Who The Fuck Is Grant Hart And Why Should We Care?
In 1978, Grant Hart met Bob Mould and they became friends. In 1979, they formed a band and called it Hüsker Dü. Within nine years, they had not only become more well known than they dared hope, but had severely influenced the next generation of rock music. Then the band broke up.
The statement “the second rat gets the cheese” could be no truer than in the case of Hüsker Dü. The band inspired most of the “alternative” bands that went on to greater success in the years just following their break-up. They were denied both their cheese as well as a hell of a good loaf of bread in the punk/alternative bubble that expanded with no apparent limits in the early 1990′s. Neither Grant nor Bob have ever voiced regrets over this situation. Both are driven by a confidence in their work and in their future. While most every band that played in the 80′s or 90′s have exhausted their potential (not only once, but twice in this decade of reunions), Grant and Bob (and Hüsker Dü bassist Greg Norton) are still chasing the horizon in front of them.
As the Eighties dragged to a close, Grant made his solo record, Intolerance, and to help promote it, he formed the band NOVA MOB. That band lasted for five years and during that time they released two full albums, an EP and three singles. Two very cool videos were made that benefited from Grant’s longtime love of theater and film.
After that, Grant scaled back considerably following a significant accident on the Autobahn which, for all intents and purposes, brought NOVA MOB to an end. One principal has been constant in Grant’s career: complete independence as an artist. With that came working for years on records in the name of “artistic control” which also meant “artist-funded.” To that end, Grant continued to jump techniques and genres. Grant has often blurred the boundaries of his musical and visual art. Spoken word and the unspoken words are used in the same lyric. The records Good News for Modern Man and Hotwax were both born of long gestating mothers. Touring alone by train or car enabled Grant to perform his music for audiences that were sincere in their interest and love of his music. As time went on, there were two questions that were repeated nightly: “When are you going to put a band together?” and “when are Hüsker Dü going to do a reunion?” Both questions were answered with the next song on the setlist.
Grant embarked upon a recording project that would challenge all of his earlier efforts in terms of long lasting impact. Taking his inspiration from John Milton’s seventeenth century classic, “Paradise Lost,” an album was constructed that folded in diverse ingredients, ranging from Copernicus to Duchamp, Bessie Smith to Lou Reed.
This album, The Argument, features twenty songs. They range from the menace of “Awake, Arise” to the lovelorn strains of “Is the Sky the Limit?” Although inspired by an archaic and impenetrable epic, there Is enough rock ‘n’ roll here to fill a high school sock hop. The fine pop edge that Grant Hart has honed since the his earliest works has never been so sharp as this.