Featured Artist: Soul Asylum
Soul Asylum formed in 1981 in Minneapolis with little commercial success until the release of their 1992 album Grave Dancer’s Union which featured the band’s most recognized single “Runaway Train”. From then on the band has continued to release albums and, despite some lineup changes, keep their mix of alternative and punk rock music.
I recently sat down with frontman Dave Pirner to discuss the band’s future plans, upcoming tour, and his recent tribute to fallen icon Chris Cornell.
M365: So, I hear this is the first night of the tour after 6 months of time off.
Dave: Yeah, pretty much. It kind of defies all expectations. We had a change over in management and things like that, we’re kind of regrouping a little bit.
M365: But you’ve been managing to keep yourself busy. I saw you recently did the Chris Cornell Tribute in L.A.
Dave: Yup, I did the Chris thing in L.A. and then I just did the Prince thing in Minneapolis.
M365: The Chris Cornell tribute was so last minute. What inspired you to do the tribute? Were you guys close during the music scene in the 90s?
Dave: I think by proxy we were kind of at the same point in our, I don’t even know what to call it, because career never sounds right. The first time we played Seattle we played with Soundgarden and they opened for us. Chris was at a coffee shop and it was friggin’ hilarious because it was loud as fuck and he was singing into headphones and I did not know you could sing into headphones. So I stole that from him. There’s a song on Grave Dancer’s Union called “99%” and I’m singing into headphones because I saw Chris do it. But we’d run into each other a lot and we’d play gigs together every now and then. There was a lot of commiserating. It wasn’t like we partied a lot, we just hung out and kind of brooded about being in a rock band and trying to deal with, I don’t know, growing pains I suppose.
M365: Are there any plans of new music from Soul Asylum?
Dave: We’ve been working on new material. I’ve been spending more time in Minneapolis, we’ve got quite a batch of shit we’re working on. It’s just a matter of refining and picking songs to focus on and pretty much doing what we’ve been doing, which is pretty much doing everything ourselves.
M365: Are these primarily new songs or are some of these left over songs from the previous album?
Dave: They’re all new songs and there’s some talk of tunes that people really like that haven’t ended up on records. For me, before you had the internet you could work on a song fucking for twenty years but now your demo’s going to end up on the internet and people are going to be like “Well, that’s not a new song.” Well, it should be!
M365: Can fans expect to hear any new music during the tour?
Dave: Maybe. Again, it’s that same thing where we try to play a new song but everyone’s got their camera out and recording device and we fuck it up and it takes away from the ability of quality control I guess.
M365: Is this going to be your first tour with Cracker?
Dave: No we did a summer tour with them maybe 5 or 6 years ago and we’re kind of old friends now, Dave is great. I’m looking forward to that. It’s kind of a good match for me. It’s always difficult to find the right band to tour with.
Catch Soul Asylum on tour this July with Cracker! See if the band is hitting your town here.