GRANT HART (1961-2017): Lennon McCartney to Bob Mould’s John Paul in Hüsker Dü, the Beatles of SST Records. Grant had incredible command of a potentially wild voice, alternating between a molten bray and the loneliest boy in an abandoned room. He even looked brokenhearted sometimes, rattled in slept-in hair and yesterday’s clothes around a hopeful (if weary) smile. Labelmates the Minutemen gave punk its jazz-garde political fire; Hart and Mould, its volcanic emotion, with Hart on drums bashing its torment awake. A turbulent dynamic fueled a slew o’ albums between 1983 and 1987; although eventually swathed in major-label enhancements, plus an evolved sense of musicianship, their hooks penetrated flesh and their roar drew blood. Grant got the last word on the very last LP, Warehouse: Songs and Stories, a mantra of crashing relationships and fresh-won independence called “You Can Live at Home.” Both he and Mould became prolific solo artists, with varying degrees of success but no diminished sense of urgency and purpose. After all he endured, only illness from within could bring Grant Vernon Hart down. 56, St. Paul, MN.
HARRY DEAN STANTON (1926-2017): Harry Dean, Main Man, built of life, powered by habit. His continued mobility was an amused defiance of mortality. On an episode of this season’s Twin Peaks, the horizon-centenarian remarked, “I been smokin’ 75 years, every fuckin’ day” and chuckled through breath his vices should have ended in the ’70s. He was a character actor in only that his characters had names, but they entered scenes as Harry Dean Stanton, sucking face with space beasts, piloting a glowing airborne car, outwitting a murderous 1957 Plymouth Fury, sacrificing himself for the greater good, or taking slugs at bar’s end, hangdog gaze reliving movies you missed. A vision I’ve had since I was a kid: the apocalypse hits— Rapture, whatever — last human croaks it. Harry Dean rises to his feet, stuffs his half-combed jungle into a nearby hat, then ambles away, too rare and real to die. 91, Los Angeles, CA.