Although I didn’t really discover the punk rock genre until my early twenties, there is no question that it is one of the reasons some of my favorite bands exist. Comprised of Bob Mould, Grant Hart, and Greg Norton, Husker Du is one of music’s most influential punk bands that a lot of people know nothing about.
I first read about Husker Du in SPIN magazine about thirteen years ago. Because so many bands I loved cited them as being extremely impactful, I wanted to know more. That was the day my significant other took me to punk rock school.
There’s so much interesting history regarding the inception Huker Du – in fact the band was named after a board game (“in which the child can outwit the adult”) that used to be advertised on TV. According to Mould’s book, See A Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody, which I read in 2015, “the name Husker Du was an identifier, not a description.”
Here is why this band, which only technically performed under the name Husker Du between 1979 and 1987, will always matter:
10) Don’t let the three-chord riffs and loud lyrics fool you – lead singer Mould is definitely a storyteller.
9) Music helped Mould work through his chaotic childhood and alcohol abuse, along with coming to terms with being a gay man in a rock band.
8) Band members Hart, Mould, and Norton quickly realized that “if the song is good, it will resonate, no matter what the orchestration.”
7) The band’s sound, lyrics, and presence were designed to shock people in the best way possible.
6) Husker Du had a huge influence on the Pixies – in fact, there was an ad placed in a 1986 newspaper that said: “Bassist wanted for rock band. Influences: Husker Du and Peter, Paul and Mary.”
5) The band has many fun facts tied to them such as: When Husker Du played an Indian reservation in Reno, the flyer listed the band as “Who Screwed You.”
4) All three band members were pivotal to Husker Du’s sound.
3) People who were influenced by Mould’s work and who influence his work include Kevin Shields from My Bloody Valentine, Frank Black of the Pixies, and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters.
2) I’ll say it again because it bears repeating: Husker Du heavily influenced the Foo Fighters.
1) While 1985’s New Day Rising is usually the hardcore fans’ choice, I think 1986’s Candy Apple Grey is their masterpiece because it’s incredibly relatable to the all-around music fans while still being exciting enough for the punk fans.
Today’s announcement of 56-year-old Grant Hart’s death as a result of liver cancer is an enormous loss to music. May he rest in peace.