I’ve been struggling for the past few hours on how to present my activities of the past three days. On Wednesday, I headed up to St. Paul to view Gorman Bechard’s latest documentary, Every Everything: The Music, Life, and Times of Grant Hart, which covers Hart’s entire career, including his time in Husker Du and subsequent solo projects.
My initial thoughts were to write a review of the flick, but I have to admit that there is a huge conflict of interest. Thanks to Kickstarter, I’m an “Executive Producer” of the movie, so instead I’m just going to reflect on my days in the city.
Before the movie was screened as part of the Sound Unseen Festival, I was invited to have dinner with Gorman and others associated with the movie at a great Japanese restaurant, Sakura. Hart also joined us, and I was almost like a high school kid again. Seriously, if somebody had told me back in the 80’s that I’d be having dinner with the creator of seminal tracks such as “Green Eyes” and “Sorry Somehow”, I’d say they were nuts.
While Hart had an extremely low-key presence, he still held court over the table. Although I refrained from acting like a silly fanboy, I was thrilled when he expressed a bit of interest in the fact that I had one of his solo singles, “So Far From Heaven”, in my jukebox.
From there it was onto the screening. Like all of Bechard’s movies, Every Everything is not your typical rock doc. While Hart’s life certainly could fit into the standard VH1 Behind the Music format, Bechard went in a different direction. Inspired by 2003’s Fog of War, where Robert McNamara held court over his entire life, the only voice in the movie (outside of a couple of instances where you can hear Bechard lobbing questions) is Hart.
FIlmed primarily at various Twin Cities locations, Hart tells his side of the good and bad times of the Huskers. Although many expected him to completely cut loose on the band’s other primary songwriter, Bob Mould, Hart is surprisingly contrite in his comments. His view is that the one bad year the band had shouldn’t override the many good years.
Hart also talks about his various post-Huskers projects, including Nova Mob and his excellent new solo album, The Argument, which is based on John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Family issues, drug addiction, and SST’s refusal to pay royalties are emotionally-charged moments in the film, but none of those compare to the one-two punch of his mother’s death and the fire that burned down the home of most of his life in early 2011. Sprinkled through the movie are scenes where Hart gives us a tour of the house on the now empty lot, and one almost wants to hug him when he invites us to visit again at the conclusion of the movie.
After a quick Q&A with Hart, Bechard, and writer/producer/editor Jan Radder, everybody headed a block away to the Amsterdam Bar and Hall. Hart took the stage a little past eleven, and played a great set of Huskers and solo tunes. A slowed-down “Green Eyes” was my personal highlight, but tracks from The Argument held up well next to those more well-known tunes. He even set the classic tune, “The Battle of New Orleans”, to the melody of his solo tune, “2541”.
My other two days in town was a much-needed respite from my normal routine. I hit the usual record stores, along with my friend Jon Clifford’s new HiFi Records in the Loring Park area. I also attended a Sound Unseen party at the Summit Brewery, and Bechard introduced me to the greatness of Bad Waitress. In fact, I had two meals at that restaurant, including a lunch that included Color Me Obsessed star Robert Voedisch.
Now I’m back to reality. I really do need a real vacation.