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Husker Du: The Story of the Noise-Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock Hardcover – November 18, 2010
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Now, the bad. The editing (as others have noted) is frequently appalling: particular quotes and sentences are repeated verbatim throughout the book; and the bizarre narrative structure, in which earlier material is unnecessarily recapped dozens of pages later, makes for jarring reading (this isn't Earles's fault so much as his editor's, who should be taken outside and given forty lashes for these egregious lapses). But more than these formal matters, the book suffers from an over-emphasis on the band's formative and SST years, all of which have been covered to a significant extent in previous writings, most notably in Azerrad's book.Read more ›
What makes the book worth reading is the fact that it is the first full-length Husker Du biography. There has been a lot written about the Huskers over the years, but there's never been a book like this. The new and insightful interviews with two-thirds of the band, Grant Hart and Greg Norton, are truly a joy and very welcome. The behind-the-scenes look at the Minneapolis punk scene, and the early alternative rock scene, of the 1980s is also fun to read about, even if there's not much in these areas that haven't been covered in other writings.
Now for the bad stuff. I can overlook a typo or two, or a factual error here or there. But there are so many throughout the book, it gets to be too much to ignore. Off the top of my head, Earles refers to all the early punk/New Wave bands that were signed to Sire Records, and at least twice claims Blondie were signed to Sire. This is just not true, as Blondie was on the New York indie Private Stock, and later Chrysalis, but never on Sire. Candy Apple Grey is mentioned as having been recorded in September 1986, but released in March 1986; it's clear the first date should be 1985. While these typos are in and of themselves not a big deal, when the almost exact same paragraph about Sire shows up a chapter later, you wonder if there was any fact-checking going on here at all.Read more ›
My only gripes are very minor: 1) at times Earles seems a bit overly deferential to the band as a whole and the members individually, though given their history, his caution is understandable (to be fair, he is brutally honest--and accurate--in his opinions about some of the band's releases), and 2) even though I find dustjackets archaic and unnecessary, I'm not a big fan of the school book binding.
Oh, and the bumper sticker included inside the book was a very nice, unexpected bonus. What Would Husker Du, indeed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
**Review originally appeared at [...]
The story of Husker Du is more or less the story of alternative rock in 1980s’ America: The hardcore circuit, SST Records, and... Read more
I found this book to be a real battle to get through. The author's opinions really took center stage right from the Foreword, and while we breezed through the actual existence of... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Kurt D. Linden
This bio effectively covers the history of Husker Du in spite of some poor editing. What really lets the book down is the author's views of the music itself. Read morePublished on December 3, 2013 by Keith Lodge
Earles faced a tough challenge when he wrote this enthusiastic account of these "noise-pop pioneers who launched modern rock," as Bob Mould, guitarist and singer-songwriter,... Read morePublished on August 31, 2011 by John L Murphy
A good read that focuses primarily on the pre-Warner years of the band. The author, wisely, only offers brief bios of the members and focuses on the band itself as an organic... Read morePublished on February 26, 2011 by Doc Johnson
There are WAY TOO MANY "skirted" subjects in this book for it to be taken as a serious, objective writing. Read morePublished on February 25, 2011 by BB
When I first started reading this book, I was wondering how well it could work without Bob Mould's direct input. Read morePublished on February 17, 2011 by Craig D. Giffen
Other reviewers have highlighted the weaknesses within this book, and indeed the author himself seems to acknowledge that this is not the definitive book on Husker Du. Read morePublished on February 5, 2011 by DTydeman
Good biography of Husker Du without Bob Mould's participation. The writer does a good job getting information from the other two guys, Grant Hart and Greg Norton. Read morePublished on December 31, 2010 by Jag you are