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Resound Presents: Soul Asylum in Austin, Texas at Mohawk on October 17, 2024.

Soul Asylum

Since the '80s, Soul Asylum have been one of the most inspiring and hardworking bands in the rock scene, a group known for their raucous but emphatic combination of punk energy, guitarfueled firepower, and songs that range from aggression to heartfelt.

Initially known as Loud Fast Rules, the band formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, when frontman Dave Pirner was still in high school, and quickly became part of the celebrated Minneapolis music scene along with such cohorts as The Replacements and Hüsker Dü.

They entered the major-label world with 1988's Hang Time, and shortly after released And the Horse They Rode In On. The Minneapolis band broke through commercially with the doubleplatinum 1992 album Grave Dancers Union. The full-length earned steady alternative radio and MTV airplay on the strength of the Billboard Hot 100 Top 5 hit "Runaway Train," which won the Grammy for Best Rock Song, and the #1 Modern Rock smash "Somebody to Shove," as well as "Black Gold." The band also played at the MTV Inaugural Ball for President Bill Clinton, and performed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame opening concert with Lou Reed and Iggy Pop.

Soul Asylum continued to enjoy mainstream success with their next album, 1995's platinum-certified Let Your Dim Light Shine, which featured the international hit "Misery." Songs by the band also appeared on multiple compilations and soundtracks including Kevin Smith cult classics Chasing Amy and Clerks.

After the 1998 release of Candy from a Stranger and over a decade of touring, Pirner decided to put out his first solo effort, Faces & Names. However, in 2005 the band suffered a devastating blow with bassist Karl Mueller passing away due to complications from cancer. The following year Soul Asylum released The Silver Lining, the last album on which Mueller played.

In recent years, the band has continued to add to a catalog that illustrates Pirner's enduring gift for insightful songwriting that digs into our deepest, most vulnerable emotions. The quartet — which now includes drummer Michael Bland (Prince Chaka Khan), lead guitarist Ryan Smith and bassist Jeremy Tappero — recorded their most recent album, 2020's Hurry Up and Wait with long-time studio collaborator John Fields, which placed the band back on the Billboard charts.

In 2020, Pirner also published the acclaimed Loud, Fast, Words, a book of his lyrics accompanied by commentary and essays about each Soul Asylum album and song. Of the collection, American Songwriter magazine said, "Loud, Fast, Words stands ahead of the monotony of the thousands of other lyric books on shelves, thanks to Pirner's brash and rock 'n' roll personality bleeding through the pages."

Soul Asylum have also reissued several earlier releases, including The Twin Tone Years, a complete boxset detailing a look into the band's early days in the form of expanded and remastered editions of their first four original albums. In 2018, a rare live album hit record stores from their 1992 performance at Liberty Lunch in Austin, Texas.

More recently, Soul Asylum issued their legendary 1993 MTV Unplugged performance on vinyl for the first time ever as a 2023 Record Store Day exclusive. In celebration of that 30-year anniversary, the band played a special unplugged show at State Theatre in Minneapolis on April 20 that was Soul Asylum's highest-grossing show ever.

At the end of the day, however, Pirner isn't necessarily one for nostalgia. More than 40 years after Soul Asylum coalesced as a band, he is the rare musician that pairs the confidence of a seasoned veteran with the unflagging enthusiasm and ambition of an artist just starting out. His prolific songwriting, combined with an energetic and unparalleled live show, ensures that Soul Asylum isn't stopping anytime soon.

"There's a part of me that's never gonna fit in, but I love being around people who love music, and I'm very loyal to the idea of whatever Soul Asylum is," Pirner says. "The future is bright, everything is good, and if there's something in the music that can make people feel like things are gonna be OK, then it's mission accomplished."

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