Husker Du: The Story of the Noise-Pop Pioneers Who Launched Modern Rock (Voyageur Press)

The story of Husker Du is more or less the story of alternative rock in 1980s’ America: The hardcore circuit, SST Records, and major label courtship are all facets of Andrew Earles’ book on the Minneapolis trio. That singer Bob Mould didn’t participate would normally raise a big red flag in terms of legitimacy, but Earles has researched his subject well, getting interviews with Grant Hart, Greg Norton, and many others from the band’s inner circle. The author’s refusal to let the band’s interpersonal issues (largely due to drugs and arguments over songwriting) dominate the book is a noble one, but a little dirt never hurt anyone, and without it the book feels overly academic. There’s several glaring errors an editor probably should’ve caught, but there’s also passion in the writer’s voice, which is far more important. What’s more, Earles does a good job of shining a light on the greater Minneapolis scene that spawned Husker Du. After reading this book you may even find yourself investigating Minneapolis groups like Man Sized Action, The Suicide Commandos or Loud Fast Rules (who would go on to become Soul Asylum). Now if someone would only give Husker Du’s albums the CD reissue campaign they need!