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‘Dead Letter Tour’: Soul Asylum hits the road, gets ready to release 12th album

Dave Pirner brings Soul Asylum’s “Dead Letter Tour” to Albuquerque on Monday, March 16. (Courtesy of Tony Nelson)

Dave Pirner’s life is a little hectic.

As the singer for Soul Asylum, Pirner has spent his career carefully crafting music.

The band’s 12th full-length album, “Hurry Up and Wait,” is scheduled for released on April 17, and Pirner is getting everything ready for the album and for tour.

“It all feels like where I don’t clean the house unless someone is coming over,” he says. “I’m trying to take care of dental appointments that I’ve been putting off. Sometimes I think, ‘Why are we going on tour when the album’s not out yet?’ I’ve kind of grown out of expecting anything to change when I put out a record.”

Soul Asylum will make a stop in Albuquerque on Monday, March 13, at Sunshine Theater.

Pirner’s been at the helm of Soul Asylum since 1981. The band found mainstream success with its 1993 hit “Runaway Train,” which also picked up a Grammy Award.

Pirner and crew – drummer Michael Bland, lead guitarist Ryan Smith and bassist Winston Roye – wanted to return to someplace familiar while working on the new album.

This meant collaborating with producer John Fields and setting in at Nicollet Studios in Minneapolis. This is the same studio where the band recorded its 1986 album, “While You Were Out.”

Not to mention that Pirner was completely comfortable there.

“I don’t think I could be more comfortable in a studio than at that place, except for my house,” he says. “There’s an amazing sense of familiarity. Every store in the neighborhood has changed, just about, but it’s still the same place – it’s a very familiar place. It definitely evokes [a feeling of], ‘Sh*t, I’m back at my old place of work. Oh, my God – how much time passed again?’ ”

Over the course of his career, Pirner’s process for making music hasn’t changed much, other than becoming more fluid.

He’s also been able to discover new things about himself during the passing time.

“This is all because I know what I’m doing a little bit more,” he says. “I’ve also become aware of catching ideas while they are fresh. I also have become better at knowing when something is extraneous and how I’m going to compress it. I don’t have to play a song 100 times before I know what to do with it. It’s a simpler process.”


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