Nearly three decades of hindsight has only solidified Husker Du’s place as alt-rock pioneers and a template for the genre’s early '90s boom but, it can be argued, all of the kudos has been one-sided.
Founded in the Twin Cities in 1979, Husker Du’s speed-punk origins eventually morphed into the sonic template made famous more than a decade later by Nirvana and, for better or for worse, copied by many a band tagging themselves as “alternative” today. But the band’s true strength was in its songs, and, in the band’s case, there were two stellar songsmiths – Bob Mould and Grant Hart – at the wheel.
At the tail end of 1987, Husker Du unceremoniously and with little fanfare, called it a day. Of the two songsmiths, Mould would prove to be the victor in terms of critical acclaim (see his still-haunting 1989 solo debut, “Workbook”) and, in the next decade, commercially (as the leader of Sugar, Mould reaped the rewards of the alt-rock boom) and, today, is revered as a punk-alt godfather.
While Hart’s contributions to Husker Du are equal, both in quality and nearly in quantity, the props have been slow, if coming at all, compared to those received over the last quarter century-plus by Mould.
To his credit, Mould’s post-Huskers output has been steady, compared to Hart, and Mould, more often than not, has been blessed with top-notch publicity and promotion for his new releases, whereas Hart sets have been hit-or-miss in terms of getting the word out.
Case in point: in 1999, Hart put out “Good News for Modern Man,” which is without a doubt his finest solo set and on par with all of Mould’s better post-Husker offerings and worth seeking out now by any means. Unfortunately, “Modern” didn’t reach the masses in the way a Husker/solo Mould offering would and, despite critical raves, was mostly heard only by those in the know.
Last year, Mould put out his autobiography, “See a Little Light” which, while a stellar read, finds Hart taking some serious blows. Perhaps one day we will get the broader picture of the band with Hart’s side of the story.
Grant Hart, 8 p.m. Jan. 12, Red Line Tap, 7006 N. Glenwood, Chicago. $11.34 (21 and older). FYI: (773) 274-5463, HEARTLANDCAFE.COM
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For more information, contact the venues or ticket sales agencies listed below. Unless otherwise indicated, all shows are all-ages.
Brandy, Jan. 19, The Venue at Horseshoe Casino (21 and older, HORSESHOEHAMMOND.COM)
Justin Bieber, July 9, United Center (UNITEDCENTER.COM)
Marcus Foster, May 20, Lincoln Hall (18 and older, LINCOLNHALLCHICAGO.COM)
The Whispers, May 3, The Venue at Horseshoe Casino (21 and older, HORSESHOEHAMMOND.COM)
Otis Clay, Jan. 26, FitzGerald’s (21 and older, FITZGERALDSNIGHTCLUB.COM)
Russell Thompkins, Jr. and the New Stylistics, Feb. 8, The Venue at Horseshoe Casino (21 and older, HORSESHOEHAMMOND.COM)
Bad Books, Feb. 14, Subterranean (17 and older, SUBT.NET)
Cradle of Filth, March 21, House of Blues (HOB.COM)