Say It's Your Birthday: Soul Asylum's Karl Mueller

Cover art from Soul Asylum's most recent album, Let Your Dim Light Shine.

Soul Asylum bassist Karl Mueller, one of the founding

members of the band, was born today in 1963 in Minneapolis, the town that

spawned mid-'80s punk legends Hüsker Dü and The Replacements (and let's not

forget the man once known as Prince). Mueller formed proto-thrash band Loud

Fast Rules in 1981 with guitarist Dan Murphy (the two were 19 and 18,

respectively). By 1984, lead singer Dave Pirner had joined the band, by then

re-christened as Soul Asylum. However, the acclaim that those other

Minneapolis-based artists achieved in the '80s proved elusive for Soul Asylum;

it was not until grunge hit mainstream that Soul Asylum hit it big. Loud Fast

Rules, with their relentless energy and peculiar blend of jazz and punk, were

infamous for their live shows, and as Soul Asylum, which including former

Hüsker Dü drummer Grant Hart, they got a deal with the indie label Twin/Tone.

In 1988, Soul Asylum was picked up by A&M records, and, despite a string a

critically acclaimed albums (1988's Hang Time, 1989's Clam Dip and

Other Delights - a Twin/Tone EP - and 1990's Soul Asylum and the Horse

They Rode In On), the band had marginal success. After their 1990 album,

the band was on the verge on packing it in; however, Columbia convinced A&M to

let them pick up SA's contract. Their next album, 1993's Grave Dancers

Union, was a huge success, yielding the #5 hit "Runaway Train." The next

year, Young left the band, breaking up the impeccable rhythm section that

Mueller and Young had crafted; he was replaced by Sterling Campbell the next

year. In 1995 the band built upon their success with Let Your Dim Light

Shine (which contained "Misery"). Soul Asylum is currently working on a new

album, and recently performed a batch of new songs under a different name.

Other birthdays country singer Bobby Gentry (1944), and Conway Savage of Nick

Cave & The Bad Seeds (1960). --Seth Mnookin