Drugs, drama, and death derailed Twin Cities indie-rock legends Hüsker Dü in 1988, creating a schism that lingers even today. And, like all great beefs, this one's harbinger of squashing might come in the form of overpriced T-shirts.
Tensions between feuding Hüskers Bob Mould and Grant Hart might be waning, as bassist Greg Norton tells the Star Tribune, "there’s ongoing communication between the three of us now." So much so that the influential rock band recently launched an online merch destination featuring six different T-shirt designs for $25 a pop.
Freud famously said sometimes an '80s alt-rock shirt is just an '80s alt-rock shirt, but in this case, it feels like the beginning of something larger from Team Hüsker. Norton tells the Strib's Chris Riemenschneider that the band recruited the manager of the Meat Puppets to “help us figure out how to get a foothold back in the business.”
One would imagine the reunion money train the Replacements rode from 2012 through June influenced the Hüskers' decision to monetize their dormant brand. That particular experiment in '80s rock nostalgia was fun, but ended rather unceremoniously, with frontman Paul Westerberg revealing a cryptic T-shirt — these things begin and end with T-shirts, you see — that read: "I have always loved you. Now I must whore my past.” Peers such as the Pixies and the Jesus and Mary Chain have also cashed in with recent reunions.
Before any live whoring, though, there's the matter of the neglected Hüsker Dü discography. Licensing and re-issues will be complilated by having to deal with Hüsker Dü's former label, SST Records, run by Black Flag co-founder/noted dick Greg Ginn. Of the band's six albums, four were released via SST, with the latter two arriving via Warner Bros.
Here's what we do know: It's a minor miracle that Hüsker Dü collectively agreed to anything, even something as inconsequential as a T-shirt shop. "There are more moving parts than we’d like to deal with, but we’ll see what happens," Norton tells the Strib, alluding to plans for an official Facebook page and the possible release of rare live video clips and songs.
Sounds like a new day rising, indeed.