‘Change of Fortune’: David Pirner Talks New Soul Asylum Album, Gear and Grave Dancers Union

SoulAsylumChange of Fortune, the new album by Soul Asylum, is a record that’s nearly four years in the making.

It was recorded at a time when the band had been touring non-stop—not to mention going through lineup changes that included the departure of founding member Dan Murphy.

But the wait was worth it. Soul Asylum loyalists will be happy to know the group’s sound—and Pirner’s knack for storytelling—are front and center on Change of Fortune. Pirner and company have delivered a refreshingly honest album that happens to be a (welcome) sonic punch in the nose.

Soul Asylum is David Pirner (guitar/vocals), Michael Bland (drums), Winston Roye (bass) and Justin Sharbono (guitar).

We recently spoke to Pirner about the new album, his gear and more.

How would you describe the sound of Change of Fortune and how it relates to some of Soul Asylum’s previous albums?

Over the years, you really start to understand how the sound spectrum spreads itself out between the high end and low. I specifically remember sitting in a restaurant in Germany in the mid-Eighties. They put on our record “While You Were Out” and we all just looked at each other and were like, “There’s no fucking bass drum on this record! What the fuck?” [laughs]. There’s more low-end on this record than any other Soul Asylum record. I can really feel the power of Michael Bland and Winston Roye. I’m a low-end junkie and that was a goal worth achieving.

You’ve mentioned that this record is also one of your most honest. How so?

I’ve always liked the idea of having fewer people looking over my shoulder and being left to my own devices. It’s something I’ve always been chasing down. To that effect, the players in this band can play anything and are so open-minded and up for a challenge. I think that was a big part of it. To push the envelope about what the band can do.

How did you approach songwriting for Change of Fortune?

It was pretty much the same way I always do it. A seed usually happens: either a phrase or a melody or a chord progression. I’m looking at a piano and acoustic guitar right now and I also have a Pro Tools studio in the basement. Between those three things is where the seed comes from, and I’ll start recording and see where it goes. But it’s still fun sometimes to just walk into a practice space with an acoustic guitar, start playing something and having everyone else join in.

Read the rest of my
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