SOUL ASYLUM – even back when they were called Loud Fast Rules – used to be kinda awesome. Here’s something from they were a near-hardcore punk band, circa 1983 or so, taken directly from their “Time’s Incinerator” cassette.
Just received one of those newfangled cassette-transfer contraptions in the mail recently, one of those things that lets you take ancient cassette tape recordings and transfer them into new, improved digital versions. Even figured out how to use it. Just in the nick of time, too – I mean, I have a garage full of 1980s mix tapes, live show recordings, and radio shows I once did in college moldering and decaying. Another year or two and they’d be sawdust. This post is the first of several rescue/reclamation projects.
On June 14th, 1989, a 21-year-old version of me did his final “White Trash” radio show on KCSB-FM in Santa Barbara, CA, as he graduated from college that very week. It was taped, and after festering in aforementioned garage for 24 years, was transferred this evening and uploaded for what interested parties there might be to then download and listen to. Having listened to the tape for the first time in at least 20 years before digitizing it tonight, it naturally brings forth much embarrassment – so please humor me and let me add a few careful disclaimers in case you wanna listen to it (and you should – the music is smokin’).
After doing a radio show at KCSB for four years, and having had access to all the records in their library (and being a rabid music hound/record collector of the most obsessive order), I got to be fairly knowledgeable in the limited punk rock/heavy underground rock genres I’d permitted myself to like. My dismissive, albeit very studied, insecure cockiness is on display in this show. I’m not sure I’d actually like this DJ right now as a human being if I was hearing him on the radio for the first time. Though I love every song I played in this, “My Top 40 favorite songs of all time” show, I can’t believe how dudely it all is. For the 1989 version of me, it was all dudes, all punk, all raw and all aggressive. The only chicks allowed were those rare cool ones from The Bags, The Avengers and Sonic Youth. That’s it. The Fall sucked already, and The Lazy Cowgirls were the best live band in the world.
It’s also preposterous that someone with such a limited musical life experience and frame of reference could even deign to determine a 40-greatest-songs-of-all-time list. As you might expect, approximately 37 of mine came from the 1980s. One of the highlights/lowlights of this show is the recording that starts the show, a nervous, mealy-mouthed 16-year-old me doing a “guest DJ” slot on KFJC (on the “Ransome Youth Show”) in 1983. Then the 21-year-old me mocks him mercilessly, with all the wisdom and experience that 5 years of perspective and deep life experience brings.
Now that I’m doing a fake radio show podcast here in 2012/2013 – Dynamite Hemorrhage Radio – I was startled to see some identical on-air back-announce mannerisms crop up from ‘89 that mirror the blather I’m doing today. Hopefully you’ll enjoy forty dudely 70s/80s songs from the likes of The Pagans, Mudhoney, Black Flag, Scratch Acid, Die Kruezen, Electric Eels and more. I have even worse shows sitting in the garage ready to be rescued and maybe even posted at a later date.
Download “WHITE TRASH” Radio, June 14th 1989, KCSB-FM
SOUL ASYLUM, taken from 1987 Away From The Pulsebeat fanzine. Believe me folks, this was once a ripsnorter of a live band.
Anyone remember Soul Asylum? No one? Well, they were actually a pretty smokin’ band at one point in their career, and from 1986-88 or so, I saw them live nearly a dozen times. They had a second life in the 1990s as a sell-out MOR/Americana band and are primarily remembered as such, when they are remembered at all. They were an absolute powerhouse live during the time of their albums “Made To Be Broken” and “While You Were Out” – raw, loud, melodic but meaty Midwestern hair-flying indie rock. I can see Dave Pirner’s greasy hair in my face right now. Brrr.
It’s probably a stretch to call New York’s SWEARIN’ an “heir” to Soul Asylum’s big-guitar 80s sound, but that’s what I’m hearing when I listen to their very solid album conveniently called “Swearin’”. Just swap out Pirner and put in a brash, confident female voice on most songs; then update the music with 25 years of “learning”, but still keep it in the Midwestern tradition of simple, hook-driven big guitar rock and roll. Usually a recipe for mediocrity, but definitely not here. Hell, the singer got herself into the New York Times a couple Sundays ago, along with her twin sister. They might be opening a Keith Richards tour, a la Soul Asylum, any day now. Listen to this song from this year’s record and let us know what you think.