear them down if they falter on the
next album.
   If their new SST single is any in-
dication of what we can expect, then
Husker Du (Bob Mould, guitar; Grant
Hart, drums; Greg Norton, bass) ap-
pear to be up to the task.  The two
songs, an original called "Makes No
Sense At All" and a hilarious cover
of the Mary Tyler Moore theme song
"Love Is All Around," contain the
same elements as their earlier ef-
forts.  The difference comes from the
production (by Bob and Grant), which
moves the drums and vocals up front
with the guitars.
  The following interview with Grant
Hart took place outside the friendly
confines of Wrigley Field, with the
Cubs well on their way to losing 13
straight and Husker Du showing no
signs of letting up.

GH:  Uh, we're not committed to SST.
NSB:  Well, is there gonna be a time
when you're gonna have to use the re-
sources of a major to reach all the
people you want?
GH:  Yes.
NSB:  There's been an ongoing debate
in Maximum Rock'n Roll about the va-
lidity of independents.  What are
Husker Du's feelings about the indepen-
dents; what are some of the short-
GH:  Shortcomings of independents in
NSB:  Well, independents in general
and SST personally.
GH:  Well, let's just talk about in-
dependents in general.  (laughter)
They don't have as much push.  It's
not because they don't work hard,
it's because if someone knows he
won't get the new Prince album if he
doesn't pay for the last Motley Crue
or Van Halen record, he's gonna pay
for that record.  Major labels are
good with their accounting.  And it
all boils down to the work you're
doing and the rewards you're receiv-
ing for it.  That's the basic and
that's money.  It's just whether or
not you can comfortably deal with
money, as far as the moral thing is
concerned.  Personally, I think I can
do a lot more good for the world with
money than without it.
NSB:  There's also been a lot said
about Husker Du being a hardcore
band.  I read somewhere that you guys
like to go around to record stores
and take your records out of the
"hardcore" section and put them in
the "H" section.
GH:  I think that was kind of an ex-
aggerated thing.  But what it boils
down to is shrinking your window;
it's less you can see out of it, or
less people can see inside it.
NSB:  There are people that see it
labeled "hardcore" and think `Oh, I
don't like hardcore, so I'm not gonna
buy it'.
GH:  I don't blame `em, man.  Fuck,
when I hear the term "hardcore", I
think of a whole bunch of schlepps.
You gotta admit that hardcore has
gone fuckin' completely downhill in
the last three years.  At one time it
was a valid thing.  It was cool for a
NSB:  Now it's become more of a flag
to gather around...
GH:  Well, there are more rules im-
posed within the counterculture.  Ya
know, `hey man be free, do exactly
this.  You're not thinkin' for your-
self unless you act like me'.

NSB: In one of your songs, "Turn On The News", you wrote something like "with so many ways of communicating, we can't get together with what we're hating". And from "Deadly Skies" there's a line like "I like to protest, but I'm not sure what it's for". Is protest something you think is still effective? GH: I think protest is still effec- tive. But protesters, right or left, right or wrong, are out there playin' for the TV cameras. There's so much in-fighting. People aren't taking it to the streets. If they really be- lieved a lot of it, they would use it for far better purposes than to get laid by the local vegetarian broad. NSB: How did you guys come upon your sound...did you just stumble upon it? GH: It evolved. It's like, two of us have a really unique way of play- ing. NSB: Are you still hosting any bar- beques in Minnesota? GH: That's kinda funny. We're 2/3 vegetarian now. Bob quit eating meat

for health reasons.  And I quit eat-
ing meat to make it easier for Bob on
the road.  `Cause if you're the mi-
nority on anything while touring,
you're gonna get screwed in that di-
NSB:  So now you have vegetarian get-
GH:  (laughs) Yeah.
NSB:  How do you feel about the Twin
Cities being the new "hot" spot for
bands, bands moving there to get
signed, etc.?
GH:  There's leaders and there's
followers.  There's mountains and
there's Mohammeds.
NSB:  Are yu involved with the Re-
flex label?
GH:  It's Bob's baby, but I end up
changin' diapers and watchin' the
kids once in awhile.  As far as the
business end of things, I try not to
pollute my filing system with numbers
that just add up to another figure.
NSB:  Do you actively pursue bands?
GH:  Well, as we work more, we find
ourselves listening to less and less
music and seeing less and less.
That's been a problem for us lately,
thinking of new Reflex projects.

We've tended to become a little bit
more reclusive than the up and coming
hardcore stars we were five years
NSB:  How do you like it that you're
getting more popular?
GH:  Well, it's like sometimes I get
new money before the old money is
gone.  I got so good at being broke,
that I feel really guilty about
spending money.  Now that it seems
that we're gettin' ready to do quite
a bit better commercially, I'm really
thankful for all the boxes of macaro-
ni & cheese and the six years of not
necessarily being so successful.
NSB:  When you say the band is becom-
ing more reclusive, does it mean that
you'll be doing less shows and con-
centrating more on putting stuff into
your albums?
GH:  Well, as a band becomes more
popular, there's a lot more riding on
their albums.  There's a lot more at
stake.  We're just gonna deal with
that in whatever way we can adjust to
most comfortably.  None of us have
any nasty habits, so I don't see us
becoming spaced-out junkies.
NSB:  Have you recorded any new
GH:  Yeah, we've got a single, an
album from the studio and a live
NSB:  Were you guys happy with the
way New Day Rising came out?
GH:  No.
NSB:  How come?  Production?
GH:  Yeah, there was a lot of bright-
ness that didn't make it from the
tape to the record.  During the
course of producing New Day Rising we
got totally fed up with Spot, and
henceforth, he isn't and will never
work with us again.
NSB:  I think that will be a good
GH:  Yeah, definitely a good move.
From the way the new stuff sounds,
it's no comparison.  Had me and Bob
produced the others, there's no tel-
NSB:  Are we gonna be seeing a Husker
Du tag team match with Cyndi Lauper
GH:  Not with Cyndi Lauper, she's
workin' for the wrong federation.
She's workin' for Vince McMahon's
bunch out in New York, the WWF.
We've always been staunch supporters

of Vince Gagne's bunch, the AWA.
See, Vince is trying to do what his
old man did in the 50's, which is
oversaturate the market, make a big
pile quick.  People are gonna get
burned out of wrestling, and not give
a shit about it for years.  Which is
cool, `cause then you won't have Cyn-
di Laupers.  Celebrities have always
hung around wrestlers, but Cyndi
Lauper gets a paycheck for hangin'
around her wrestlers.
NSB:  What's that say about how
people like to be entertained these
GH:  Well, I guess a lot of people
don't care whether their entertain-
ment is real or not, ya know.  Or,
let's say whether their entertainers
are real or not.  `Cause if Cyndi
Lauper can be bought by the WWF,
what's that say about her music?
NSB:  What does Husker Du get out of
GH:  It's a sport...it's the sport of
kings.  You've got an action-filled
physical sport, combined with soap
opera, with a buncha people coming up
with wild, different gimmicks.  You
know, it's a lot like rock and roll.

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