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Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Nite Retro - Soul Asylum

THANK GOD IT'S FRIDAY!!! Okay. . .I feel better now! Welcome once again to Friday Nite Retro here at Left in Aboite - where tonight's headliner is Soul Asylum. The band, in one form or another, has been active since 1981 but flew under the radar until their 1992 album "Grave Dancer's Union". The first release from Union, Runaway Train, quickly broke into the top ten and garnered the band the recognition and success that had eluded if for a decade.

On January 20, 1993, the group performed at the first inauguration of President Bill Clinton. The next year, Soul Asylum received the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song for "Runaway Train." The music video for "Runaway Train" featured photographs and names of missing children in a public service video style. At the end of the video, lead vocalist David Pirner appears and says "If you've seen one of these kids, or you are one of them, please call this number" before a missing children telephone helpline number appeared. For use outside the USA, the video was edited to include photos and names of missing children from the area the video would be used. The video was instrumental in reuniting several children with their families.

Runaway Train

Two other songs from Union, Somebody to Shove and Black Gold, also cracked the top ten for the band.

Somebody to Shove

Black Gold

Soul Asylum never again achieved the success level of Union, but did manage a top twenty hit with the track "Misery" from "Let Your Dim Light Shine". By 1997, the band had been dropped from Columbia Records roster. David Pirner said, "It's sort of sad to say, but you could see the whole grunge-rock-band thing getting totally over-saturated and people were looking for something new." The band took a step back; Pirner explained, "We needed to reassess how far we've gone and how much further we're going to go and which way we want to go and what we do right and what we do wrong. It was kind of time to take inventory."


Dave Pirner became good friends with director Kevin Smith, a longtime Soul Asylum fan. The band contributed music to three Kevin Smith films, Clerks, Clerks II, and 1997's Chasing Amy (in which Pirner provided the score). Smith directed the music video for the song "Can't Even Tell," which was featured on the Clerks soundtrack.

Soul Asylum still tours today; check them out at their official website.

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