Grant Hart, best known as the drummer and co-leader of the legendary rock band Hüsker Dü, has died, Variety reports and Bob Mould confirms via Facebook. Hart was 56. After the dissolution of Hüsker Dü, he fronted the trio Nova Mob, and he also released several albums under his own name. His last solo release was 2013’s The Argument, a double-album based on John Milton’s Paradise Lost and inspired by Hart’s friendship with William S. Burroughs. In May 2017, he wrapped up a tour with the Meat Puppets and Mike Watt. Although the cause of death is unconfirmed, Hart had been battling cancer.
Grant Hart was born in South Saint Paul, Minnesota in 1956. He met Bob Mould while working at a record store. The two formed Hüsker Dü, along with bassist Greg Norton, in 1979. They released their first single, “Statues,” on their own label before signing to SST, where they recorded several influential EPs and albums, including the seminal New Day Rising (1984) and Zen Arcade (1985). Hart and Mould alternated writing and vocals, with Hart taking lead on beloved tracks like “Girl on Heaven Hill,” “Diane,” and “Turn on the News.” The band split up in 1988 after releasing two albums for major label Warner Bros.
Hart was the first member to release solo music after the band’s break-up, with 1988’s 2541 EP and Intolerance, a full-length released the following year. Shortly after, he formed the band Nova Mob, singing and playing guitar. After that band broke up in 1997, Hart’s output became more sporadic. In 2013, he was the subject of a documentary, Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart. In recent years, rumors had spread that Hüsker Dü was in talks of a reunion, but Hart remained adamant about his lack of interest in the concept. In an interview with The Village Voice in 2013, he said, “I’ve always lived with the doctrine of Patti Smith: ‘I don’t fuck much with the past but I fuck plenty with the future.’ I tend to like that philosophy.”
On Facebook Thursday morning, Mould commemorated his career and friendship with Hart, writing, “We made amazing music together. We (almost) always agreed on how to present our collective work to the world. When we fought about the details, it was because we both cared. The band was our life. It was an amazing decade.” He concluded the post, “Grant Hart was a gifted visual artist, a wonderful story teller, and a frighteningly talented musician. Everyone touched by his spirit will always remember.”