Dave Pirner is frustrated. He has very little time to prepare for Soul Asylum’s tour with Local H but he has much to do.
“It’s difficult to psyche myself up about it, I suppose,” Pirner says. “It’s a long tour and I have a lot of crap I’m trying to take care of like going to the dentist.”
Once that’s out of his system, he lightens up and becomes excited about the jaunt—even joking around about Soul Asylum’s set.
“It’s a 90-minute show and quality entertainment at least,” he says with a laugh. “We are playing some new stuff and some different old stuff. We’re going to come out guns a blazing.”
Soul Asylum, which comes to the Marquee Theater on Sunday, March 15, is touring in support of its new single, “Dead Letter” (Blue Elan Records). The single will appear on its forthcoming album “Hurry Up and Wait,” due out April 17.
“It’s a little on the acoustic side,” Pirner says about “Hurry Up and Wait.” “It’s very straightforward. It’s pretty raw. I didn’t really try to overthink it. It’s just very unguarded. It’s a little more emotional and less angry.”
“Dead Letter” marks the first new music from the Minneapolis-based act since the release of 2016’s “Change of Fortune.”
“Dead Letter is contemplative and certainly not a party anthem, but there are other sentiments in life that frequently go unspoken for,” he says. “It’s the message of the unheard people whose voices often fall on deaf ears.”
Spanning three decades, Soul Asylum’s indie success led to the band entering the major-label mainstream with 1988’s “Hang Time” and its 1990 follow-up “And the Horse They Rode In On,” before achieving a platinum-level commercial breakthrough with 1992’s “Grave Dancers Union” and 1995’s “Let Your Dim Light Shine.”
“Grave Dancers Union” featured Grammy-winning “Runaway Train” and “Black Gold.” “Let Your Dim Light Shine” spawned the hit “Misery.” After 1998’s “Candy from a Stranger,” Soul Asylum returned to action in 2006 with “The Silver Lining,” “Delayed Reaction” six years later and most recently with 2016’s “Change of Fortune.”
For “Hurry Up and Wait,” Pirner—who’s joined in the band by drummer Michael Bland, lead guitarist Ryan Smith and bassist Wynston Roye—says his musician friends helped him focus on the task at hand.
“That made it a pretty good experience,” he says. “It came together in a way that was effortless at this point in my life. I tried not to worry so much.”
Soul Asylum worked with producer John Fields, who has collaborated with the Jonas Brothers, Switchfoot, Pink, Har Mar Superstar, Miley Cyrus, Drake Bell, Andrew W.K., Busted and Demi Lovato.
“John Fields is very fluid,” he says. “There’s not a lot of dicking around. He likes to move fast and that helps with the flow and the spontaneity. We keep with each other pretty good.”
“Hurry Up and Wait” kicks off with the song “The Beginning,” which Pirner says is his favorite right now.
“We were going to put it at the end of the album because that’s how stupid our sense of humor is,” he adds. “It has a different vibe to it. It’s electric and up tempo. It doesn’t remind me of anything I’ve ever written.”
Pirner is also gearing up to unveil his new book entitled “Loud, Fast, Words,” an annotated collection of lyrics with an essay about each of his albums set to release in February 2020 via MNHS Publishing (Minnesota Historical Society).
Thinking about his lyrics and the stories they tell often gets Pirner choked up.
“I get into the head of a song so much that it starts to make me feel too much like I did when I wrote it,” he says. “I fall into some sort of weird time vortex.”
Soul Asylum w/Local H
Marquee Theater, 730 N. Mill Avenue, Tempe, 480.829.0607, luckymanonline.com, 7 p.m. 9 p.m. Friday, March 13, tickets start at $25.