Hüsker Dü Database
Magazine articles & interviews

Suburban Punk #8, 1984

Suburban Punk, soon to become "Suburban Voice," was a Boston-area fanzine published by Al Quint, a longtime supporter of the local music scene, from his Lynn apartment. Issue #8 came out in early '84 and included not only the interview below conducted by Al and his cohort Andy Thurston, but also reviews of the Metal Circus EP and the Minutemen/Hüsker Dü show at the Channel in Boston.

     Husker Du (Bob Mould, guitar; Greg Norton, bass; Grant Hart, drums)
have been around since 1979 and they've always been a band whose sound is
constantly evolving.  They have released a post-punkish single "Statues"
(Reflex-1980), an unbelievably thrashing live album, "Land Speed Record"
(New Alliance-1981), that predates much of the hardcore onslaught that was
to follow.  1982 brought the incredibly poppish "In A Free Land" single and
the "Everything Falls Apart" album, both on Reflex and both of which broke
much new ground for the Huskers.  This year's "Metal Circus" continues the
evolution, distancing the band further from more generic-sounding hardcore
while not compromising the intensity of their sound.  We interviewed Bob
after their Channel show...

Al: Where did the name Husker Du come from? Bob: It's a board game that was real popular in the '60s, and it's Swedish for "do you remember?" Andy: Any particular reason why you chose it? Bob: Pretty ambiguous. It's not like a punk name or it's not like a new wave name. It's just a name so people know what band it is. Andy: 'that's Husker Du!...' Bob: Instead of, like, 'oh they're Big Death Blood Excret- ion, so they must be punk so let's go see them.' Al: Where do you feel you fit in with the punk movement? Bob: Oh, I guess we used to fit in real good with the hardcore thing a couple of years ago or even last year, but now I don't know, it's changing. Everybody's doing the fast stuff and everybody's starting to sound the same at it, so we're not trying to move away from it; we're just moving in our own direction. Al: I want to ask you about "Deadly Skies." It shows, to me anyway, sort of a feeling of helplessness about nuclear war. Bob: Yeah, it also deals a lot with people who see pro- testers walking around carrying signs that someone else painted for them to try to get attention for a cause they know nothing about. As far as the whole thing with nuclear war is concerned, I don't think that anybody's even come up with a half-baked idea of how to cut down on the chances for nuclear war. It's like, 'Oh, let's cut back the weapons.' Well, what's the difference between the 40,000, which there is now, and 500? It's like the was was over and everybody lost the second they made the first one. We all lost right then. There's nothing we can do about it- it's fucked.

Andy:  When you said earlier about how a lot of the hardcore
bands are starting to sound real thrashed-out and all the
same, do you feel that your earlier work may have inspired
them?  Your live EP was really wild.
Bob:  Well, that'd be nice to think that we did.  There's
nothing wrong with that; we're sort of flattered by it.
We're not saying that stuff sucks, it's just that we're
doing something else now.  We're still doing high-energy
Al:  Which of your records do you feel most proud of?
Bob:  The one that hasn't come out yet.  We have a double
album coming out in April.*
Al:  You did quite a few songs I haven't heard before.  Are
those going to be on the album?
Bob:  Yeah.  Most of those are the big ones off the album.
There's about 25 on the new one.  "Masochism World" is the
new one with the weird stops in it.
Al:  What's "Real World" about?  Do you think that anar-
chists are living intheir own world and don't really fit
Bob:  No, I just think people who pretend they're anarchists
are living in someone else's world.  Anarchists are fine
if they really believe in what they're doing.  A lot of
people don't understand the different thoughts that go into
anarchy.  The kids just put the T-shirts on.
Andy:  Speaking of anarchists, Crucifix was here today.
Bob:  We know those guys.  They're into the thing.
Al:  They started a commune.  Andy:  They want to be British.
Bob:  Whatever they want to do, man, just as long as they
believe in it.  I don;t have to.  Just let me be.
Andy:  Do you ever get put down by people?  Like I know
Tesco Vee has, you claim, put you down, but has anyone else,
like the people at Maximum Rocknroll put you down?
Bob:  I have an awfully big ego.  It wouldn't bother me.
I know what I'm doing.  Fuck the rest of them.  If they
like it, fine.  If they don't, fine too.
Al:  How did you get hooked up with SST?
Bob:  That was something that was pretty much inevitable.
We worked with New Alliance and we've done records by our-
selves.  When "Metal Circus" came out, we recorded it out
there (in California), with Spot and stayed at SST and those
gyuys said 'We'll put this one out if you want' and they
said they could get it out when they promised to get it out
and they did- well, it was 2 months late.  We had been plan-
ning to work with them for a long time; it was just a mat-
ter of which record.
Al:  Have you toured out of the country at all?
Bob:  No, we're supposed to go to England next year.
We've got a big thing in the NME next week.
Andy:  I wonder how you're going to do in England be-
cause they're really trendsetters over there.
Bob:  Yeah, well maybe we'll set a new trend!
Andy:  Are you going to go with The Minutemen?
Bob:  No, I don't know who we'd be going with.  Maybe The
Minutemen or the Meat Puppets.  You ought to hear their new
album.  It's fuckin' great!  It's commercial sounding, but
it's so cool, like their folkies stuff, like the Neil
Young-type stuff.  It's like that type of stuff crossed
with Elvis Presley.  It's like the Meat Puppets did a bunch
or acid and went and jammed with Elvis and Neil Young.
That's what it sounds like.
Andy:  What were your influences?

Bob:  I used to get jukebox singles for a penny apiece
when I was 4 or 5 years old.  I used to listen to 60s
pop and stuff like that.  Then I stopped listening to
music; then I started listening to heavy metal when I
13 and started listening to the Ramones and then I
started making music.
Al:  You've been doing it for about 4 years, now?
Bob:  Yeah, we've been a band for almost 5 years and I've
been playing about 7.  Yeah, we're still in there.  We
haven't broken up yet.  It's always been the same lineup.
We never even switch sides when we play.
Andy:  where do you get your wild shirts from?
Bob:  Goodwills and a place called Ragstock, where they
bring in clothes by the barrel and you just pick through
them.  Those are great places.  I go there like every week.
Andy:  what do you think of the Channel's no stage-diving
Bob:  Well, when I heard why they do it- about the thing
where the kid that broke his wrist and sued the club and
won.  It's a miracle we could even play.  It's a miracle
they still put up with you guys.  I don't want to sound
negative, but you should be grateful that we've got this
Al:  Where do you feel politics fit into the punk scene?
Bob:  I just think information's a little cooler than
Andy:  'Cause you guys don't really have any political
songs.  You're not like 'Kill the army, blow up the city!'
Bob:  Yeah, and everybody knows that.  There's other bands
that're doing it and believe in it.  We just don't get in-
to that.  We get up and tell stories.  We just tell our
little stories.
Andy:  Like "Diane?"
Bob:  Yeah.  That's a true story about a girl that we knew
that got raped and killed, as seen through the rapist's
Al:  Where do you see the band going?
Bob:  Probably not MTV.  I wouldn't mind if we got real,
real big.  There's nothing wrong with telling our stories
to a lot of people.  We're definitely not going to change
our aggressiveness.
Al:  The aggressiveness seems to have become a lot more
Bob:  Yeah, it's not so much just the wild flailing around
as much now.  It's real directed.
Andy:  Do you ever have the urge to just flail away like
you used to?
Bob:  Yeah, we have our lapses where we sort of revert
back but, basically, I don't really get off on that, much,
any more. I'd rather just look into people and tell them
my stories.  Just try to go right at people instead of 
just shut my eyes and flail away.  That stuff's fun-there's
definitely nothing wrong with it, but the rush goes away
after a while.
Andy:  How come you use a Flying-V?
Bob:  I've had that ever since I started playing.

Al:  What bands are happening in Minneapolis right now?
Bob:  Loud Fast Rules, Rifle Sport, Chemical Lounge (?),**
Final Conflict.  Chemical Lounge are a pretty weird band-
sort of psychedelic blues-type stuff.  Everyone says Rifle
Sport sound like The Porletariat.
Andy:  Al says you sound like Mission of Burma.
Al:  I see some similarities.
Bob:  We played with those guys 3 years ago and we got on
with them real well.  I really like those guys a lot.  We've
known them for a long time.
Andy:  What are your favorite bands?
Bob:  REM.  I like them a lot.  I think they're really good.
I don't like any of these new LA psychedelic bands like
Rain Parade.  Dream Syndicate are OK.  Rain Parade bit it.
I didn't like The Neats.  I had a hard time with them.  I
tried to like them but I couldn't.  They played Minneapolis
and they were real tired and the music was tired too, like
they weren't into it.  I like Articles of Faith. I saw
White Cross the other night in Philadelphia and they've
gotten a lot better.  Butthole Surfers are really great.
Andy:  Have you ever had problems in any cities?
Bob:  Portland (Oregon) was pretty weird.  Seattle was
weird the second time we went, but the third time it was
really good.  St. Louis is real weird:  I didn't get into
that too much.  Tulsa's great, with None Of The Above.  A
lot of people came out for the shows.
(Talk about a cartoon in Smash!, with Grant Hart telling
a Husker fan the whole world is completely insane.)
Al:  So you're opening the world up to the Husker Du gospel?
Bob:  we're not really trying to unite everybody,
'cause that's just not going to happen.  People should
just figure out theeeir own life.  This stuff is fun, but
you know this isn't going to be forever.  You've got to
think about your real life, your real day-to-day existence-
that's what's real important.  I used to be really into it
and not care, and I didn't have any money- couldn't live
anywhere or do anything.
Al:  I think that, for a small group of people, the ideals
are going to continue to exist.  They're just going to
manifest themselves in a different form.
Bob:  Yeah, it always evolves.  Not that you have to desert
it or be a traitor to it or anything.  You just have to keep
your own stuff in perspective to it all.  Don't listen to
what everyone tells you about it.  I'm a real cynical person.
I believe what I believe in.
Andy:  Has anyone ever given you a hard time about the way
you look?  (I.e., 'they don't look hardcore!')
Bob:  No, we really don't get anything for that.  Once in
a while- we got a couple of letters from people out in Cali-
fornia- "you guys have the right idea, but you can't be
hardcore because you don't lookthat way."  I just wrote
the guy back and I said, 'Please don't ever bother to
write us again.'  I said, 'We don't need your kind of crap
coming in our mailbox.'

* Reference is to Zen Arcade, eventually released in July 1984.
** This would be Otto's Chemical Lounge, whose album was later released on Reflex.

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