Hüsker Dü Database
Magazine articles & interviews

Truly Needy #9, Early 1985

Truly Needy was the brainchild of Barbara A. Rice, who published the zine between 1983-1985. This interview was conducted in June of 1984 in Washington DC during the ZA tour. The date is most likely 24 Jun 1984.

kay, who's big,
makes good music
and is from
Minneapolis?  Not
Prince this time.
Sure you've been
reading too many
interviews with

HUSKER DU, but is it our
fault that Prince rarely
speaks to the press?  This
interview is different, we
swear.  We talked to BOB
NORTON at the TN Swann St.
bunker after their show
here in June.  They took
turns talking and showering

after that sweaty gig.  We
ended up speaking to them
individually and together
about their lives, their
hopes, their dreams, blah,
blah, blah...And you
thought all Husker Du
interviews were alike.
Present at this bull
session were Kathleen
Connell, Barbara Rice, Dan
Snoke and Bill Wort.

TN: Actually, we had a list
of questions for you to

GREG: A little test?

TN: A little test of ideo-
logical punk rock theory.

GREG: That's scary.

TN: What's the question
everyone always asks now?
How's your tour going?

GRANT: It's going really
good.  We're playing really
well this trip.

GREG: We're playing practi-
cally every night also this

TN: How do you guys stand


GREG: You've got a job.
You have to work every day,
don't you?

TN: Do you make enough to
make a living off the band?

GREG: When we're on the
road, yes, we're living off
of the band.  When we're
living back home we usually
don't play a lot at home so
there's not a lot of money
coming in.

TN: Do you have to take up

other jobs then?

GREG: Well, I used to work
in this Italian restaurant.
I waited tables.  Then they
sold the place.  I didn't
like the guy that bought
the place.  So, I quit.  So
I'm one of the truly needy.

TN: I get the feeling that
you guys are expecting to
break out of that hardcore

GRANT: We've broken out of
it.  It's just those people
who come to see us.

GREG: They come to see us
because we put on one hell
of a show.

TN: What if they decide
they don't want to see you?
Who else is going to come
see you?

GREG: Other people...

TN: But I didn't see a lot
of other people there to-

GREG: Since we did arrive
very late tonight I didn't
really have a good chance
to look at the audience,
but generally a large per-
centage of the audience are
people that are very normal
looking, people who look
like they are into other
types of music, like heavy
metal or something.

GRANT: Heavy metal is
stupid, especially the new
heavy metal that's out now.
It's vile, it's horrible,
it's been around for 20

TN: A lot of the oyunger
hardcore kids are into
those groups like Venom and
Twisted Sister....  I saw a
bunch of Led Zeppelin t-

GRANT: Led Zeppelin can
chew up any one of those
fucking, weirdo-ass, let's
wear spikes and be assholes
heavy metal bands.

GREG: In Minneapolis the
"hardcore" kids don't
really come to see us that
much any more.  Our audience
in Minneapolis is just a
bunch of regular types.

GRANT: They come to see us
as much as anybody else
except it's not
predominantly that.

TN: My friends who saw you
in Minneapolis said that
[you] didn't start out as a
"hardcore" band.  You were
just a band.

GRANT: We were a band who
played their balls off.  As
we got better at playing,
we got faster at playing.
I hadn't touched my instru-
ment for four years before
Husker Du.

TN: Before that what were
you doing?

GRANT: I was in racing
cars...  I was playing key-
boards which is kind of
hard while you're racing
cars.  Especially those
Bach fugues, got no time to

TN: Tell us about your
double album.

GRANT: It's bitchin', it
rules.  It's got everything
anybody could need.

GREG: I think that sums it

GRANT: Except for our next
album, by which time there
should be a need for
that...  It's the ultimate.
It's the best thing that's
ever been recorded.

TN: Really?

GRANT: Well, "Silent Night"
is actually a pretty good

TN: So you're starting to
do a lot of covers now?

GRANT: "Eight Miles High"
is the first cover we've
attempted to do since "Sun-
shine Superman" on
Everything Falls Apart.

TN: How different is it
from "Metal Circus"?

GRANT: Completely
different.  None of the
songs are the same at all.

TN: Oh great!

GRANT: It's geodesic
shaped.  The idea is that
everyone will have to get a
new stereo.

TN: This friend of mine
taped your earlier con-
certs, including a song
called "Drug Party">  He
still maintains that's one
of the best songs in the

GREG: We still do that.

GRANT: That's one I really
have reservations about
doing, let alone recording.
You take the song "Diane">
A lot of assholes totally
misconstrued it, let alone
the ending of "Blah, Blah,
Blah">  If that is racist
then if we record "Drug

Party" there's going to be
a lot of kids overdosing.
If everything is similarly
misconstrued...  People
can't tell this from 
anything else.

TN: When Truman Capote
wrote In Cold Blood, did he
advocate murder?  You wrote

GRANT: ...From a similar
point of view.

TN: What kind of effect do
you really have on people?
Do you think it might give
them some kind of sympathy
for what a girl might go

GRANT: I just hope that,
not just girls, but anybody
would really watch out when
they get into the position
where somebody could do
that to them.  Look at 
Lucas.  He murdered 200
some people who were
hitchhikers and who had
broken down on the road.
Just because you need help
doesn't mean that anybody
that's offering it to

TN: What about the Atlanta

GRANT: The Atlanta kids is
a slightly different
story...  I think they
needed Wayne Williams to be
guilty.  If that hadn't been
a black person that would
have had very severe
consequences on the city of
Atlanta.  A lot of those
murders weren't committed
by him.

TN: We try not to be like
other interviewers but
here's a question they al-
ways ask:  who are the best
bands you've been playing
  What are some of your
favorite bands?  What do
you listen to when you're
driving along?  Do you
listen to the radio?

BOB: The radio does not go
on.  Unless it's a talk
show, Larry King.  My
favorite song is a take off
on Boy George's "Karma Cha-
meleon".  (Sings)"...we wear
our jeans/but when we get
up on stage/we act like
country queens."  That's
the only good song on the
radio this year.... I'm not
really in the mood to lis-
ten to anything after
soundcheck and playing.
You're really not in the
mood to hear Duran Duran's
new single.

GRANT: My favorite way of
listening to things on the

road is a jukebox a block
away in a restaurant.

BOB: Distant hits...  I'll
have you know that this is
the second night we've set
an attendance record in a
particular venue.

TN: Do you guys feel like
you're really on a roll?

GRANT: Definitely.  This is
the roll we've been waiting
for.  I don't want it to
get out of hand.  We just
want to keep it right where
it is.

TN: No pictures of Bob in
Tiger Beat?

BOB: Matter magazine's next
issue is going to have a
Tiger Beat feature.
Favorite foods...

TN: Maybe you guys could do
a hardcore type "Spinal
Tap" except that everything
goes well.

BOB: There are so many
bands doing that now.  And
they think it's serious.

GRANT: Nyah, nyah, they put
us eigth on the bill...

TN: About your symbol, I
thought that was kind of

BOB: The circle is the
band, the three lines
across are the members and
the intersection is the
common train of thought...
Some people think it looks
like Psychic TV's.  It
freaked me out when I saw
theirs because I had been
corresponding regularly
with Genesis P-Orridge and
we exchanged a lot of ideas
and stuff.  It was kind of
telekinetic or something.

GRANT: What's really stupid
are the fucking people who
come to our shows, see
people slamming and really
get into the violence.
It's the sickest thing to
come between me and my
music.  There was this cat
at the show last night.  He
was standing right in front
of my drums.  He pushes my
bass drum back and my snare
drum went, bang!, right in
my balls.  It's hard to
sing while that's happening
to you.  I talked to him
outside and asked him "Hey,
what did you think of our
show tonight?"  He said,
"Yeah, it was pretty good">
I said, "what song did you
like the best?"  He said,
I don't know the name of
any of your songs".

TN: A lot of people think

that "punk rock" is an
excuse to be an asshole?

BOB: It is.  How do you
think we're successful?

TN: Do you guys think
you're one of these under-
ground successes like...

BOB: Hawkwind?  We're one
of these bands that, when
the year 2000 comes along,
after a 14-16 years lapse,
when they're lost for some-
thing creative they go back
one generation and steal
all that.

TN: What new things do you
think you bring to music?

BOB: People confuse us as a
negative band.  Like some
of our lyrics...  I don't
know how to describe it.  I
think we have a lot more
impact.  There's a lot more
thought behind the writing.
I'm really careful about
writing.  It's weird they
can have this aggressive
feel.  To me it's real
positive...  There's a lot
of contradictions in our
delivery and our general
philosophy.  That's a part
of the thing about [us] that
we're so open.  We open
people and in doing so
people take a whole bunch
of different stances on us.

I'm sure different people
like us for different rea-
sons, whereas with a band
like DRI...  There's only
one reason to like them.  I
think with us there's a lot
of reasons why people can
like us.  It's not just one
or two things.

TN: Would you consider
yourselves the American
Buzzcocks?  You always re-
mind me of them.

BOB: Some people have said

GRANT: "I Believe" is my
favorite Buzzcocks song...
In "You Say You Don't Love
Me", the whole feeling and
the whole perception of the
other character changes so
much during that song.

BOB: You can be in first
person and then move your-
self to third.  And change
tenses.  It's like cut-up.
When people look at it they
can be in any of the posi-

TN: Do you consider
yopurselves more arty, more
serious writers?

BOB: Definitely.
Everything I do is serious.
If it wasn't serious we
wouldn't be doing it.

TN: Do you think you'll get
into the Top 10?

BOB: I see a possibility.

TN: We were wondering why
we liked "Eight Miles High"
so much and we figured out
it was because it had that
air of desperation in it, a
lot of strong feeling.  Was
that intentional?

BOB: It was whatever came
out of my mouth.  There's
no real big explanation.  I
liked the song.  I wanted
to do it.  That was the way
it came out.  There was
nothing we could do to
change it... I think we did
it real well.  If Roger
McGuinn heard it, I don't
think he'd be at all
opposed to liking it.

GRANT: It would be interes-
ting to hear what Rog would

BOB: I would care to hear
what Crosby would have to
say.  He might come after
me with a gun!  He
(McGuinn) was in town
(Minneapolis) just a while
ago.  He and Crosby were
there the same night.

TN: Old farts night.  Some
people haven't really be-
come old farts, have they?

GRANT: Captain Beefheart

BOB: Bruce Springsteen
hasn't yet.  I don't like
him at all but I still have
a lot of admiration for his
doing it.

GRANT: Lou Reed just grew

BOB: You can touch your
life in an orderly,
outwardly mature manner but
you should never stop being
a kid.  You should always
have a silly thing to do
when everybody else leaves.
the apartment, like play
with toy cars or something.

TN: Do you have any
inspirations?  Any particu-
lar authors.

BOB:  Fran Leibowitz.  She's
really funny.  She's really
snide.  I like Marshall
McLuhan.  Vance Packard.
The Hidden Persuaders.

The conversation then broke
down into about five
different intricate
discussions.  Some topics:
professional wrestling,
Nazi punks, favorite movies,
and other important issues
of the day.


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