Soul Asylum's story begins in 1981, when three friends from Minneapolis, MN decided to form a band. Guitarist Dan Murphy, bassist Karl Mueller, and then drummer Dave Pirner began playing under the name Loud Fast Rules, with Murphy and Pirner taking turns on vocals. In 1983, Pirner moved from drums to lead vocals and rhythm guitar, and the band formerly known as Loud Fast Rules became Soul Asylum. They quickly became frontrunners of college radio and began hitting the road with a vengeance, garnering a reputation as America's best live band. Word was spreading and so was their loyal and growing audience.
Landing their first record deal with Twin/Tone in 1984, the band recorded a total of four albums for the local indie label, Say What You Will… Everything Can Happen in 1984 (later reissued as Say What You Will, Clarence… Karl Sold the Truck), Made To Be Broken & While You Were Out in 1986, and the EP Clam Dip & Other Delights in 1988. Eventually, Twin/Tone struck a deal with A&M Records in which the major label would distribute some of their more successful acts, and in 1988, Soul Asylum were tapped to join the A&M roster. Under this new agreement the band released Hang Time in 1988 followed by And The Horse They Rode In On in 1990.
With the national buzz on the band continuing to grow and their deal with A&M nearing its end, other major labels came knocking at their door. In 1992, they signed with Columbia Records and released Grave Dancers Union. The album was filled with crunchy but melodic tunes like "Somebody To Shove" and "Black Gold" and helped open more doors for the band, scoring significant alternative radio airplay and MTV and VH1 rotation. When the ballad "Runaway Train" was released as the album's third single, it rose to number five on the Billboard chart, raised album sales to double-platinum level, and won the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 1994.
Soul Asylum followed up the success of Grave Dancers Union with Let Your Dim Light Shine in 1995, which climbed to #6 on the Billboard 200 and featured the #1 Modern Rock track "Misery." After releasing Candy From a Stranger in 1998, the band members wanted to concentrate on writing and took a break from recording. Soul Asylum reconvened in 2004 to begin work on their ninth full-length album, joined by a new drummer, Michael Bland. Sadly, shortly thereafter, Karl was diagnosed with throat cancer and passed away after finishing his work on the new album. The Silver Lining was released in 2006 and dedicated to Karl Mueller's life and memory.
The band took a long and unscheduled hiatus as they grieved and dealt with the loss of their friend and bass player. After six years, a few line-up changes and some soul searching, Soul Asylum issued a new album in 2012, aptly titled Delayed Reaction. The wait was most certainly worth it. Loyal fans were happy to discover the group's trademark ragged-but-right sound was still very much intact. Today the heart and soul of Soul Asylum remains and they continue to produce honest and passionate rock n' roll. Soul Asylum 2015 consists of Pirner, Michael Bland on drums, Winston Roye on bass, and Justin Sharbono on guitar. They continue to tour and are currently putting the finishing touches on a new studio album to be released later this year.