As one of the co-leaders of the seminal post-hardcore punk group Hüsker Dü, Grant Hart was one of the most influential musicians of the '80s, blending raw sonic aggression with pop melodies and songs. Following the group's demise in 1987, he launched a solo career that was marked by an erratic work schedule. After releasing one solo album, he formed a trio called Nova Mob in 1989, which released two albums between 1991 and 1994, when Hart became a solo artist again.
Playing drums and singing lead, Hart formed Hüsker Dü along with Bob Mould (lead vocals, guitar) and Greg Norton (bass) in the late '70s in St. Paul. Over the course of the early '80s, the group initially built a strong following in the U.S. hardcore punk underground, eventually breaking into wider recognition with their 1984 album, Zen Arcade. Within two years, the Hüskers signed to Warner, becoming one of the first indie bands of the '80s to move to a major label. Though the group was poised to break into the mainstream, certain parts of the industry, including radio, resisted them. Furthermore, the group was splintering, as all the members suffered from substance abuse; Hart and Mould were also developing a debilitating rivalry. At the end of 1987, the group imploded; according to different sources, Hart either quit or was fired because of his heroin addiction.
In the spring of 1988, Hart became the first Hüsker Dü member to release a solo recording when his primarily acoustic 2541 EP (named after the address of the group's old office and studio) was released on the band's old record label, SST. The following year, he released the full-length Intolerance, which he recorded as a one-man band.
Later in 1989, Hart formed Nova Mob, which released their first single, "All of My Senses," in 1990. A year later, the group released the EP Admiral of the Sea on Rough Trade. Nova Mob's first album, a rock opera named The Last Days of Pompeii, appeared in 1991. Following its release, the group was dormant for several years, eventually re-emerging in 1994 with an eponymous album. Hart quietly split up the trio after Nova Mob, and disappeared for two more years. In 1996, he released the live acoustic album Ecce Homo in Britain. Good News for Modern Man followed in 1999.
The next decade was relatively quiet for Hart, as he pursued other artistic avenues outside of music. One of the highlights of these ten quiet years was a 2005 reunion with Bob Mould at a benefit concert for Soul Asylum's Karl Mueller, who was then suffering from cancer. Hart returned to action in 2009 with Hot Wax, which was greeted with positive reviews. Four years later, the concept album The Argument — based equally on works by William S. Burroughs and John Milton — was released in the summer of 2013. Four years later, Hart died in September 2017 at the age of 56, after a battle with kidney cancer. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine