Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner and Ryan Smith play songs, reflect on the band's past and present

Ryan Smith and Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum performing a Live Virtual Session for The Current. (The Current)

On the day Soul Asylum released their latest album, Hurry Up and Wait, the band's Dave Pirner and Ryan Smith joined Mark Wheat for a Live Virtual Session.

Naturally, nobody could have predicted that the album would have released during a pandemic. "We hadn't really thought about any alternatives because we were already selling pre-orders and stuff," Pirner says. "It never occurred to me that we could push the release date back.

"One part of it says, 'Oh, people are at home and they need some new music'," Pirner continues. "The other part of it is, me and Ryan are supposed to be in L.A. right now, shucking and jiving to promote our record. Now I'm in a basement in Minneapolis."

Nevertheless, Soul Asylum make the best of the unexpected circumstances with this thoughtful conversation with Mark Wheat, interspersed with music from the band's latest release as well as a couple from their back catalogue. Watch the complete session above, and read highlights of Mark's interview with Dave Pirner below.

Interview Highlights

On working with drummer Michael Bland:

"He's the best drummer in the world, just in case anyone wants to know my opinion. There ain't nobody better, and you're only as good as your drummer, which means we're pretty good considering who our drummer is."

On what keeps Pirner motivated to continue Soul Asylum:

"I'm probably the biggest fan of the band, and to me, the band just get better, and if that had not happened, it probably would have ended a long time ago. … We've got a great band. We have a really fantastic organization that's very limited to a very strong and small amount of people."

On what it was like to write his book, Loud Fast Words:

"It was haunting and it was kind of hilarious, because when I look back, I see how I was trying to figure stuff out. There's no blueprint for being a songwriter in a punk-rock band… The part that was interesting to me was looking back and seeing how I was developing. [The retrospection] was traumatic at times, because it does take me back to the emotional place where I was [at the time the earlier songs were written]."

On the lyrical content of the songs on Hurry Up and Wait:

"It's probably more honest than I should ever be. There's not a lot of overthinking. Michael Bland encouraged me to go in that direction: just bring good songs into the studio. Which is kind of funny when it comes from Michael Bland; he was just like, 'Bring in the good ones.' I didn't really overthink anything, which does lend itself to a little more rawness, a little more nakedness, a little more introspection."

On what he's feeling during this time of pandemic:

"I worry about the people on my crew, who all had to file for unemployment because they work for other bands when we're not on the road, and no bands [are touring]. That part is a little painful. And my brother's kids not being able to hug my mother — I mean, that's a bit of a heartbreaker."

Songs Performed


01:34 "New World"
06:27 "If I Told You"
25:12 "Closer to the Stars"
Song 1 is from Soul Asylum's 1992 release, Grave Dancers Union, available on Columbia Records; song 2 is from Soul Asylum's 2020 album, Hurry Up and Wait, out not on Blue Elan Records; and song 3 is from Soul Asylum's 1986 album, While You Were Out, originally released on the Twin/Tone label.

Hosted by Mark Wheat
Produced by Jesse Wiza
Engineered by Erik Stromstad
Web production by Luke Taylor

External Link

Soul Asylum - official site

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2 Photos

  • Soul Asylum
    Soul Asylum - Hurry Up and Wait (Blue Elan Records)
  • Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum
    Dave Pirner photographed in Minneapolis on November 19, 2019. (Tony Nelson)