Feb 162011

What’s so bad about Soul Asylum? Why does mere mention of them make the likes of Townsman misterioso “shiver?”

  • Was their music all that bad, from their indie, poor man’s Replacements stuff to their giant hit song, “Runaway Train”?
  • Is it the fact that they far exceded the popularity of their groundbreaking Twin Cities colleagues?
  • Was it the expiration date passing on Dave Pirner‘s rat’s nest hair and severely ripped jeans?
  • Was it the other guitarist’s lank mall-rat hair?
  • Was it the fact that Pirner dated Winona Ryder while you didn’t?

Is it the fact that their commercial stuff and its “pro” production exposed them and much of that “heartland” ’80s “alternative rock” as little more than wannabe 1970s-era AOR, the kind of stuff Rock Town Hall’s patron saint of mediocrity, Bob Seger, and the likes of REO Speedwagon cranked out? Did Soul Asylum, The Replacements, et al suddenly pale next to a simple, direct artist from the tail end of ’70s AOR like Tom Petty?

While we’re on the subject, what’s going on with Pirner’s hair and jeans these days, and when’s the last time you thought about those big, honking cardboard boxes they used to house CDs in?


  99 Responses to “What’s So Bad About Soul Asylum?”

  1. bostonhistorian

    1. They weren’t even the fifth best band in Minneapolis in the 80s. It’s a long way from claiming “Loud Fast Rules” to “Runaway Train”, and it’s not a pretty journey. They do get credit for the “Clam Dip and Other Delights” album cover however.
    2. If Soul Asylum were a baseball player, they’d be a right-handed mop up pitcher referred to by team critics as “just another guy”. They’re just there, taking up space, along with their left-handed counterpart, the Spin Doctors.
    3. I still have a CD long box. Scruffy the Cat’s “Moons of Jupiter” CD was packaged in a fold-out long box which served as the launching pad backdrop for the cardboard rocket (assembly required) included in the box. I’m not sure whatever possessed record companies to use the long box in the first place–maybe because they’re roughly the same height as an LP?

  2. Where’s EPG? Can we re-enact the Great Soul Asylum War of RTH Chess?

  3. shawnkilroy

    nothin’s SO BAD about them.
    nothin that good about them either.
    Pirner gave the vibe that he was his own biggest fan, and that’s a turnoff.
    he’s cut from the same mold as Evan Dando. 90’s indie douche.

  4. misterioso

    Mod, your reasons are all valid, though it makes no difference to me, really, that they became more popular than better bands.

    Really, Bostonhistorian nails it–nails it!–with this: “They’re just there, taking up space, along with their left-handed counterpart, the Spin Doctors.”

    File under: It’s Funny ‘Cause It’s True.

    My memory may be faulty on this, but as I recall it everyone knew (and, as LC says, “Everybody Knows”) that the Spin Doctors were a joke; whereas Soul Asylum had, and still in some circles seems to have (at least for their allegedly good, early stuff) indie, alt, whatever, credibility; whereas the only significant difference between them and, say, Bon Jovi, was tonsorial.

    Long cd boxes: How many trees? How many, Lord!

  5. Things that are cool about Soul Asylum:
    1. Their cover of Summer of Drugs on the Victoria Williams tribute album.

    2. The song Sometime To Return from the Hang Time album

    3. The Clam Dip album cover.

    4. The fact that the lead guitarist was in Golden Smog.

    5. The Jan Saudek photo on the cover of Grave Dancers union (he’s the same guy who’s photo was on a Daniel Lanois’s second album)

    Uncool things about Soul Asylum:

    1. Ten times as famous but one tenth as interesting as the Replacements.

    2. Massive and unwarranted overexposure.

    3. Yet another example that the key to success is being the least offensive to the most amount of people.

    Still, on the whole, they were much better than the smug, nouveau-hippy, bass popping, pointy headstock shenanigans of the Spin Doctors.

  6. BigSteve

    I liked Soul Asylum, and I’ll leave it at that for now. Funny you mention Dando, because the time I saw SA live the Lemonheads opened. SA was so loud I had to leave to save myself.

    As far as recalling the longboxes, I thought about them recently because I saw some old clip of a band on Lettermen where he held up the longbox while introducing them. Good times.

  7. I don’t recall that. I’ll see if I can dig that discussion up from the RTH Chess archives.

  8. shawnkilroy

    also, i have no confidence that Wynona Ryder is any good at sex or even likes it.

  9. Yes, to answer a call for clarification in an earlier thread, I think I may like Soul Asylum as much as The Replacements. Now I just got a message that I need to reboot my computer. Coincidence?

  10. misterioso

    A higher power is telling you something, yes.

  11. bostonhistorian

    Soul Asylum and Spin Doctors both had albums which went triple platinum in 1993. The record buying public wasn’t making distinctions about “better”. You’re right on about the “unoffensive” part.

  12. Ouch! Comparing Soul Asylum to Spin Doctors? That hurts.
    In the video, Dave Letterman’s intro writer got it right — if you’ve ever seen them live — they are pretty good. Soul Asylum (now featuring Tommy Stinson on guitar) is still around and may be coming to a county fair near you this summer! Maybe playing with The Bangles!

    What’s interesting for me is that the post brings up a point about separating the personality of the artist from the music – which can be hard, but I had first hand experience with it through a band I like (Soul Asylum) and a band I don’t (Matchbox 20).

    Dave Pirner seemed to turn into kind of a bitter boy in the late 90s. I got backstage passes to see what started out as a Soul Aslyum, Semisonic, Matchbox 20 tour. This was the year Matchbox 20 blew up, and by the part of the tour I saw at Merriwether Post, it was Matchbox 20, Soul Aslyum, and Semisonic. Pirner made sarcastic comments from the stage “You probably don’t know this because our record company sucks but we have a new album out.” (Candy from a Stranger)

    Neither Pirner nor Semisonic’s Dan Wilson wanted to have anything to do with us backstage “guests” — they were on their phones or in their bus — but Rob Thomas and his bandmates were very nice, pounding the ‘ol Budweiser’ and enjoying the ride up the charts.

    But, I still like Soul Asylum — here’s one of my favorites — We 3 –


  13. Oh man, I like Soul Aslyum, but as much as The Replacements? I just gave some money to a guy through one of those artist direct sites who’s doing a new documentary on them — “Color Me Obsessed”

  14. I would agree with you, for some reason, but that doesn’t mean a lot of dudes in the early ’90s didn’t want to see if they could help her out.

  15. bostonhistorian

    I never got the Wynona Ryder thing. Then again I’m an Amelia Fletcher fan, so what do I know?

  16. alexmagic

    I would have done right by Winona. He has to take some responsibility in setting her on the runaway train path that her life ended up taking.

    But mostly, I remember seeing Pirner in several photos/appearances wearing a goofy, ratty-looking Spaghetti-O’s t-shirt that really annoyed me for some reason, and that would be the source of any lingering discontent I might have with the works of Soul Asylum. Which, I might not have any. I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about them even while reading this post and the comments.

  17. misterioso

    It is perhaps not a coincidence that I thought Chasing Amy was absurdly overrated and thoroughly phony, too.

  18. I bought Grave Dancers Union when it came out on cassette (may have been the last cassette I ever bought) and I thought it was pretty good. My mother in-law likes Runaway Train, and I bet that is 99% of why they are “the enemy”. the Lemonheads had the same fate. A big pop hit is selling out if you are a “real” band.

    I worked in radio promotion when their folloe up came out and we could not get radio to play “Misery Inc” (from Let Your Dim Light Shine 1995) at all. It was a total flop and they never recovered from it (at least the label gave up on spending money on them). The “Friends” crowd (white twenty-somethings who liked popular rock music) moved on to Semisonic or Hootie and the alternative crowd gave up on them as soon as their videos started to get played.

    I think the press had a lot to do with their downfall as well, Dave P was not that interesting a guy, but he made the magazine covers anyway, which didnt help.

  19. The Semisonic book has a bit about that tour (and about the change of favor happening to all three bands at that time)

  20. cherguevara

    Ah, the longbox. I used to save them. I think two longboxes would fit in the space formerly occupied by two records, as well as being a theft deterrent and increased space for artwork/display. I once heard that the cardboard industry lobbied for the longbox because they were otherwise losing business because of fewer record covers being manufactured, but I can’t corroborate that claim.

    Blister packs were even worse. I had a hard time even opening those damn things without damaging the jewel case or the booklet.

    Rumor is that some new Macs are going to ship without optical drives. RIP physical media!

  21. Good call and a very interesting book.


    One of the guys in Semisonic is now in a band with Dan’s brother Matt called The Twilight Hours, who are based in Mpls. And, of course the Wilson bros were in the great Trip Shakespeare.

  22. 90s nostalgia day — Still love “It’s Shame About Ray” — Evan Dando is touring with Julianna Hatfield this winter. I hope he’s cleaned up — he was mess when I saw him a few years ago.

  23. saturnismine

    Mod, are you goading me? The notion that my new found nemesis misterioso hates them this much, combined with my history of going to bat for them, has made you conjure this thread, hasn’t it? Good show!

    They’re certainly not defensible for many of the reasons people bring up.

    HOWEVER: none of you are even going back as far as “Made to be Broken,” or “While You Were Out.” Those were pretty good albums, but they are their only ones.

    If you had seen them play out during this period — at their Dobbs shows for the philly peeps on RTH — you might have a greater appreciation for them. This is before Pirner became deliberately dopey, and full of himself.

    I’ll go to the mat for them during that period and that period alone.

    I saw them on the Hang Time tour at the Chestnut Cabaret. Living Color opened for them, and the crowd bowed down to them. Soul Asylum looked for all the world like a *very intimidated band* that had to go out there and rock *as hard as possible* in order to match the opener’s impact. It didn’t work…they were trying too hard. I mean, Living Color were technically proficient, rocked hard and loud, and made it look easy, but sheesh, they weren’t THAT good.

    I thought that Soul Asylum’s interpretation of themselves in relation to THAT band was kind of pathetic: they saw themselves as having to “over-try” in order to match them. Pretty lame. To my way of looking at things, they lost ALL their mojo that night.

  24. saturnismine

    And by the way, I haven’t heard anybody say that anything was “great” about Soul Asylum in a long time.

  25. BigSteve

    I remember really liking the album called And the Horse They Rode in On. I don’t see how getting a fluke hit that grannies liked invalidates all of their previous work.

  26. pudman13

    I’m not a fan of their breakthrough stuff, but HANG TIME is one fine album, start to finish.

  27. Sat Said:
    — “HOWEVER: none of you are even going back as far as “Made to be Broken,” or “While You Were Out.” Those were pretty good albums, but they are their only ones.

    If you had seen them play out during this period — at their Dobbs shows for the philly peeps on RTH — you might have a greater appreciation for them. This is before Pirner became deliberately dopey, and full of himself.

    I’ll go to the mat for them during that period and that period alone” —

    What he said.

    I saw them at that Dobbs show and it remains one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. I also will tell you the Milkmen played several shows with them on tour – they opened for us in Berkley CA comes to mind and we pulled all the stops out to play our best that night. Having to follow them that night was hard work (we made it out alive). Then they stole our “Jesus Saves” magnetic sign off our van door as they drove away…

  28. saturnismine

    I don’t see how the fluke hit invalidates their previous work either….

    but it can inflect the way we hear it with a new understanding.

    one of the things that appealed to people was that they were a band coming out of the hard core milieu that had more respect for pop songwriting than most of their hardcore bretheren.

    however, once you hear a cheesy hit like “runaway train,” you might go back and listen to that early stuff and hear the embryonic tendencies to write a cheesy hit like that and think “ahhh…even back then, they were shooting for ‘runaway train.'”

    This is a hastily written description of the thought process that occurs when someone is so disappointed by a band that they don’t like the early stuff anymore, but it probably comes close.

    It’s as if that early stuff actually doesn’t sound the same anymore, in light of the direction they took.

  29. saturnismine

    I totally disagree…totally.

    to each his own.

  30. misterioso

    Dude, we’re just ebony and ivory, living together in perfect harmony!

    But while the official narrative states that SA were pretty decent up to point X (whether it was Runaway Train or some other point), my assertion is that they were never any better than mediocre. Perhaps mediocrity ought not to induce shivers of revulsion; perhaps there are indeed other factors at play; and perhaps I should seek counseling.

    Maybe it is my hard-to-shake and long-held belief that at least 90% of the bands that got tugged along in the wake of the indie/alt scene of that era were lacked any meaningful distinguishing characteristics (discounting sartorial, tonsorial, and attitudinal posturings) from the mediocre crap being churned out by bands labeled mainstream. Hence, my appreciation of bostonhistorian’s astute comparison of SA to Spin Doctors.

    I love what to me are the three great Replacements records–Let It Be, Tim, Pleased to Meet Me. They aren’t perfect but I think they get something powerful across, even on the lesser songs. If all their records were like Don’t Tell a Soul, on the other hand, that would be a different story. I remember after that came out–what was the song that got a lot of airplay, I’ll Be You, maybe? Not a terrible song or anything. I was riding around with a friend of mine who didn’t know from the Replacements, and the song was on the top 40 station he listened to, and he asked me who they were. “The Replacements,” said I. “Who are they Replacements for? Bryan Adams?” said he.


  31. Don’t pin how absurdly overrated and thoroughly phony Chasing Amy was on Soul Asylum, if that’s what you’re getting at. Man, that movie blew – and it said so much about some dear friends who liked it. (And feeling that way, in turn, said way too much about me.)

  32. saturnismine

    You not liking their early stuff and you claiming that it de facto sucked are two different things, but you don’t seem to understand that.

    See mrclean’s post below about their early live shows.

    Alos, you betray yourself by your proud assertion of your belief that…

    ” 90% of the bands that got tugged along in the wake of the indie/alt scene of that era were lacked any meaningful distinguishing characteristics…from the mediocre crap being churned out by bands labeled mainstream.”

    In fact, this is so blatantly narrow minded and anti-indie backlash tinged (a tendency of yours that is safe to cultivate here in RTH-land) that this should be a confession, not a proud declaration presented as an insight.

  33. misterioso

    In fact, until today I had no recollection of Soul Asylum’s being connected with it at all. But, having been reminded, it makes sense to me: it’s all of a a piece. And my experience with that movie is much like yours–I have friends who think it is great and who rate Kevin Smith highly, in general, which I do not.

  34. I was at that Living Color-Soul Asylum show too, and the fact that I couldn’t stand Living Color – that they were essentially Black Van Hagar with a bassist popping strings now and then rather than flying across the stage, hoisted by the seat of his oversized pants, made the over-trying Soul Asylum more likeable. I’d heard those early albums, too, in parties we frequented, with the Temple U crowd on that little street that used to have block party shows now and then. They were a decent band – mediocre, some might say – but I say they were on the “plus” side of mediocre, much like The Replacements, for the most part:P

  35. Good stuff, Townspeeps. I’m glad we’re working through these issues. Let’s keep hashing this out, but don’t forget to high five the argumentative Townsperson to your right.

  36. It’s a bitch, my friend. The day we finally meet in person, let’s review our thoughts on that turd.

  37. misterioso

    Actually, my thinking their early stuff is mediocre means I think their early stuff is mediocre. What part of that is confusing? Others like it: whereas I do not. It is not a factual disagreement, such as mistakenly thinking the Beatles assembled their American lps or that ZZ Top had herds of cattle on stage.

    As for my assessment being narrow minded….Yes? And?

    What is not, however, is “anti-indie backlash.” It’s just, uh, “lash.”

    My not having seen them live, early, middle, or late, is duly admitted, and quite possibly in person they were able magically to transform sows’ ears into silk purses and vice-versa. This is a gap in my experience that I will have to live with. On the other hand, I DID see Spin Doctors open for someone, so I think that I’ve suffered enough.

  38. misterioso

    High five!

  39. misterioso

    Living Color “were essentially Black Van Hagar with a bassist popping strings now and then rather than flying across the stage, hoisted by the seat of his oversized pants…”

    Good thing I wasn’t drinking coffee when I read that or my computer screen would be ruined. That’s good stuff. I might not go that far but, on the other hand, it’s good that you did.

    But Mod, don’t you see that your not liking Living Color and claiming they de facto suck are two different things? Ah, never mind….High five!

  40. saturnismine

    “beatles assembled their american LPs” is a ham handed misrepresentation of what I was arguing. Nice reach, though. You’re like a fan of a team that won a Super Bowl eons ago and still uses it to win arguments.

    What you’re claiming about indie bands v label bands (at least you admit it’s narrow minded) is totally “anti-indie backlash.” You’re so lost in a wave of it you can’t even see it! Don’t worry though, you’re safe here on RTH.

    You DID pay money to see the Spin Doctors play? And you admit it? Wow.

    I don’t high five.

  41. saturnismine


    You asserted that they were mediocre.

    that’s not the same thing as saying you didn’t like them.

    It wasn’t until I called you on it that you parsed it this way.

  42. misterioso

    I will now reassert it. High five!

  43. saturnismine

    yeah, Living Color were annoying, weren’t they?

    And so were all the ‘xpn types who fell in love with them that night.

    I can see how their over-trying-ness was actually endearing, but that night, they were a different band than they were at Dobbs. They weren’t in command of themselves. They were sweating out of nervousness, not sweating because they were working hard.

    I agree, though, overall, they’re like a “6,” just on the plus side of mediocre.

  44. misterioso

    This is good stuff. Reminds me of college. Good arguments about bad music, people with no sense of humor not knowing when their chains are being jerked. Takes me way back. I’m getting misty….

  45. saturnismine

    Can we just begrudgingly acknowledge them instead?

  46. saturnismine

    Maybe you’re just not that funny.

  47. misterioso

    Dude, what gives? It’s fine for you to say Living Color were “annoying,” not in command, and “just on the plus side of mediocre” but I’m an a-hole for saying SA were mediocre and, in fact, mediocre in a rather exemplary manner? When you get a chance, just jot down the rules for me on a napkin and send it my way. High Five!

  48. misterioso

    High ten!

  49. saturnismine

    Now who’s jerking who’s chain? : )

  50. saturnismine

    Oh…and SA were the ones who were guilty of “over-trying-ness,” and not being in command, etc..

    I never called you an a-hole.

    Don’t put words in my piehole.

  51. shawnkilroy

    “Alas, you betray yourself……..”
    Saturn’s in the house!

  52. saturnismine

    I am feeling SO Catholic today.

  53. saturnismine


  54. BigSteve

    I think when any of us say an artist or a song sucks/rules/yawns there’s an implied (I think) in there. The Mod is famous here for saying Satisfaction is “objectively” great, but that’s rare.

  55. BigSteve

    But I didn’t really think Runaway Train was written as a hit single. I thought it was one of those songs that works fine as a deep track, but some label hack divined its earworm qualities, and a slick video pushed it in everybody’s faces.

    I understand the undermining process you’re talking about, but I don’t think it’s fair to apply it here.

    I think it’s a good idea to remember that I don’t think anyone is suggesting Soul Asylum was a great as the Stones. I thought they were a solid bunch of blue-collar road hogs, and they were enjoyable on that level. I can’t be bothered with caring about Dave Pirner’s image of himself. It about the music, maaaan!

  56. saturnismine

    BigSteve, Am I jerking your chain, too?

  57. BigSteve

    I don’t even know anymore, but don’t stop now. I’m getting off on all this.

  58. saturnismine

    Satisfaction is, indeed, objectively great.

  59. Somebody to shove was the lead off but runaway train was 2nd on the tape so it was no deep track by the time it was released

  60. I love living colour. One of the best live bands out there. And Corey Glover has a killer rock voice. The guitar took me a while to get into though

  61. Come on, didn’t anyone else get a little misty when the video ended with those “milk carton” images of runaway kids, or are you all still smarting from the fact that George Martin didn’t get to arrange the strings on The Beatles’ “She’s Leaving Home”?

  62. BigSteve

    Only the version where I can hear the acoustic guitar.

  63. I forgot that “Runaway Train” was big in 1993-1994, when my wife and I were living in Hungary. They showed that video a lot on EuroMTV, and along with maybe 3 other videos at that time that featured Americans and guitars, I probably liked it a little more than I would have had I not been homesick now and then. Hell, I remember crying once while watching Boyz 2 Men sing live on EuroMTV, inspiring a triple-shot of longing for my country, my city, and the sight of black people!

    On EuroMTV the video for “Runaway Train” ended with Pirner making a PSA-type message to call a certain number if you had information regarding one of the missing kids. I just saw now, on Wikipedia, that the phone number/PSA part was excised in the US. No wonder some of you don’t hold the band in slightly higher regard!


  64. pudman13

    Just out of curiosity…what albums do you like from that time period? (circa 1988?)

    I have to say there are very few records I bought in the late 80s that didn’t disappoint me.

  65. pudman13

    btw, Living Color…now there’s an interesting one. I saw them live a bit earlier than that and thought they were absolutely trmendous. Then I bought their record, which didn’t have 1/10th the energy or sonic interest of the live show. They had something to be sure, but their records sure didn’t show it.

  66. pudman13

    P.S. I did own MADE TO BE BROKEN and it was OK…had a few good songs on it, but a lot of blah too.

  67. iwatson

    Grave Dancers Union was released 6 October 1992.

  68. alexmagic

    Hell, I remember crying once while watching Boyz 2 Men sing live

    I just quickly cycled through about four or five different emotional and intellectual reactions when I read that. It is my subjective belief that you are great, Mod.

    When we’ve finished working through all of this, can we move on to the related issue of coming up with an official worst-to-first ranking of the members of the Backbeat Band, now that we are approaching the historic 17th anniversary of the soundtrack album’s release?

  69. misterioso

    Psst, Mod: I have it on good authority that the strings were added by Capitol. Pass it on.

  70. misterioso

    You are gently suggesting my distaste for the band and the song indicates a callousness towards runaway children, aren’t you?

  71. Welcome aboard, iwatson. So you are correct. I guess the album was still going strong in Europe the year I was over there.

  72. saturnismine

    hmmm….off the top of me head…

    I like Daydream Nation a lot (that’s late ’88, early ’89, right?).

    Surfer Rosa ain’t bad, either.

    The great “Isn’t Anything” was released back then, yes?

    Ultramega OK came out around then…

    You’re Living All Over Me or Bug…maybe a little earlier for the former and a little later for the latter, but both are albums that made me happy (the former much more so).

    Prince’s Black Album…(which I prefer to Lovesexy)

    Camper van Beethoven’s “Beloved Sweetheart” came out around then…

    I like all of these better than anything Living Color did.

    In fact, ’87 – ’88 – ’89 wasn’t such a bad year.

  73. saturnismine

    No no…I meant the sensation of being satisfied…not the song.

  74. saturnismine

    paranoia knows no bounds…

  75. saturnismine

    At the time, I could listen to “Made to be Broken” straight through. It was the rare album that didn’t require needle lifting.

    Our tastes are different.

  76. saturnismine

    You and the late 80s Mick Jagger would agree, it seems.

  77. misterioso

    Paranoid? Who says I’m paranoid? And why are they saying it? Why?

  78. saturnismine

    Oh and didn’t Bucky Fellini come out around then, mrclean?

  79. saturnismine

    : )

  80. saturnismine

    Yeah… I thought Chasing Amy sucked, too. Really. I’m with you.

  81. iwatson

    Bucky Fellini was released in 1987.

  82. Lotta chatter for Soul Asylum. Nobody mentioned this yet but some bands benefit from just being “there” when a scene breaks open. Old story is that is Dave P yelling in the background when the MLPS police break up the party in the Replacements’ “Kids Don’t Follow”. I’d guess that being part of the scene has a lot to do with minor groups like Quicksilver Messenger Service or Love Tractor or Candlebox.

    The Spin Doctors comparison seems unfair to me, The Lemonheads sounds closer to the truth. Soul Aslyum had listenable, indie records like Say What You Will and Made to Be Broken and Grave Dancer was pretty alright. But Pirner was too recognizable, too Hollywood with both Winona and a Grammy award. And Candy From a Stranger may be the worst record I’ve ever purchased.

  83. bostonhistorian

    To be clear: I was only comparing Soul Asylum to the Spin Doctors because they both went triple platinum at roughly the same time. They’re bands that, for whatever reason, caught the public ear, and sold in massive quantities, then tastes changed and they never reached that level again. They were product filling MTV and the radio and consequently were listened to by people who quickly moved onto something else. There just aren’t that many serious consumers of music, but there are plenty of people who used to buy five or so CDs a year based on what they heard on the radio or what their friends were listening to. Soul Asylum and Spin Doctors both managed to be one of those five CDs.

    I grew up listening to the Minneapolis bands and I can honestly say that when I think about the Soul Asylum shows I saw c. 1984-85, they just weren’t that interesting compared to what The Replacements or Husker Du or even Man Sized Action were doing.

  84. 2000 Man

    Long boxes were so record stores wouldn’t have to buy new bins, and they had the added benefit of being “anti theft” devices. Half the size of an lp and kids stole lp’s so I don’t know how they floated that one by, but I remember reading about how great it was that stores didn’t need to buy new bins, saving consumers money!

    Then that class action suit came along and a bunch of us got like 8 bucks from the labels after being ripped off for so long on cd prices.

  85. 2000 Man

    So far the only thing I’ve really liked about Kevin Smith is his guest appearance on DeGrassi.

  86. 2000 Man

    I saw them open for the Stones in 89. They played that one song they used to play. I couldn’t wait for them to stop.

  87. pudman13

    Your list shows that our difference of opinion is much stronger on this one band than it is on music of the time in general. Interesting. ISN’T ANYTHING is the only one on your list I am not especially fond of, though I was at the time of release. Over time, it has lost its appeal to me. I’ve always thought of MBV as a band to take in small doses but not a whole album at once.

  88. Never saw much in that band. They didn’t have as much that was as original or convincing as the bands they were surrounded by (Replacements, Husker Du, etc), and there wasn’t enough bad about them to make them stand out as something to avoid either. Whenever I hear a song by them, it always reminds me a bit of a better song by another band that I’d rather be listening to. At their best, maybe like a less cloying Mellencamp?

  89. cherguevara

    Soul Asylum becoming more popular than the Replacements didn’t bother me. The Goo Goo Dolls becoming more popular than the Replacements bothered me. There was a band that seemed to take some essence of the Replacements and refine it into an utterly uncool, slick dreck. At least Soul Asylum seemed like they were part of that scene, they paid a lot of dues and maybe in the long run, having that smash hit was the worst thing that could’ve happened for their career.

  90. It warms my heart to see such lively discussion of SA here, even if most of it is negative. I’ll start with the admission that I like the band, and have for over 20 years. Like a couple of others here, I think the Spin Doctors comparison is ill-informed. Just cause SA’s record company stuck them on a crappy “alternative nation” tour with those bozos years ago, it doesn’t mean that they should be compared either musically or in terms of relevance in the grand scheme of things.

    Bottom line kids: the reason SA shouldn’t be compared to Spin Docs (or dismissed in favor of the Replacements, or Husker Du) in 2011 is that they’re the only band of the bunch that’s still in existence – out there touring and recording even now, on the 30th anniversary of the original formation of Loud Fast Rules. Hell, they even have a former Replacement in the band (Stinson), along with ex-Prince drummer Michael Bland (who is a force to be reckoned with and awesome live). The fact that they’re still out there making music (and having a great time doing it) counts for a hell of a lot. They haven’t been on a major label for years (been self-producing) but they play probably 20-30 gigs a year to crowds that are admittedly smaller than in their heyday, but they still bring it. Yes, they have to play the obligatory Runaway Train, but then thankfully the drunken idiots who’ve been repeatedly screaming to hear it leave and the rest of us can enjoy the show. Were they best in the pre GDU-days? Probably. Most bands are at their peak in their early to mid-20s and/or in the first few albums. But if you really look at their entire body of work, they deserve a bit more credit.

  91. misterioso

    “The fact that they’re still out there making music (and having a great time doing it) counts for a hell of a lot.” I mean, good for them, but can’t the same thing be said about these guys? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQygOFy31zk Sorry, Mod.

    As for having Tommy Stinson in your band–it hurts to say this, but I got two words for you: Guns ‘n’ Roses. Too bad: I know a guy’s got to make a living. Does anyone else think that Bash and Pop record was really good? There’s a record from the early 90s I do like.

  92. “Sorry, Mod”??? I was afraid that was going to be a link to a video of my band and its increasingly…selective audience.

  93. Good stuff, canuck, and welcome to the show. Don’t be a stranger!

  94. I really liked three songs or so from the Bash and Pop album and found the rest to be pleasant but forgettable. I’m not damning them with faint praise, though. Three or four pretty good songs on an album is a respectable outing in my book.

  95. misterioso

    Am I mistaken in thinking that you are actually John Stamos?

  96. underthefloat

    I am Mpls guy. I liked SA pretty well for awhile but I really didn’t ever think they were in the same league with the Mats or Husker Du. Just not as strong of a band. Not that lyrics always make or break a band for me but SA had some cringe worthy lyrics at times. This is per my distant and cloudy memory.

    When I would catch them live I’d often think they were a fun live band. Then the feeling would pass and I tend to play the Mats or Husker Du again.

    Bash and Pop…Yes, a good but unmemorable record. Tommy was a great, fun guitarist with the Mats. I saw Bash and Pop live and he really was clearly out of his element. It was suddenly to serious (by his standards) and he just doesn’t have the voice for it live.

    Check out Soul Asylums acceptance speech at a MN music awards. It starts about 55 seconds in. I’m going out on a limb and guessing they were tipping a few.


  97. Thanks for the welcome. Okay, back to misterioso…I guess I should have said “still making GOOD music” and sounding great live. Here’s my counter to your youtube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PPRiqk_Gvc

    Comparisons with the Beach Boys are problematic. While I personally loathe the band, they are pretty iconic for what they did back in the day, they’re longtime members of the R&R Hall of fame, and will go down as an important band in the musical lexicon regardless of how crappy I find their style. The fact that they haven’t released an album in almost 20 years is another matter, and in the clip you posted, it appears that they really can’t carry a tune any more (which is inexcusable for a band that made their name on tight harmonies). To be fair though, they are all about a hundred years old now.

    As for John Stamos, I can say for certain that SA has never invited him on stage. Instead, they’ve shared the stage with Lou Reed, Iggy, Vic Chesnutt, Wain McFarlane, Victoria Williams…

  98. jeangray

    Oh yeah. That’s exactly why I don’ like them.

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