Dave Pirner

Best known as the singer and frontman for top-selling alternative rockers Soul Asylum, Dave Pirner has also displayed a more soulful and contemplative side in his burgeoning solo career. Pirner was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin on April 16, 1964. In 1981, Pirner was living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and had been bitten by the punk rock bug; he'd learned to play the drums, and started a band with friends Dan Murphy (on guitar) and Karl Mueller (on drums) called Loud Fast Rules. By 1984, Pirner had moved from drums to rhythm guitar and lead vocals (Grant Young took over behind the traps), and the band had moved far enough away from their strict hardcore aesthetic to prompt a name change to Soul Asylum. Noted for their sloppy but powerful sound and upfront sense of humor (including "punishing" unresponsive audiences with sets of oddball covers), Soul Asylum were regarded as second-stringers on the Minneapolis rock scene in their early years, but in time they got a bit more serious and won greater acclaim, and after releasing three albums, an EP, and a odds-and-ends cassette compilation on the independent Twin/Tone label, they were signed by A&M Records in 1988. Soul Asylum opted out of their deal with A&M after two acclaimed but poor-selling albums, but they hit pay dirt with their second major-label deal -- 1992's Grave Dancer's Union, released by Columbia, spawned a pair of hit singles, "Runaway Train" and "Black Gold," and the album went on to sell two million copies.

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