Grant Hart of Husker Du recovering from house fire

First, the good news: Grant Hart, formerly of Husker Du and now a renowned solo artist, is in good health after only a brief stint in the hospital yesterday afternoon. But the bad news is that Hart's South St. Paul house, which originally belonged to his parents, suffered a two-room fire that torched many of his belongings, including one of his favorite guitars.

Chris Riemenschneider over at the Star Tribune was the first to report the story today, and he says that fire marshal Linda McMillan reported that Hart checked into the hospital yesterday afternoon, but was checked out within a few hours. "The cause of the fire has not been determined," Riemenschneider reports.

Hart went on a short East Coast tour this month in support of his solo project, and just returned to the Twin Cities this past week after wrapping up his tour in Atlanta on January 21.

Friends say that Hart is still in the process of sorting through his belongings and assessing the damages, but several venues have already stepped forward and expressed interest in holding a benefit if needed. Hart had just performed a brief solo set at First Avenue last month as part of their 40th Birthday celebration and played another local show in the Entry on Christmas.

An additional silver lining: Hart is reportedly happy that neither of his two cats were harmed in the fire.

As a brief sidenote, I have a fond memory of sitting in a hedge with Grant during South by Southwest last May, where he had kindly staked out a spot for us to chat after one of his performances. During our interview, a black cat walked up to us and Grant was amazed at how similar it looked to his own kitty, Inky, who was back home in St. Paul. I couldn't help but chuckle when I was revisiting the recording of the interview later on and heard him stop mid-sentence to shout "Inky! Come here Inky!"

(Part of that interview was used in the feature story I wrote last spring about Minnesota bands who choose to make the trek down to Austin.)

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