Pirner (right) with members of Spacehog.
Pirner (right) with members of Spacehog. (Photo: Mike Popovich)
The Summerland Tour included both Soul Asylum and Spacehog.
The Summerland Tour included both Soul Asylum and Spacehog. (Photo: Mike Popovich)

Milwaukee Talks: Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner

SEATTLE – I first met Dave Pirner somewhere in the Midwest, in a parking lot, between Prevost tour buses. Probably at a big concert sponsored by a big radio station.

We had a friend in common, my then tour manager Lew Kiner. He seemed nice enough, in fact, nicer than he needed to be. I think Wynona Ryder was there somewhere and he was considered something of a big shot on the Alt Rock scene of the mid ‘90s.

Almost 20 years later I found myself sharing beers, stories and music with him on the Summerland Tour. The band, of course, has seen a few changes over the years, but in no way disappoints; of all the bands on the bill, Soul Asylum seems to me the most timeless, the most "rock 'n’ roll" sounding.

In researching this interview, I realized the band has had more than its fair share of tragedies, and Dave, for his part, has never been shy to stand up and be counted when it comes to helping those in need, through his music.

Since Soul Asylum will release a new album in 2015, I checked back in with him and asked a few questions for the OnMilwaukee.com readers.

OnMilwaukee.com: Can you tell me some of your enduring memories of Milwaukee?

Dave Pirner: Well, my father was born and raised in Milwaukee so I have lots of memories of the place. My first-ever train ride was to Milwaukee and the Milwaukee Public Museum was a part of my childhood.

OMC: What are your favorite Midwestern brews?

DP: Old Milwaukee is definitely one of the more reliable and affordable brews in the Midwest, although during high school we'd get 24 bottles of Pfeiffer from Minnesota for $4.99!

OMC: So the band has been together since 1983 – you must have seen some ups and downs on the Minneapolis scene over the years. What are your impressions of what is going on now?

DP: Well, I defer to Michael Bland (current Soul Asylum and former Prince drummer) on this one. He has more of a pulse on Minneapolis than I do because he still lives there (Pirner moved to New Orleans in 2002). But he ca…

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