This year marks the 30th anniversary of Soul Asylum’s formation in Minneapolis, under the name Loud Fast Rules. And that’s caught frontman Dave Pirner somewhat off guard.
“People keep reminding me of that. It really takes you by surprise,” Pirner, 47, says with a laugh. “It’s just such a twisted, twisted road that you just can’t imagine what you’ve been through to get here. It feels like 300 years in 30 seconds; you get really beat up and stuff, and it happens fast and it happens immediately.
“You just think, ‘We don’t know what we’re doing. We never know what we’re doing. But somehow we’re here,’ which is kind of surreal. But that’s the way I like it.”
Soul Asylum’s commercial peak was 1992’s “Grave Dancers Union,” which went triple platinum and launched the Grammy Award-winning hit “Runaway Train.” The group’s last album, “The Silver Lining,” came out in 2006, but the current lineup — including Pirner and co-founding guitarist Dan Murphy along with ex-Replacements and current Guns N’ Roses bassist Tommy Stinson and Prince drummer Michael Bland — has been working on a new album between Minneapolis and New Orleans, where Pirner now resides.
“There’s actually some more interesting modal stuff happening on these songs,” Pirner says. “I think that’s really what I’ve learned from being in New Orleans and trying to see past the obvious influence of roots music on rock ’n’ roll. You start to take really bizarre, subtle detours, which is a lot of fun.
“When cab drivers ask me what kind of music we play, I tell them it’s kind of a combination of rock and folk music and punk music and they kind of go, ‘Oh...’ (laughs) It’s not easy to describe, but you can hear it when it’s right.”
Soul Asylum performs at 8:45 p.m. Saturday, July 2, at the Stars & Stripes Festival in downtown Mount Clemens. Admission is free. Call 586-493-4344 or visit www.startsandstripesfest.com.
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