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Dave Pirner


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David Pirner is the lead vocalist for the band Soul Asylum.

He was born on April 16, 1964 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. By the time he was 17, he was living and working in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dave taught himself how to play the drums. By age 20, Dave started his career drumming with a punk band called Loud Fast Rules as part of the Minneapolis scene, together with Karl Mueller (bass) and Dan Murphy (guitar). When Pirner switched to singing and playing rhythm guitar, Pat Morley joined on drums. Pat was later replaced by Grant Young, and the band changed their name to Soul Asylum. At first, critics said the band was sloppy and erratic but at the same time captivating. The band achieved big-time success with the single “Runaway Train” off the 1992 album Grave Dancers Union. The video for the song featured stills of missing children against the backdrop of a baby being kidnapped from a young mother. Their other big hit from the album was “Black Gold”, and because of those two songs, the album went on to sell more than two million copies.

As Soul Asylum became more popular, Pirner decided to spread his talent around and started to do guest appearances on different albums of artists he greatly admired, such as Paul Westerberg, Mike Watt and The Autumn Defense.

By 1999, Soul Asylum went into hiatus, after making 1998’s Candy from a Stranger, which sold the least amount of copies of the big three (1992’s Grave Dancer’s Union, 1995’s Let Your Dim Light Shine, which yielded the big hits “Misery” and “Just Like Anyone”) But after four years, Soul Asylum got back together and started writing songs in the studio, dying bassist Karl Mueller’s idea.


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  • songfactslastfm

    "I don't think that anybody that really loves that song thinks about the video that much." - Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum explains to us how the iconic "missing children" video for the Grammy Award winning "Runaway Train" had very little to do with the song itself, but ended up defining it anyway:

    4 Jan 2014 Reply
  • Undead000

    haha! this picture is much better. he looks almost like Axl Rose ;) oh, you're welcome. only two clicks :D

    3 Jul 2011 Reply
  • Vadana

    Love him!

    20 Nov 2008 Reply
  • dvoodoo

    lotsa people been defined by that...

    18 Apr 2008 Reply
  • hk94

    I can't believe someone tagged him slept with winona ryder. I know it's true, but, being defined by that? Gross.

    1 Oct 2007 Reply

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