Considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 1980s, the Minnesota-based Hüsker Dü helped to lay the groundwork that led to the ultimate success of such pop-punk groups as the Replacements, Sonic Youth, the Pixies, Soul Asylum, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and Green Day, among others. Earles offers biographical portraits of band members—guitarist Bob Mould, drummer Grant Hart, and bassist Greg Norton—and discusses the group’s tuneful hard rock, or, as he describes it, “super-noisy songs.” Although they never achieved widespread mainstream success, Hüsker Dü were among the first underground rock bands to sign with a major label (Warner Brothers in 1986), which prompted more than a few fans to accuse them of selling out, an accusation Earles considers to have been “greatly exaggerated.” Charting their early days, nonstop touring, and defiant embrace of the DIY ethic, Earles carefully examines the band’s output in thoughtful criticism of their work, including Land Speed Record, their seminal concept album Zen Arcade, and their Warner Brothers debut Candy Apple Grey. A must for all followers of contemporary rock. --June Sawyers
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Taking their name from a popular Danish children’s board game, Bob Mould, Grant Hart, and Greg Norton formed Hüsker Dü in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1979 as a wildly cathartic outfit fueled by a cocktail of volume and velocity. Author Andrew Earles examines how Hüsker Dü became the first hardcore band to marry pop melodies with psychedelic influences and ear-shattering volume, and in the process become one of the most influential rock bands of the 1980s indie underground. Earles also explores how the Twin Cities music scene, the creative and competitive dynamic between Mould and Hart, and their personal lives all contributed to the band’s incredible canon and messy demise. Few bands from the American indie movement did more than Hüsker Dü to inform the alternative rock styles that breached the mainstream in the 1990s. Here, finally, is the story behind their brilliance.