The estranged songwriters of Husker Du reunited onstage Thursday in Minneapolis as part of a benefit for Soul Asylum bassist Karl Mueller, who was diagnosed with throat cancer last spring. Bob Mould and Grant Hart played a pair of Husker Du songs, “Hardly Getting Over It” and — ironically enough — “Never Talking to You Again” in their first performance together in sixteen years.
Hart joked about the improbable nature of the reunion, with an eye towards next week’s presidential election. “If me and Bob can get together, that means we can all get together and put [President] Bush out of office, right?” he said from the stage.
Other performers at the Quest club included Soul Asylum, Paul Westerberg, a reunited Gear Daddies and an ad-hoc lineup of self-described “stupor group” Golden Smog.
In 1988 Husker Du had an acrimonious breakup over songwriting credits and the band’s musical direction, shortly after they made the jump from an indie label to Warner Bros., with drummer Hart and guitarist Mould rarely speaking and taking shots at each other in the press over the years. Bassist Greg Norton now runs a restaurant outside of Minneapolis, but did not participate in the reunion.
“Thursday night’s show was a total success, at least $50K was raised for Karl Mueller,” posted Mould on his Web site. “It was a bit of an old home night, lots of familiar faces, and some serious blasts from the past . . . It was all about Karl, the good cause, and thanks to everyone who plunked down the cash for tickets — I hope you all got your money’s worth.”