I bought Husker Du's "Warehouse: Stories And Songs" because I liked the cover. Hey, I was stoned! I was ALWAYS stoned in 1986. I had just gotten out of The Army, I was living in New York, and I'd get up in the morning, smoke some pot with some coffee, smoke some more pot with some more coffee, smoke some more pot with some more coffee, notice that it was beginning to get dark outside, and start to smoke pot with beer until I fell asleep - Every Dumb Fuck's Dream Life! I'd gone to New York to get into Comedy but, after a few weeks of hanging around in comedy clubs, I caught on that Show Business was dogshit and I didn't know what to do. So I spent '86 wasted until . . . Until I came to my senses and went home to finish College? Hell, no - Until I went completely out of my mind and spent SIX YEARS doing stand up even though I ALREADY knew it was dogshit! Maybe if I had smoked just a little more pot I would have gone back into The Army in time to get killed in the first Iraq War.
So what's all this "How To Talk Dirty And Influence People" autobiographical spew got to do with Husker Du? "Nothing! Leave us out of this!" swear former members of the Minneapolis Eighties Punk Band. Don't sweat it, guys! I'd never blame a band's music for my actions. Not after how my lawsuit against Judas Priest after I shot my face off with a shotgun went. But looking back on it all, "Warehouse" may have been the one thing that kept me out of the "Crazy House".
But why "Warehouse"? I certainly wasn't a Husker Du fan. My Big Faves back then were The Replacements and Iggy Pop. All I knew about Husker Du was they were The Replacements' arch rivals on the Minneapolis Punk Circuit and this one guy I got buzzed with a lot liked em - But he liked Stevie Winwood too, so . . .
My Afternoon Routine for Winter '86 was to put on My Big Black Boots and My Big Green Coat, pack my cigerettes, a couple of joints, my Walkman, and march all over snow covered Fort Tryon Park bombed out of my skull listening to Punk Music and giving everybody The Creeps. Iggy's "Blah Blah Blah" got Top Billing but "Warehouse" is what always comes to mind whenever I remember those Sasquatch trots.
Rock critics always put down "Faceless" rock acts like Boston, ELO, and Stevie Winwood who don't have the flamboyant personality of other people who usually turn out to be drug addicts or undiagnosed schizophrenics. Remember when a guy was busted for impersonating a member of Styx? Everybody in Foreigner and half the guys in Journey were hauled in before they found the right guy. Husker Du seems to fit into this category. I've seen pictures of them but if I saw em on the street . . . Well, it's twenty years later so if I saw em now I'd say "Where the hell did all these Starbucks come from?" But sometimes knowing all about a musician and his life inteferes with the music - Unless you're R Kelly, then I guess you can get away with anything. When you've just smoked a joint and hear Iggy through your headphones declaring "Status seekers - I never cared! Once I found out they never dared to seize The World and shake it upside down! And every stinking bum should wear a crown!" it's like The Voice Of God Coming Down From The Heavens and all you can do is bow your head and wonder how he comes up with that stuff "Whoa!" But after you've killed the roach, put on "Warehouse", and some anonymous Husker Dude tells you "A man has two reasons for the things that he does, the first one is Pride and the second is Love" it's just "Well, that's interesting! Lemmee think about that while I walk home . . . "
So twenty years later I still listen to "Warehouse" but I don't have any of those Replacements albums I used to love so much and all I remember of "Blah Blah Blah" is that "Status seekers . . . " bit I use to scare little kids with on Halloween while wearing a Frankenstein mask. That stuff only encouraged me to be stupid while "Warehouse" provided the one thing you hardly ever hear on a Rock And Roll record - A little Common Sense. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that if you played this record backwards you'd hear the voice of your Great Grandfather telling you "You know, smoking marijuana all the time is a really bad idea. And you're going to catch pneumonia walking around in the snow every afternoon!" And what was it about "Warehouse" that caught my ear? The one thing you hear on a Rock And Roll record even less than some Common Sense - Good Music! Really Good Music!
Those Old Squares at the Classic Rock Radio Stations should really give us a break and play some Husker Du. Geez, they play R.E.M. and U2, why not Husker Du? Is it the name? How many people even remember that Husker Du was the name of a silly ass boardgame from the Sixties? What was the point of that game? You move your piece all around the board and when you get to the end your PA breaks down and Vince Neil gets out of jail free?
By now the former members of Husker Du are saying that if I don't mention their names pretty damn quick they'll force me to take a whiff of the inside of their tour van - Okay! Husker Du were Bob Mould on guitar and vocals, Greg Norton on bass and vocals, Grant Hart on drums and vocals and they were one of the best bands of the Eighties. You think I'd expose my drug addled past over Winger? Greg plays bass so beautifully on "Warehouse" Tommy Stinson ran all over LA buying every copy in every store before Axl heard it and got another one of his cockamamie schemes. Bob and Grant are the songwriters and if I have to say Grant is the better of the two it's only because on one song Bob tells us the more he thinks the less he knows about himself and on another he rhymes "pathetic" with "sympathetic". I bet even Bono got a good laugh out of that. But all you Guitar Freaks have just gotta get a load of Bob on this album, he'll have you playing Air Guitar until your fingers bleed! Grant's a Super Drummer but as a Singer he is so good if you played one of his songs for Michael Stipe that ghoul would melt down to a puddle of grey slime. Uh oh! Looks like it already happened! Try it on Anthony Keidis!
The songs? Twenty of em on "Warehouse" and every one better than the one before until you to the Last and Best - "You Can Live At Home Now". Whatta trippy song! It's like . . . HEAVY! Ya know, as I write this New York is covered with snow. Maybe I should go up there, walk around Fort Tryon smoking dope, listening to "You Can Live At Home Now", and I'll find the words to describe the goddam thing! Hell, maybe I'll even figure out what it means - "You Can Live at Home Now"? Bet there's something in there that could have really helped me out back then. Why does The Message always have to be a Hidden Message?
Swear to God, I had no idea they were a bunch of homos.
John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines Schmuck.com, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org