Soul Asylum Resurface With New Album 
...from ATN 4/28/98

Band looks to take the punked-up garage sound of its past to another level with new 11-track LP.
Correspondent Gianni Sibilla reports:


MILAN, Italy -- In many ways, singer Dave Pirner still, considers Soul
Asylum a garage band.Maybe not in sound and technique, but certainly in spirit.
From their recent show at the annual Austin, Texas, South By Southwest music
conference, which features many unsigned and relatively unknown acts, to
the band's forthcoming album, Candy From A Stranger, Soul Asylum's main
songwriter said his band has tried to maintain the musical edge that is
often lost with fame.
"We've all grown a little bit and we understand music a
little bit more. Hopefully this will make the new record different in a
better way," Pirner said of the soon- to-be-released LP (May 12). "But at the same time, we're still the same idiots from Minneapolis," he joked, laughing
While there's certainly a garage element to their look -- torn jeans and T-shirts all around -- when it comes to putting out records, they
are as far from the garage as a band could hope to get. As proof, bandleaders Pirner and yhhdfsht.jpg (7428 bytes)guitarist Dan Murphy sat comfortably in the lounge of Milan's Palace hotel recently to talk about the band's new album and latest single, "I Will Still Be Laughing".  "We are very busy. We got in the eye of the hurricane. In these situations you're always touring, promoting, 20 countries at the same
time. Do this. Do that. You don't even know this until you're in the middle of it," the
35-year-old Murphy said, his hair disheveled as if he'd just woken up.
After the huge success of 1993's smash album, Grave Dancers Union, which launched several hit singles -- including "Runaway Train"
-- and raised the band's status from underground pop-punk rockers
to superstars, the Minneapolis-based quartet had some adjusting to do.
The band's subsequent album, 1995's Let Your Dim Light Shine, didn't earn the success of its predecessor, but Soul Asylum say they don't see Candy From a Stranger as a do or die project. "The last record sold about a million copies. If that's our standard, I'm happy with it. So if the new one does that, I'll be happy," Murphy said.
"All of this is not really in our control," the 34-year-old Pirner added. "The record is in our control. We give it to the record company and say, 'You work it out now.' I'm
just looking forward to playing, that's our priority," Pirner explained.
Having started writing material for the new album in 1996,Pirner said the band had to choose from 40 demos recorded between then and now to come up with the 11
tracks on the album. "It was quite an extensive writing period, to make sure we had enough material to choose," he explained, adding that he has spent a good deal of time just letting himself experience life to come up with much of the material.
What he came out with is an album full of some of the classic pop-punk rock that has made a name for Soul Asylum over nine albums, an edgy, guitar-driven sound
fueled by lyrics that speak simply of some of life's biggest dilemmas, including love and the struggle for self-fulfillment.
Among the songs that he composed during that time are the album's first single and another new track, "See You Later." Among the pop-punk standards that drive the
album to its conclusion are the tracks "Blood Into Wine," "Lies of Hate" and "The Game." Some of the lyrics contained in those songs reflect on Pirner's ever-changing attitudes about his life and music.
"I'm always kind-of writing things and trying to figure out what to do next, but I also have to live a little bit to see what my new attitude is," he explained.
The band recorded the album with edm.jpg (9561 bytes)drummer Sterling Campbell,
who left the band after finishing the sessions. His spot has been temporarily filled by Charlie Quintana, who has played with folk-rock legend Bob Dylan and pop songstress Joan Osborne. But Pirner and Murphy emphasized that Quintana is not a permanent replacement.
The band recently tried out Ian Moshington, an unknown drummer that Soul Asylum met in London while playing on a TV show. "He's really exciting. His style is
pretty different from Charlie's one and they're gonna change what the band is gonna sound like," Pirner said. "So we have to be careful, and we still have
a little time to make this decision." Quintana played some club shows with the band and was in Soul Asylum's lineup at the band's recent appearance at the South By Southwest festivities in March, an event that traditionally offers relatively
unknown bands a chance to display their talents to a collection of industry people. "I felt a little bit uncomfortable playing there, because it started out as an
event to get unsigned bands signed. Those are the kind of industry things that make my skin crawl. Our record company was insisting on it," Murphy
For Pirner, the annual event was like the announcement of a
second coming for Soul Asylum. 
"In a way, we did something good, because a lot of people
saw the bands that opened for us," he said. "It was supposed to be our debut again. And we were introducing our new material to the music community
and trying to maintain our place in that community."