From the Gut: Husker Du fans share their stories

Husker Du on the High Bridge
Husker Du photographed on the High Bridge in St. Paul; from left: Greg Norton, Grant Hart and Bob Mould. (Steve Hengstler/Courtesy of Numero Group)

The Current has a new podcast that tells the story of influential Twin Cities hardcore band Hüsker Dü. Do You Remember? is a five-part documentary podcast exploring Hüsker Dü's formative years and legacy through rare exclusive interviews with the band, as well as those who were around in the beginning.

In the run-up to the release of Do You Remember?, we asked Hüsker Dü fans to share some of their favorite stories about the band. The stories you shared were wonderful: From a bicylcle-crash-induced, bloodstained album; to seeing unforgettable live shows; to discovering Hüsker Dü through friends or serendipity — these stories illustrate the dedication of fans who had found a favorite band for life.

Mark F.

I was riding my bike back from the mall. I had just purchased a fresh copy of Zen Arcade from Camelot Music. I had the album under my arm as to not damage it from bouncing off the front tire of my bike and the handlebars. I was heading down the hill in front of my house and hit the brake — the brake for the front tire because I had the album under the other arm. I went head-first into the ditch. Album went flying. I was bruised and bloodied.

I knocked my mom over trying to get upstairs to my Kenwood turntable. I hurt, I was bleeding and I just stood there as "Something I Learned Today" came on. I listened to all four sides. The blood was beginning to coagulate. I had gotten blood on the cover. Sh*t!! As it closed with 12 to 15 minutes of "Reoccurring Dream," I knew I had just experienced something amazing. Blood is still on the album. Totally worth it. Hüsker 4 Life!!

Michael S.

I got into them soon after they broke up, which is my pattern. I heard Grant's song "2541" on college radio and I had to hear everything else. They we're the first indie band that I really latched on to. Changed my life.

Neal M.

Hearing Zen Arcade for the first time was one of the first times I realized that I had heard a truly "perfect" album. Every album before and after was amazing and showed off yet another facet of this amazing band. There are connections that I've made with lifelong friends because of their music.

Colleen W.

I remember hearing the DJs on "Rock of Rages" play their tracks. I would sit by the radio with my tape recorder ready to hit the record button when a song came on that I liked. I have a recording of "Diane" from that show. It was creepy to me, because I have a sister named Diane.

James L.

Not really a story, but I love the video of Hüsker Dü on Good Company [a local Minneapolis television program that ran from 1982 to 1994] — the ladies clapping at the end of their performance is fantastic.


Heather L.

The year Purple Rain was up for a lot of Minnesota Music Awards — probably 1984 — I begged my mom or dad to take me to the Carlton Celebrity Dinner Theater in Bloomington, Minn., because I could not drive (I was 14). My mother agreed, bless her heart. The award show was great! But Prince was a no-show. I was devastated. He won at least two awards, maybe six; I really don't remember. His sister accepted them on his behalf.

But — this was also the night I got to see Hüsker Dü perform live for the first time. They played "Makes No Sense At All," and my mouth was wide open the entire time. I f*****g LOVED it and am still so thankful and grateful for that moment to this day.

Also, I shared this story with Greg Norton a few years back (and he has a great story about that night as well; ask him for it), Hüsker Dü decided to rent a limo for the occasion because why the hell not? So they pull up to the Carlton Celebrity Dinner Theater (which is now the site of the Howard Johnsons hotel by the Mall America) and there are Minneapolis paparazzi EVERYWHERE because everyone thinks this is Prince pulling up. So Greg and Bob and Grant get out of the limo all smiley, thinking the cameras might be for them, and the camera guys see that this is clearly not Prince and walk away not giving two [hoots]! Epic Hüsker Dü moment.

Dave B.

Saw them twice — in West Hartford, Conn., at the Agora, and someplace in New Haven. At the latter show, somebody threw a beer bottle that hit Grant's drum kit, and he understandably walked off for a few minutes. Man, Hüsker Dü blazed like crazy!

Ed K.

Back in the mid to late 80s, my girlfriend, who may have sensed I was thinking about breaking up with her, gave me Warehouse: Songs and Stories as a gift because she knew my taste in music and thought I would like it. Good call! I did end up breaking up with her a couple of months later, but I did keep the disc and played it often — and had to think of her when I did, of course.

Joe M.

I never listened to the band until after they broke up, mostly because my roommates were so into them. One day in '88, one of my roommates sat me down and ran me through a series of songs from Flip Your Wig and New Day Rising. When I got to "Celebrated Summer," I wasn't just hooked, the band's music became part of my life. To this day, Hüsker Dü remain my favorite band.

Tony G.

No spectacular story here, other than I went to high school from '86 to '90 and Hüsker Dü were a big part of all of the punk rock and alternative music that I was consuming at that time. I became a big fan of Bob Mould as a solo artist and loved his later stuff as well.

Sun R.

Hüsker Dü were hugely influential on my musical taste. New Day Rising was a complete game-changer in that it connected all the dots that had previously been unconnected regarding jangly Byrds-type folk-rock and hardcore punk. Opened a whole new dimension to how I approached music myself. Thanks, Hüskers!

Simba B.

My best friend Alice Phoenix broadcast all of Zen Arcade on Christmas Day on her radio show "New Day Rising" on KFAI. I still have cassette tapes of the show.

Angus F.

Heard a track from Zen Arcade on John Peel's show on BBC Radio 1. The record shop didn't have it, but it did have Hüsker Dü's Metal Circus EP; I bought it without listening to it and my life changed forever within 30 seconds. DJing at Dingwalls in 1989, I played "Eight Miles High" and a (non-punker) guy asked me, "What kind of music is this?" … not easy to answer …

Peter N.

Was a fan of Hüsker Dü for a while (but never saw anything more than a few grainy photos in various music mags) before seeing them live for the first time. Seeing them live in early '85 sort of blew my mind: a big, burly dude with a flying V and a wrestling jersey; a heavyset hippie drummer; and an athletic, dapper dude with handlebar mustache. It was so WEIRD. But that was one of their best qualities, they were everyday Joes who sounded massive! They were the greatest.

Rich W.

I, with three or four friends, got to see Hüsker Dü at the now-gone Moby Dicks one night. It was days before they released the "8 Miles High" single; they played it for us. And by "play for us," I mean that it seemed like the gig was a "mis-booking": they were grumpy about being there, my friends and I were the only people there besides three or four locals watching a North Stars game on the (small) TV. In fact, the bar made Hüsker Dü wait for the game to end before they could play. We brought our chairs right to the "stage" (on the floor, no stage) and they gave us a personal show. They played like they were in front of thousands of people, and gave us little stories about songs before each one. At one point, my friends and I got up and thrashed around … the Hüskers played ferociously and amazingly. I had seen them before and many times after, but that was an all-time favorite show for me from ANY band.

Michelle D.

I saw Hüsker Dü when I was 15 at a small all-ages club called Norman's in Denver, Colorado. It changed my life. The lyrics, the music, everything. On my 40th birthday, my husband surprised me with tickets to see Bob Mould play in Portland. That night, I was able to tell Bob what his, Grant's, and Greg's music has meant to me over the years. I'm 46 now, and when I read of Grant's passing, I cried. It's like a piece of my youth has been taken away. I will always love Hüsker Dü and I'm proud to say my 12-year-old daughter loves them too.

June Y.

I love the Replacements, but it was wonderful getting to know their friends/rivals/hardcore counterparts through the lens of Minneapolis post-punk. Flip Your Wig was an amazing album and hit me at just the right time. When I came to Red Wing, Minn., to do an arts residency, I had to seek out Greg Norton's restaurant. It all added to the Minneapolis mystique for me.

Ken F.

I was lucky enough to talk to Grant Hart a few times at shows during the early solo and Nova Mob years. He was always approachable, genuine, and kind. After a CBGBs Nova Mob show, I was complaining that they didn't get to play long enough. He asked my name and said he'd put me on the guest list for the Maxwell's show a few days later. To my shock, he actually did! No other rockstar I've ever met has been nearly as down to earth as he was. Rest in peace.

David H.

Hüsker Dü has been a part of my musical soul since I roamed the streets of Uptown as a snot-nosed punk-rocker in the mid-80s. Their all-ages shows at First Avenue were legendary events for us, and it was an even bigger treat to see Grant cruising around town in his Studebaker from time to time.

John T.

Many nights listening to Zen Arcade right after I moved here, I got great solace as I was getting my head kicked in trying to start my life and career here. Songs like "Don't Give Up" hit me hard and helped me get through a lot. I'm very thankful for all they produced and enjoyed them live very much.

Kathy U.

The most obscure time I saw Hüsker Dü was at a loft in Lowertown St. Paul. It was way cool; not many people but still quite a few. I think that time was even on my birthday, which would have meant it was October 9, but I can't remember the year; probably 1980 or 1981. We also saw them at Goofy's; another very cool show.

Ed B.

I've been a fan since buying Zen Arcade in the early 1980s in a record store in Mobile. Never got to see them live, though.

Dan A.

I remember watching a show from the balcony, stage left, at First Avenue and marveling at the band's power and energy — thankful I was not in the mosh pit below.

Brenda H.

Saw them at a Madison, Wisconsin, show while in college, in perhaps 1984. I was psyched to see them, being from Minneapolis myself. Loud, fun, crazy night!

Related content

Do You Remember? is a five-part documentary podcast exploring Husker Du's formative years and legacy through rare exclusive interviews with the band, as well as those who were around in the beginning.

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  • First Listen: Hüsker Dü: Savage Young Dü It's tough to think of a rock band as ferocious as Husker Du that has been more badly served by its recording history. Chicago label the Numero Group has taken the band's early material and given it the treatment it deserves.

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