Grant Hart, Hüsker Dü Drummer/Singer, Dead at 56

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Hüsker Dü (l. to r.): Greg Norton, Grant Hart, Bob Mould

Drummer/singer Grant Hart, one-third of the Minnesota band Hüsker Dü, died in St. Paul, Minn., this morning (Sept. 14) following a battle with cancer, according to multiple reports. He was 56.

In a statement posted on Facebook, Bob Mould, the band’s guitarist, primary songwriter and other vocalist, wrote, “The tragic news of Grant’s passing was not unexpected to me. My deepest condolences and thoughts to Grant’s family, friends, and fans around the world. Grant Hart was a gifted visual artist, a wonderful story teller, and a frighteningly talented musician. Everyone touched by his spirit will always remember.”

Formed in St. Paul, Minn., in 1979, Hüsker Dü—whose name means “Do you remember?” in Danish—also included bassist Greg Norton. Originally a punk band, they later expanded into other, more melodic areas of alternative rock. They released six studio albums and a live alum before splitting in 1987, and influenced bands such as Nirvana, Metallica and Smashing Pumpkins.

Grant Hart in a promotional photo

Grantzberg Vernon Hart was born in St. Paul on March 18, 1961. He began playing drums as a teen and met Mould in the late ’70s. Along with Norton, they formed Hüsker Dü and released their first single, “Statues,” on their own Reflex label in 1981. Hart and Mould shared vocal duties for the band, whose debut album, the live Land Speed Record, was released in 1982 on the New Alliance label. It was followed by the EP Metal Circus and the album Everything Falls Apart, both in 1983.

The stature of Hüsker Dü increased greatly in 1984 with the release of Zen Arcade, a double album—their most celebrated recording—released on SST Records. It was followed in 1985 by New Day Rising and Flip Your Wig (both on SST), and in 1986 by Candy Apple Grey, on the major label Warner Bros. Warehouse: Songs and Stories (Warner Bros.) became the trio’s final release, after which they went their separate ways, reportedly because Hart’s heroin use at the time was impacting the band’s performances.

Related: 20 classic punk rock songs

In 1988, Hart released a solo EP, 2541, followed by four solo studio albums (beginning with 1989’s Intolerance) and one live set. He formed the band Nova Mob in 1989, for which he switched to guitar; that band stayed together for 10 years, after which Hart concentrated n his solo career.

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Listen to Hüsker Dü’s cover of the Byrds’ “Eight Miles High”

A new 3-CD collection of demos, rehearsals and live performances, Savage Young Dü, is being released on Nov. 10. Pre-order and track listing: here.

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