This is part 2 of Smash! Fanzine's Hüsker Dü interview.
It appeared in
issue #6 (Oct 1983). Part 1
appeared in the previous issue.
What musical influences do you have?
Bob: Oh yeah...
Grant: Nope, we don't have any musical influences. (laughter)
Bob: We've been a band for over four years, and the stuff on Land Speed Record has just been music we've been playing for two years. We've pretty much sounded like that all along. So, I don't know...Ramones...
Bob: Heartbreakers, Buzzcocks, Dickies, the real early stuff.
Bob: Wire, you know, stuff like that. Pere Ubu. Like industrial music. There's like a lot of stuff that we listen to. We listen to all kinds of music. We don't just listen to Black Flag, and then that's it. I like listening to a lot of sixties stuff.
Grant: I got into this like, almost an argument with this guy last night, because I was trying to explain to him that when you go on tour and you see a hundred, two hundred bands, and 90% of them sound alike. It just kind of burns you on listening to any hardcore. I would find myself listening to a lot less hardcore than a year ago, two years ago.
Bob: When there weren't that many bands doing it. Now, every night that we play, there are like two bands that are going, "Brrrrr! Freeze fuck! Freeze fuck! Freeze fuck! Skate and dive! Brrrrr! One, two, three, four!" (laughter) It's like every night when you hear two bands that do that... you know, that's the thing I was saying about so many bands doing it. It defeats the purpose of being individual. It's like there's the stratified sound now....
Smash!: Land Speed Record was basically the stuff you wanted to play before you even knew about hardcore?
Bob: We just thought it was our own personal joke on everybody. We didn't know there was actually more...
Grant: We were observing the whole fucking Minneapolis art-rock community.
Bob: 'Cause there was like a real powerpop, art movement in '79, and we just sort of came out of nowhere, playing this real, real fast punk stuff, and people hated it. We just kept playing faster and faster to get people to hate us more. (laughter)
Grant: We ended up having like these ten or twelve guys come to every show, and like they did what has now become known as slamdancing. And then the Rolling Stone article comes out, "Slamdancing in LA." The people start coming to the shows, and
calling our friends poseurs.
Bob: Yeah, and then we're God after that, which really sucked. And now they're all shitting on us because we're not playing that stuff any more.
Smash!: Is there any message you try to get across in your songs?
Bob: Think, think. People should think for themselves, don't just be led by lyrics of bands. They should only be suggestions; they shouldn't be things to believe in for the rest of your life. Our lyrics are just more like things that try to make people think. There's things in there that are intentionally confusingthings that are open-ended, where people have to look at it and go, "What do they really mean?"
Smash!: Is that basically what the song "Blah, Blah, Blah" is about?
Bob: I don't even know what that's about. (laughs) I haven't got a clue. Greg wrote that, and never explains his songs, because he writes so few. The other thing is that people shouldn't get discouraged. People should just do what they're gonna do, and it doesn't have to be the right thing or the wrong thing, as long as you do something constructive. Be a leader, don't be a follower. Do like you guys are doing. Do a fanzine or something. Get your own opinion. Don't let somebody else talk for you. Do it yourself, because that's the only way you're gonna be heard.
Grant: Anything that's handed to you for nothing is something that somebody else has rejected.
Bob: Getting behind like "Dead cops!" or "Out of step with the world!" is all good for those bands, but like, I don't live like that. I'm like a normal person doing the only thing I know to keep myself sane, which is like playing.
Grant: That's normal? (jokingly)
Bob: No, no, that's what I do. People can see what they want. I'm not trying to tell people to be like us; that's the last thing I'd want people to do, what we're doing.
Grant: That was the one thing that used to fucking bum me out in school. I'd do something, and then you don't have to say, "I did it, and then somebody copied me." But then somebody would copy me or omething, right? I was really into like, just producing dumb shit, and a couple or three guys would start doing it, and it becomes popular. Just like the comic books and stuff I was making. And pretty soon, there were three comic books in my junior high.
Bob: You know what I'm trying to say? Suggestions are good,
messages I have
trouble with. Telling people this is what this should be, or this is how
this is. You know, like being a role model. There are bands that are real
role models for kids, and I think that can get real dangerous. Just do
what comes naturally; don't wait for the new whatever album to come out to
tell you how to do it. That's not where it's at. With the bands I like,
it's not so much their message, but more a feeling they give you when you
see them or hear them on record. You get a feeling of electricity. That's
what music should be, the way it's always been. I'm not saying you should
be like Keith Richards of course, but there's nothing wrong with a good
rock 'n' roll record.
Grant: You know the whole deal with tearing down the old to make room for the new. Music isn't city planning.
Bob: Rock 'n' roll's only been around for thirty years. It's great that it's been redefined and re-evolved, and it's mixed up and thrown up and thrown against the wall, but it's so timely to say that I hate the Stones, or I hate the.... You know, I do too, but that's only because I never liked them. You can't really say that the Beatles were shit or...
Grant: Elvis was fuuucked! (Cal accent)
Bob: Elvis was fuuucked!
Grant: Elvis was a fat fucker. (laughter)
Smash! (Marc): But I went through a phase where when I was younger I would get into stuff like the Stones and Aerosmith and stuff like that, but I got into them because I liked them, and I thought it was good rock 'n' roll. Then when I heard punk, I thought it as better rock 'n' roll.
Smash! (Jed): Got bored of that shit.
Grant: Yeah, it was like the Stones in '66 with a little more pep.
Bob: And probably next year you'll like something else. Not that you won't like it, but it will have evolved into something different.
Grant: You as a person will broaden.
Bob: Yeah, God forbid if the only record I had was a Germs album. You can only listen to it for so long. Or any album, for that matter. Land Speed Record. Anything. There's no sacred record. It's sort of hard to shit on anything that came out before you, because what any band is doing now would not be happening if it wasn't for Bob Dylan, or Arlo Guthrie, or the Beatles, or anybody, because that's pretty much where it all began. It just gets handed down.
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