Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner talks Meat Puppets, New Orleans, 30 years of alternative rock

Erik Petrovich

Eighties alternative bands Soul Asylum and the Meat Puppets began their tour together a few weeks ago, and stopped by the Aggie Theatre Aug. 5 to play for the Fort Collins community.

Soul Asylum is in the final stages of releasing their 11th studio album, “Change of Fortune, through PledgeMusic, a crowd-based music campaigning service.


Before the show, Dave Pirner, frontman for Soul Asylum, sat down with the Collegian to talk about the tour and what is coming next.

Collegian: What led to a Soul Asylum and Meat Puppets tour?

Dave Pirner: Well, oddly enough, the Meat Puppets manager is a friend of mine. We did a tour of Europe with the Meat Puppets 15 to 20 years ago. We’ve always been close… In a way, I feel like I’ve known them forever, like I’m on tour with my old friends.

Collegian: Does this tour feel different to how it felt before?

DP: Oh yeah, definitely, because Elmo is here. Elmo is the new guitar player in the Meat Puppets who is Curt Kirkwood’s son. I think it’s really cool that that’s what he decided to do, to be in the Meat Puppets. You never know whether you think your kid thinks you’re cool or not, but usually my guess is no.

Collegian: Does your kid think you’re cool?

DP: (Laughs) No. He thinks I’m a derelict.

Collegian: Do you want to try to bring him into Soul Asylum eventually?

DP: No, I don’t think I would recommend music to anybody. It’s good for the soul, but not good for somebody who likes nice things. He’s got expensive taste, and there’s not half as much money in music as there used to be–at least not in pop music.

Collegian: So do you consider yourself a pop musician more than a punk musician?


DP: I consider myself a punk musician. I didn’t really want to write songs and make a band until I discovered the Ramones, and discovered that there were indeed local punk bands in Minneapolis. That’s when I went, “Oh, s**t! I can do this!”

Collegian: Is creating music different for you now that Soul Asylum is a bigger name?

DP: I think that it’s more distinct. Maybe it all sounds the same to some people (laughs), but I think that you are always trying to carve out your individual method to the mayhem of folk-rock.

Collegian: Did your time in New Orleans have an effect on the music in “Change of Fortune”?

DP: Some of the guys would come down to New Orleans and check out what I was into and they didn’t get it. They’d ask, “Why are you listening to a band with a tuba and a washboard and a guitar?” Not only is it really, really cool, and you don’t need to plug it in, it’s almost more punk-rock than punk-rock in an evolutionary kind of way. I think that’s why I moved there 15 years ago. I wanted to absorb as much as I could without ripping it off.

Collegian: In 2014, you contributed to Within Temptation’s album “Hydra.” What was it like working with a Dutch metal band?

DP: It was really f**king fun! They cold-called me, I didn’t know who they were and I heard the song and I thought, “That’s alright.” That’s probably the best part of digital recording. You don’t have to send a giant reel of 2-inch tape on a plane and through the mail to get to somewhere, where it’ll go through a security device that’ll zap some of the music off of it. Nowadays, you can collaborate on people’s records so much easier.

Collegian Reporter Erik Petrovich can be reached at and on Twitter @EAPetrovich.