Local Current Blog

Grant Hart documentary will tell story of unsung Husker Du hero

Credit: Ben Clark

Fans of Hüsker Dü have had plenty of chances to reminisce about the band’s past thanks to Bob Mould’s recent book, See A Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody, a recent tribute show to the frontman in L.A., and the heavy amounts of Hüsker material he still incorporates into his live set. But despite the fact that Mould is the most vocal and most visible member of the pioneering band, he isn’t the only one making a life in music all these years after their heyday.

Both Hüsker’s bassist Greg Norton and drummer and co-songwriter Grant Hart have continued to make music, with Hart staying especially prolific in the decades he’s spent working as a solo artist. Anyone who has met Hart in person, too, knows that he’s quite the character, which is precisely why a team of filmmakers who were previously involved in making the Replacements documentary Color Me Obsessed have chosen him as the subject of their next project.

“When we did our interviews [for Color Me Obsessed], I think we interviewed 144 different people, and out of all of those interviews Grant Hart’s just stood out above and beyond everyone else’s,” says producer Jan Radder, who is once again teaming up with director Gorman Bechard to make the new documentary. “He’s incredibly opinionated, he’s incredibly knowledgeable, and you sit down and talk with him and you can have one of the most interesting conversations you’ve had in years. When you’re thinking about doing a documentary about a single person, it has to be someone who has both had an interesting life and is interesting to listen to, because you’re asking the viewers to spend at least an hour and a half with this person — and to us, Grant really fit that. “

The new film, Every Everything: The Music, Life & Times of Grant Hart, will be filmed over a 10-day period in Minneapolis this August, and Radder says they have a very unique and intentional goal for the project: the only interviews in the movie will be with Hart himself.

“We’re using Errol Morris’s The Fog of War as our template,” explains Radder. “That’s the documentary about Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense under Johnson, who many consider to be the main person who escalated the Vietnam War. That was just a single interview with Robert McNamara, and in addition to his interview there’s tons of archival footage of McNamara in Vietnam and photos and things like that. So we’re going to be using the same approach. One of the things that made Color Me Obsessed stand out was it was a music documentary about a band that didn’t ever show the band until the very end, and there was no music in it. This will have lots of music — from Grant’s early days in Hüsker Dü all the way through his solo stuff now. And we’re planning on having as much archival footage as we can.”

The filmmakers acknowledge that there may be some Hüsker Dü drama unearthed during the interview process, but Radder says he’s not really interested in using the movie to continue the ongoing public dispute between Hart and his former songwriting partner. “I’m sure that people who follow that are going to be analyzing everything that Grant says. Like ‘Is this a dig at Bob, is this a dig at Bob?’ I’m not sure if I’m really concerned about that,” he says. “My concern is that we accurately represent what Grant is saying. And I think that we showed we could do that with Color Me Obsessed… We’re not taking things out of context and trying to start another war of words between Bob and Grant. It’s just letting Grant have a voice. And whatever he says is what he says. As long as we’re staying true to what he says I’m not concerned about that.”

Additionally, Radder says Every Everything will tell the story of Hart’s whole life, not just the parts spent in the limelight. “We’re hoping to cover everything from his very beginnings, of what influenced him to become a musician, and to become an artist. And looking into his career after Hüsker Dü, because — I mean, one thing that I’ve always thought is that Bob Mould has gotten tons more press than Grant. I mean, someone did a writeup on our movie talking about how everyone knows the importance of Hüsker Dü is three guys: Bob Mould, Bob Mould, and Bob Mould. Which seems to be what everyone says. Even Robert Christgau was talking about Hüsker Dü and referred to Grant as ‘Bob’s second banana.’ I think that Grant is just as much the force behind Hüsker Dü as Bob was. I think he wouldn’t have had that strong pop element without Grant. But since Hüsker Dü, people have kind of forgotten that Grant is around and he’s still doing stuff. I’d really like to bring attention to his career, because I think he’s unfortunately gone largely unnoticed.”

Though some preliminary shooting has occurred, the majority of Every Everything will be filmed over a 10-day period this August. The reason the filmmakers are revealing the details now is to direct attention to their Kickstarter, where they are raising the funds needed to cover travel expenses for their crew and licensing fees for archival footage from throughout Hart’s career. With 24 days to go, they are nearly halfway to their goal; you can find more information and donate here.