My first opportunity to get into Soul Asylum came sometime before the release of Hang Time when a friend who was attending U of M in Minneapolis borrowed me a cassette copy of Made To Be Broken and While You Were Out, suggesting I might like them. Unfortunately, this now reformed metalhead only gave the tape a cursory listen before return it saying it just wasn't my sort of thing. Or so I thought.
Skip ahead about one year.
Another friend, also a fan of metal music, had begun hosting a college radio show at the University of Green Bay that was increasingly leaning away from hard rock and metal and more toward indie rock and punk.
I very clearly remember the afternoon I tuned in to listen to his show, never suspecting my life was about to change forever.
A few selections into his three hour time slot, one particular song just knocked me for a loop. I couldn't get to the phone fast enough to call the studio and ask what I had just heard. I seem to remember my friend laughing at my lunatic ravings before informing me that the band I had just heard was Soul Asylum and the song was "Beggars and Choosers" from their new record. I owned it soon after.
Of course, I still listened to a lot of metal music following my unexpected college rock epiphany and that lone Soul Asylum record, despite my undeniable enjoyment of every song on it, remained a guilty pleasure in my collection, seeming almost treasonous to a music scene I had long supported. But, little by little, it managed to push and wiggle it's way into heavy rotation between my Celtic Frost and Voivod LPs.
As time went on, The radio show that first introduced me to Soul Asylum began to influence my musical tastes more and more. I was exposed to a whole new world of music and I began seeing punk rock shows in Green Bay which had a lively underground scene at the time. Finally, in January of 1990 I had my first chance to see Soul Asylum in all it's beautiful, ragged, punk rock glory...and the rest, as they say, is history.
With the possible exception of the first time I heard Nirvana's "Smells like Teen Spirit", (that being the moment when the metal monster was put to rest once and for all) there has been no other moment in my musical life that has been nearly as profoundly memorable or influential than my first introduction ( Ok, ok, technically it was the SECOND!) to Soul Asylum. When I consider my friends all over the world whom I would never have met, the concert road trips I never would have taken, and all the treasured memories of concert moments I never would have experienced had it not been for this band...well...I shudder to think what life might have been like had I not tuned into the radio that faithful day.
...One day dirt will bury you and you will understand, there is nothing much more than the ground on which you stand...