A musician and songwriter who sang and played drums for the seminal alternative rock band Husker Du has died. Rolling Stone reports that Grant Hart is dead at 56 after being diagnosed with cancer.
Former bandmate Bob Mould confirmed Hart’s death, posting a remembrance on Facebook in which he wrote: “Grant Hart was a gifted visual artist, a wonderful story teller, and a frighteningly talented musician. Everyone touched by his spirit will always remember.”
Hart, Mould and bass player Greg Norton formed Husker Du in St. Paul, Minn., in the late 1970s. Hart wrote a number of the band’s signature songs, including “Diane,” “Pink Turns to Blue” and “Turn on the News.”
“Hart, who previously played keyboards in other Minnesota acts, became Husker Du’s drummer by default: He owned a drum kit — his older brother’s, who was killed by a drunk driver when Hart was 10 — and the band couldn’t find another drummer to join them,” Rolling Stone reports. “At the onset, Mould largely shouldered the songwriting load on Husker Du’s early albums — the breakneck live 1982 LP ‘Land Speed Record’ and 1983’s ‘Everything Falls Apart’ — but Hart would take the lead on early Du cuts like the post-punk ‘Statues,’ ‘Wheels’ and ‘What Do I Want?'”
Rolling Stone adds: “Although entrenched in the city’s burgeoning hardcore scene — fellow Twin Cities rockers the Replacements and Soul Asylum would also find nationwide audience – Husker Du didn’t neatly conform to the genre’s look or sound, with Hart often labeled a ‘hippie’ due to his long hair and habit of playing drums barefoot.”
Grant Hart, left, with former bandmate Bob Mould (Facebook)