Grant Hart played a solo set in Minneapolis at Cause Spirits and Soundbar on Friday, February 4—mere days after a fire consumed two rooms in the indie rock icon’s South St. Paul house and left him hospitalized for a few hours.
Hart—best known as the drummer for pioneering pop-punkers Hüsker Dü—performed various songs spanning his 30-plus-year career. Focusing mainly on newer cuts from recent solo efforts Hot Wax and Oeuvrevue, the sunglasses-sporting rocker still found room for Hüsker-era favorites such as “Never Talking to You Again” and “Girl Who Lives on Heaven Hill.”
Near the end of the night, Hart was joined on stage by Minneapolis jazz guitarist Nick Hass, whose clean tone made for an interesting combination when paired with the jangly crunch emitting from Hart’s Fender DeVille combo amp.
The 49-year-old Hart was extremely positive and seemed no worse for the wear following his recent tragedy (though he was visibly annoyed by the crowd banter that persisted throughout his less-raucous material). While the aftermath of the fire has left him “on the couch” for now, he feels fortunate his house wasn’t completely lost. “It’s kind of a historic house—90 years old, only been in the family,” Hart told me.
Unfortunately, the flames consumed some of the musician’s most-prized musical gear. “I lost my personal favorite guitar that I had just retired—but it’s better to be picking through pickups than to be picking through bones,” said Hart, who is greatful his two cats both survived the blaze.
While no benefit plans have been made just yet, Hart acknowledged that there has been a tremendous outpouring of support from the Twin Cities music community. Ideally, he is hoping for some sort of collaboration between First Avenue and The Current’s “Rock For Pussy”—a yearly event that benefits the Minnesota Valley Humane Society. “I’ve got a three-car garage that I’ve been wanting to insulate and turn into a cat shelter,” said the feline-loving Hart. “I’d like to set it up as a foundation that could endure with the house.”
Hart is in the process of recording another solo record in Minneapolis with producer/engineer Mike Wisti. He is also returning to Europe for a tour this spring.