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 Grave Dancers Union turns 20! 
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The Judge
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Location: NW Chicago Suburbs
20 years ago, an almost heard of band from Minneapolis, Soul Asylum, released their 7th studio album, Grave Dancers Union. It spawned 4 singles, became multi-platinum, making it their largest selling album thanks to the help of their 3rd single and most well known song, "Runaway Train". The album made Soul Asylum a household name and was in heavy rotation on the radio and MTV for well over a year.

What were you listening to when this album came out; have you even heard of Soul Asylum until then? Contribute your thoughts and other information about the album.

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Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:57 am
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the first song of SOUL ASYLUM i heard was SOMEBODY TO SHOVE and i knew this was something special then came RT BLACK GOLD AND WITHOUT A TRACE.i went back to buy anything SA had done before and has done since.i was 16 roofing houses with my dad this was just what i needed.


Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:05 am
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Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2012 9:51 pm
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I so want to read everyone's stories. this thread should be mandatory.

when i was...young-in 1993, my cousin made me a mix tape. very true to my cousin's form, it was an eclectic mix. i remember it had Cat Stevens and Salt n Pepa, so you see what I mean. it also had runaway train. and i never looked back. i was 100% taken. just for the ride.

my Dad took us (me, the cousin and my sister) to see Soul Asylum and Spin Doctors and Screaming Trees at the Greek theatre on August 28th 1993. my cousin's brother (who is also my cousin) was supposed to be the other attendee-he couldn't go so I got his ticket (i should thank him again) I used to be a lucky little girl....I still am, but I used to be too ;) i don't dislike those other bands, but I only had eyes for SA. i remember being so bummed when it was over. I wanted to DO IT AGAIN. and then again. my Dad turned on GDU and cranked it as we crawled out of the parking lot.

my Dad liked to mix up lyrics or phrases just to tease and amuse me. a good example is what he took from 'Clueless'...."what if" and "as ever". funny guy, like a clown ;) so...what he took from Runaway Train was: "five ways on a two way track..." and i have to throw in: "sometimes you wanna go where everybody knows your name...and they're all pissed off you came." good times.

time to ramble on elsewhere now. thanks for listening :)

to summarize: Soul Asylum is my silver lining. Good album, I bought it more than once (GDU, not SL-oh wait, ya that too).

and on a heavier note: if I have to be miserable, at least I'm in good company.


Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:18 am
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I.Feel.Old. i was .. 11 20 years ago. that doesn't sound right. guess i was almost 12 (that sounds so much older!)

anyways - i don't remember specific first moment but i probably saw runaway train video as my first exposure, and pretty sure i fell in star-struck-love with dave from then. not sure when i bought the tape, but the day after i brought it to my friends house after school and she wanted to copy the lyrics to runaway train (we'd earlier had a debate whether it was 'call you up' or 'are you up' -i won). that friend&i also used runaway song as the song we sang at top of our lungs outside her big sister's door purposely to annoy her (isn't that what little sisters are for!?)
that friend never really got into SA though beyond that song, but i listened to that tape over and over and eventually found out somehow they had other albums. i think i heard we3 on the radio possibly.
i remember standing in the store holding 3 tapes trying to decide which to get based on nothing but covers and song titles i didn't know. i ended up with Horse and While you were out. i listened to those but not as much as GDU.

GDU still sounds like 'home' to me. that comfort-food sound that grounds me.


Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:38 am
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You feel old? I was 21 and had already been a follower of the band for quite a few years. My boyfriend (haha husband now) and our best friend spent our time listening to them and going to any and all shows within a 3 state radius. This was the beginning of the boys getting their much-due recognition from the rest of the world. I remember being at work and having all my colleagues around help me call in to win tickets to one of their bigger shows...at this point you couldn't just get into a small venue like I was used to. Luckily enough I got through for the radio contest and won some awesome tickets to see them at a much bigger venue. Awesome record, but then again....aren't they all??

I was happy the band was getting recognized. That kind of integrity and talent deserves to be heard by all. The songwriting and lyrics still get me. They definately play a huge part in the soundtrack of people's lives on this board, I'm sure.

I have to admit...I'm having a hard time grasping the concept of this being a 20-year old record!! Time is just a flyin'......

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Last edited by CULater on Sun Oct 07, 2012 8:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:42 am
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I know I've told my "how I got into SA" story before, but since it was GDU that did it for me, I'll tell it again here. Besides, I hear it is mandatory to write in this thread. ;)

At this time in 1992, I was 14 and had no idea who SA was. I listened to the top 40 stations. My cassette collection consisted of Belinda Carlisle, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, Wilson Phillips, and Mariah Carey. I think the only non-girl pop tape I had was "The Simpsons Sing the Blues." I liked a handful of rock or alternative rock songs, but I was quite happy to sing along to my girl pop tapes.

Spring 1993 I was 15, and I am pretty sure I heard "Somebody to Shove" on the radio when I was flipping through stations. I still didn't know who SA was, and I thought "wow, shoving people is mean," and didn't give the song a second thought. June 1993 we were visiting my grandma in Pittsburgh. Monday night I had MTV on and videos started back up after a Beavis and Butthead episode. MTV tells me "There are over one million youths lost on the streets of America." Ok, thanks for the info. Oh wait, this is a video. This is a creepy video with kids in awful situations and there are missing kids' photos. These are some weird looking dudes singing this song too. When I got home at the end of the week, I told my friend Joanna about the creepy video with the weird looking band.

During the summer of 1993, as you guys all know, we couldn't escape this video on MTV or the song on radio. The song grew on me and I got de-sensitized to the video (though now, I don't like watching it late at night). I saw SA on the cover of Rolling Stone while I was in a airport layover and read about them. I learned that there were other, earlier albums and that this band that was new to me was not new overall. Of course, I reported all this information back to Joanna and little by little we found out more stuff about the band. We learned that Straw Hair, Lumberjack Bob, Mophead, and "Andrew Shue" were really Dave, Dan, Karl, and Grant. On August 14, 1993, we learned that SA would be on a Saturday Night Live rerun. We watched. This marked the onset of Joanna's big crush on Dave as well as us watching Saturday Night Live. Yes, I committed the date to memory.

August 24, 1993 (I had to look up this date with the help of an old calendar-I keep my Simpsons calendars) was the day before 10th grade. My grandma was in town and gave me $10. My mom and I went to WalMart that night. I wandered off, used my $10 to buy GDU, hid the tape in my purse so my mom wouldn't see, and listened to side 1 that night and side 2 the next night. I figured, if I didn't like the music, at least I'd have an address so Joanna could write to the band. Luckily, I did like the music, even though it was very different from all my girl-pop stuff and I admit it probably took a few listens to really really like it. By this time I was also watching 120 Minutes and Alternative Nation in the hopes of catching more SA videos and got introduced to alternative rock in general. It's probably due to "Runaway Train" that I got into Pearl Jam, REM, Gin Blossoms, Counting Crows, and the Jayhawks. Joanna and I kept trying to beat each other to getting the SA back catalog first; she won, but whatever I didn't have yet she would dub for me on a blank tape. My Christmas gift from her that year was a dub of "Hang Time." I think her mom was slightly more comfortable than my mom with the change to alternative rock, so she asked her mom to order the old tapes. I was still hiding my alternative rock tapes for about another year, and added to my SA collection when I could find a tape here and there in the store. Also, I no longer thought of them as "a weird looking band." Dan, with the pretty blue eyes, was my first rock star crush. Visual appreciation of Dave came a few years later when he tamed his hair a bit. Joanna delighted in this and played Elton John's "Daniel" on the jukebox at my 16th birthday party.

I mentioned the August 24 date because it's cool to me that I went to a show on the 19th anniversary of my GDU purchase. :)

I was a fan throughout high school and I tried to catch and tape their interviews on tv or performances on the late night shows. I know I talked about SA many times with my friends and shared their music with my friends (probably to the point of annoying them!), but I only got to my first SA show a few years later. Unfortunately, SA played near me in 1993 but I wasn't really a fan yet, so I missed them during that tour. :(

My fandom grew significantly after finding message boards, going to shows, and making friends on the message boards that I would see at the shows. So while I was a big fan in high school, I probably wasn't a superfan till college! I didn't think back in 1993 I would go to 39 shows and meet the band a few times, as well as make close friends from an internet message board...but I did!


Sun Oct 07, 2012 12:41 pm
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I was a year and a four months old. :P

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Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:15 pm
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AlyssaJones wrote:
I was a year and a four months old. :P
I feel pretty young until I see comments like that!

I was thirteen when the album came out - I'd never heard of them, but loved "Somebody to Shove"; I was just getting into metal and punk and it had the vibe I was digging. I also dug the other singles, but the ubiquity of "Runaway Train" started to wear after a while. Funny enough, for a boy-crazy 13 year old, I didn't pay particular attention to the appearance of the band. I think Jason Newsted had my hormones at that point....

Anyway. As I've said before, I didn't become a fan until my husband bought Delayed Reaction when it came out and asked if I wanted to attend a show this past July; he'd seen several, having been a longtime fan (he was 18 for the release of GDU, and a huge music fan, so he was familiar with their previous work). At that first show at the Bowery, I kinda groaned at the first strains of "Train", but my husband was right - it's different at a show. I've been immersed in the back catalogue ever since.


Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:35 pm
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I had just turned 18, confused with no direction. I was listeneing to a bunch of different music at that time, got hooked on Black Gold, bought the album and loved it, found the entire back catalog and was floored by the songwriting and admired their integrity. Their music helped me through a difficult period that followed and continues to help to this day in better times. I can't thank them enough for all the music they've made over the past 3 decades. They've inspired me musically and taught me to stay true to myself. Once again, thanks.
GDU still sounds as great today as it did then. Excellent songs do that. Sometimes overlooked songs like Homesick, Get on Out and New World are some favourites as well as the 4 singles, of course . So here's one more thank you for everything and I'm sure I'll thank them again.


Sun Oct 07, 2012 2:49 pm
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I know a few older fans resent GDU because it brought SA to the masses but who knows if the band would have stayed together so long if not for the success of that album.i love every song on GDU.


Sun Oct 07, 2012 6:33 pm
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