The article below appeared in the 26 Nov 1980 issue of Sweet Potato,
a Minneapolis arts paper, as the "Caught In The Act" column. It's one of
several pieces reproduced in the Statues press kit, and is of interest not only
because it's one of the earliest writeups of the band, but also because it
presents one of several contradictory accounts of the first Hüsker gigs.
Greg, Grant & Bob don't wanna be stars
Hüsker Dü, Whew!
By Terry Katzman
Guitarist Bob Mould recalls the first encounter with Grant Hart and Greg Norton: "It was at the Ramones/Foreigner concert; we came late, our seats were up in the balcony so we knocked over about five security guards but we made it, right up front." In this state of reckless fervor and unbridled excitement the seeds of Hüsker Dü were planted.
Ultra-fast song delivery is a major component of any live Hüsker performance. Songs will invariably end and begin within the same breath or chord. With an impressive catalog boasting 50 or more originals, the music of Hüsker Dü speaks of a harsh world confused with inner anxieties, a society dealing with its own nightmarish realities.
"We've defined our own style, though our influences are so diverse," says guitarist Bob Mould. "I don't exactly know what that style is but it gets people nervous, real jittery."
Jittery is a conservative term at best. At a live Hüsker Dü performance anything can happen and often does happen. Blown amps, destroyed drum kits and battered guitars are but a few of the consequences of an evening with Hüsker Dü.
The first actual Hüsker Dü gig occurred at Spring Fest on the campus of Macalester where Mould is a student. t that time the band packed the place "mostly with friends." Zoogies played host to the first Minneapolis appearance by the trio, shortly after
Independence Day in 1979.
"It was the weekend after the Victims played," recalls Mould. "We played
one set and got kicked out 'cause we were too loud." Indeed, a Hüsker
Dü performance is tension, speed, timing and
aggressiveness all working
in perfect harmony. All three band members sing and compose, which gives them
creative possibilities not usually found in other trios.
The "lighter" side of public transportation is explored via "MTC," while the world's oldest profession is dealt with in "Sexual Economics." But it is the darker side, the more sinister side of human experience that capsulizes many of the band's finest songs: the grim nuclear prophecies of "Push The Button" and the cynical nod to numerical classification on computers in "Data Control." The use of amphetamines is explored to the hilt with "All Tensed Up" while the decay of the physical and emotional self provides the] basis for "Termination."
The name Hüsker Dü serves to confuse many. "We don't want to be stars," says Mould. "We want people to come and see us by their own choosing, then decide for themselves. The ambiguity of our name is enough that people won't know what to expect when they come and see us. We don't want to be pigeonholed...our records will never have a picture of us; we're not going to sell ourselves that way."
Live, the band has a stage presence quite unlike any
other local band. Grant Hart's ferocious drumming, coupled
with the electro-shock quiver of
bassist Greg Norton and the Flying V bombast of Mould along with the aid of
Hüsker "veggies" (loyal followers) usually turn the stage and the dance
floor into a throng of quivering and uncontrollably sweaty bodies.
Recently the band has begun to move away from their hundred-mile-an-hour
headbanging delivery, though they still remain the undisputed kings of speed
(a total of 20 songs were once delivered in under an half-hour). Newer
material shows the band moving into a more contemplative phase while still
adhering to the grim topics of everyday existence: the love song "Dianne"
[sic]; a near love song, "Gravity;" and the superbly dismal masterpiece
Undeniably, the band puts their stamp on the original material. A familiar guitar hook or riff occasionally surfaces, but before you place it, it disappears. The band exists on the sheer strength of their music, nothing else.
As of this writing, plans are being made for a West Coast tour after the first of the year. The band's strength as a front act (Johnny Thunders, Nash the Slash, Skafish) as well as headliners has prompted a much overdue out-of-town trip. In addition, the members of Hüsker Dü have formed their own Reflex Records, which will release the first single, "Statues/Amusement" sometime after Christmas.
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