Thursday, September 14, 2017

Grant Hart (1961-2017), RIP

I opened up Facebook fast before squeezing in a car payment before leaving the house this morning... and read the news that Grant Hart had passed away overnight. Stunned--though apparently if I was paying more attention it really wasn't unexpected (see this blog post from The Current for more)...

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April 1987. Spring of senior year of high school. What still holds as the best week of non-festival concert-going: U2, X, and Hüsker Dü. The Hüskers played an all-ages show up in Phoenix--and if I remember right I have a flier somewhere with autographs. We didn't know it at the time, but this would be their last tour, in support of their final album Warehouse: Songs and Stories. Specifics are hazy, but I do remember being blown away...

Despite the electronic drum set, Picture Picture's set included a cover of "Celebrated Summer." That was a Bob Mould song, but I guess I sort of pulled a Grant Hart by singing while playing that one. Perhaps mercifully, I have no recording to document our reverence--but we were playing it as straight as we could (with Tama Techstars).

And I remember getting psyched to start college that fall in Minnesota: the land of Hüsker Dü and The Replacements, the land of Prince and the Suburbs and Soul Asylum (and even bands not yet on the radar, like Gear Daddies and Trip Shakespeare)... Going to school at Gustavus, on some level, was about gaining entry to a vibrant music scene of which I only vaguely had a clue.

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Grant Hart was only 56. I find myself sitting quietly this morning, at a coffee shop in Plymouth, sitting outside and streaming a playlist of his music. An early Hüsker song erupts into my ears, Hart pleading/shouting: "WHAT DO I WANT?!?! WHAT WILL MAKE ME HAPPY?!?! WHAT DO I WANT?!?! WHAT WILL MAKE ME HAPPY?!?!"

How can you not cry.

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Driving up this morning, I took a deep breath and told Loreta how happy I was that we sorted our wills and such last year. Because we all want to live to 100, but... On Tuesday, my students were introducing themselves in part by offering up their five-year plans--and mine is to see my son in 3rd grade. But... You just never know. Every day is precious, and unfortunately the universe offers up regular reminders.

Tell those you love that you love them, my friends.