(Big Hassle) Husker Du has announced Tonite Longhorn, a previously-unreleased double-disc set of rare live recordings from the legendary band's embryonic on-stage beginnings. Drawn from the historical Husker Du recording archives compiled by late sound engineer Terry Katzman, the album collects 28 explosive tracks captured over four different nights between July 1979 and September 1980 at Minneapolis, MN's notorious Longhorn Bar.
TONITE LONGHORN arrives via the band's own Reflex Records at all DSPs and streaming services on August 25, 2023. A limited edition 2xLP black vinyl release will be available on Record Store Day, Saturday, April 22 at participating stores. Stay tuned for news about further pressings later this year. Today's announcement is heralded by "Do You Remember?" from the band's 1979 set at the Longhorn.
An essential companion piece to Numero Group's 2017 Savage Young Du box set, Tonite Longhorn stands as an aural time machine that vividly thrusts the listener straight back to Husker Du's earliest days, with the barely-out-of-their-teens trio of Grant Hart, Greg Norton, and Bob Mould unleashing volatile, remarkably driven performances that until now were only heard by the 150 or so lucky friends and fans originally in attendance. Highlights include such inexorable classics as "All Tensed Up," "Do the Bee," "MTC," and "Statues," as well as a ferocious cover of Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers' "Chinese Rock."
In addition, the album features an array of original flyers and artwork (much of it created by the late Grant Hart) along with exclusive liner notes written by longtime Husker Du fan and friend Thurston Moore, who writes, "Hüsker Dü could play hardcore to death but they were not hardcore through and through - they were something else. And that's what I fully related to and what I'm hearing in these live recordings unearthed from those days which made such magnanimous impressions it's as if they are the batteries of our lives as we continue to tick off the years... "Sexual Economics" and "Do You Remember" are righteous rippers with Bob's metallic and perfectly-fuzz-boxed guitar sounding like a punk take on the MC5, his leads sputtering off the fretboard like a demented refraction of Wayne Kramer and Fred 'Sonic' Smith. The momentum is like a horse bolted from its harness, where the specificity of notes get trashed on the way to the next immediate move, Grant's drums rolling forth both in apprehension and thunderous command, Greg's bass acting as two melodious hands, primal and swinging, holding the jowls of the guitarist and drummer, keeping the two in check as the trio blasts to a breathless finish line.
"Most artists begin their careers by looking to their heroes for inspiration. Tonite Longhorn is a comprehensive overview of three teenagers paying homage, experimenting with different genres, and - most importantly - building a foundation for things to come," says Bob Mould. "We knew what we had: good chemistry, great melodies and harmonies, and an overabundance of young (and sometimes dumb) enthusiasm. We knew we were different, and we knew we were on to something different."
"The audition. Bob was done with his freshman year and we didn't have any gigs lined up," says Greg Norton. "He was considering going home to Malone for the summer. Grant shows up all frantic and tells us we need to load the gear and get to the Longhorn, we had an audition. We arrived during their lunch service, load in and start playing. The manager comes storming out of his office and stops us. What the hell do you guys want? He asks. Grant says, we want to play here. He replies, fine, you can play the opening set Friday night, just stop playing and get out of here.
That set is here, July 13th, 1979. We passed the "audition" and the rest is history."
Husker Du is of course among the most influential and iconic bands to rise up from the American punk underground, marrying Bob Mould and Grant Hart's glorious songwriting with punishing noise, breakneck tempos, and unstoppable invention to create what remains a truly original vision of American music. Available on four LPs or three CDs, Savage Young Du compiles 69 tracks - 47 of them previously unreleased - spanning Husker Du's formative 1979 live shows to their milestone early releases via SST Records, including first singles "Statues" b/w "Amusement" (1981) and "In A Free Land" (1982), as well as 1983's full-length debut album, Everything Falls Apart, and an alternate recording of 1982's seminal live recording, Land Speed Record. Newly remastered from the original analog demos, board tapes, and session masters, the anthology is accompanied by a hardbound book highlighted by an epic history of Husker Du, penned with full participation from Hart, Norton, and Mould, as well as 40 never-before seen photos, a remarkable collection of rare flyers, and detailed sessionography.
"We created this blistering wall of sound," says Bob Mould, "bright white radio static with occasional melody."
"It was like rolling down a hill aware of the bumps," Grant Hart says, "but focusing on blowing people's minds and completely wearing out the audience."
"We didn't know what hardcore was," says Greg Norton. "We just got up there and played real fast and loud."
Insects Rule The World
I'm Not Interested
Can't See You Anymore
Do You Remember?
All Tensed Up
Don't Try To Call
Industrial Grocery Store
Do The Bee
Do You Remember?
Ode To Bode
Don't Have A Life
All I've Got To Lose
Don't Try It
What Went Wrong
Call On Me