Husker Brëw

“If you want to gather honey, don’t kick over the beehive.” – Dale Carnegiepoppins

I once read an article where Chuck D described how he used the “Mary Poppins Method” to propel Public Enemy to success and fame. Well, I don’t think Chuck actually used the term “Mary Poppins Method”, but I am sure it was what he was thinking. He essentially explained that inorder for America to swallow the social and political message of his bitter lyrical medicine, he needed to offer them a spoonful of sugar in the form on Flavor Flav. Sure eventually Flavor would turn into senseless viking-headed reality TV fodder, but for a time there, he was the perfect hype man for the most powerful and important Hip Hop group of the era. He made PE’s dark message palatable, even fun. If I presume to understand Chuck D’s thought process (as apparently I do), I am sure that the group’s radio airplay and cultural  transcendence (remember, the kid in Terminator 2 had a Public Enemy shirt on) was absolutely worth creating the giant clock-sporting monster that it birthed. Attaining popularity and credibility in this time of trolls and haters is a tough act these days. Just ask Bell’s Hopslam.

The much sought after Michigander Double IPA achieves an almost hysterical level of devotion. Tough, but not impossible to find, the beer seems to have benefited from its own hype-man…scarcity. Not to say it doesn’t stand on its own…the honey-brewed sweetness makes the beer dangerously drinkable. A double IPA that has incredible smoothness and body without compromising the hop bite, bitter finish, and the high alcohol punch.

photo-2Husker Du’s single cover of the Byrd’s Eight Mile High is one of the greatest sounds etched into wax. From the opening fuzz-guitar ringing, to the drum roll build-up, to the release of the Mould’s growl, you expect to get blown away. Then something happens. The spoonful of sugar. The pop sensibilities. It turns into the prettiest damn punk song.  Just like the honey in Hopslam and the Flavor in PE, it needs a harmonious softness to help digest the gritty heavy impact. It works perfect. The soaring song floats in and out of pure noise and meticulous melody. Eight miles higher than Gene Clark and Roger McGuinn could every imagine their psychedelic masterpiece could rocket.

The beer and single could easily both collapse under their own weight. They figured it out it out though. A balance to the bitterness. An allure in the distortion. A nectarous kick. And the result is a performance that I can repeat over and over. Put the needle back at the edge. Grab another one from the fridge. Only one thing to say to that…Yeeeeaaah Booooooyaahhhh.


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