Do The Du

Slipping back to 1985 today after I came across this twenty five minute clip yesterday. Husker Du live at The Stone in San Francisco on March 1st. The film starts towards the end of the set with Diane, Hate Paper Doll and Divide And Conquer (both from then recent release Flip Your Wig) and into an encore of Eight Miles High and Makes No Sense At All. For the final song, a romp through Louie Louie, the Huskers are joined by members of all four support bands- SWA, Saccharine Trust, Minutemen and Meat Puppets. Seeing Husker Du, Minutemen and Meat Puppets on the same bill seems extraordinary now but was standard for the time.

What seems funny about this video now is that it was professionally filmed but is so shonky. The sound is pretty hit and miss, Bob Mould’s guitar inaudible in places against Greg Norton’s bass. Whether that’s the sound at the gig or just what the cameras are picking up is I don’t know.

The group also show how different things were in 1985. Touring without much in the way of label support- SST had never had any money- they more or less just booked some dates, got in a van and off they went. Minutemen’s creed famously was ‘we jam econo’, in other words they cut their costs as far as they could, packed and unpacked their own gear, slept in the van or on fans’ floors, touring as cheaply as possible. Touring connected with them fans and promoted records (which could be bought if SST had got them into the record shops in the town they were playing). These bands have not been anywhere near a stylist or a focus group, there’s no lightshow, no backdrop, no projections, no gap between band and audience- all the things that modern signed bands take for granted. Different times.

This is also a new discovery for me, an unreleased outtake from 1984’s New Day Rising album. Corruscating independent punk from Reagan’s America.

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Lake Of Fire

Something triggered this off yesterday. Meat Puppets emerged out of the US hardcore scene and like many of their peers- Husker Du, Replacements, Sonic Youth, Black Flag- soon transformed into something other than hard, fast punk. They grew their hair and audibly let in some pre-76 influences (Neil Young, country) and came up with something new. Lake Of Fire is ragged and loose and hair raising, like the rest of their 1984 album Meat Puppets II. Inadvertently they partially invented alt-country, Americana, the Unplugged set up, Nirvana and Uncut magazine’s entire outlook.

Lake Of Fire