Search This Blog

Friday, 23 April 2010

Get on the Runaway Train

Fame is the kiss of death for certain bands isn‘t it?
They struggle away looking to get their music out to as wide an audience as possible, and yet when they do manage to do this their so called loyal fan base abandon them in droves.
Initially this exodus isn’t that obvious as the newly found fans mask the departure of the people who were originally raving about them.
It‘s only when they move on to pastures new to worship at the feet of the next big thing that the abandonment by the original fans becomes obvious, and then this leaves the band in the unenviable position of thinking “what the fuck just happened there“.
I don’t really understand this attitude from the so called fans though.
A good band is a good band regardless of the level of fame. A band in point is Soul Asylum.
Where they any different when they were playing club sized venues to the band that played the stadiums and had top ten hits?
The answer is no, of course they weren’t.
They were just doing what they did best, and when six albums in they hit on Grave Dancers Union they were in the right place at the right time to maximise on it. What’s wrong with that?
So I’m at a bit of a loss as to why the success was begrudged. Was there a bit of jealousy and a reluctance to share a favourite underground band with the nation? Maybe a bit of snobbery?
In their case wasn’t it just a case of more people actually coming around to the hardcore fans way of thinking? Isn’t that something to be celebrated rather than used as a reason to drop the band like the proverbial hot potato.
Stupid is as stupid does I guess.
So what brought this on?
Well I popped over to always excellent “Music Ruined My Life” blog this afternoon and there was a feature on Soul Asylum that struck a chord and got me thinking.
So the result was that I got off my high horse and upped this rather splendid bootleg of the band, and I challenge anyone based on this to say that the bands success had a detrimental affect on their talent. This is Pirner and co at the height if their fleeting brush with fame in venues across the US in 1982 and there’s not a duff track on it. Highlights for me are the two covers. One of Sexual Healing and the other a duet with Lulu, yes I said Lulu, on To Sir With Love.
Link in comments



  2. They area fantastic band and unfortunately suffered from moving on syndrome. That has happened to many bands over time. Alot of the times the bands do not change but their audience. Same could be said about The Replacements or Husker Du.....they suffered the backlash in the late 80' forward 10 years and it is Green Day....A good band, is a good band.

  3. Cheers for this I always liked 'em and always will thanks mate.

  4. Whoa..gotta thank you for this one. Any honest injun' Soul Asylum fan would. Check my youtube for them with Tommy playin' or to download their outtakes tape with a cover of the only Monkey's tune they ever wrote...I'm Goin' Down. Karl was the punk heart of Loud Fast Rules and he will be missed.

  5. There's some SA stuff over on Music ruined my life. Check that out to.

  6. I would agree, but disagree at the same time. The Columbia stuff isn't dramatically different than Hang Time....but for those that saw/heard them in the Loud Fast Rules early days, it is pretty different. You have to admit, the last couple of records had a lot of acoustic guitar on it, and a lot less attitude than the Twin Tone albums. So you can certainly understand how the 16 year old Mohawk crowd would abandon them.

    Like any good band, they grew over time. Matured. Not everyone is going to like the direction they took though. You can't fault the early fans for not growing in the same direction as the band. Personally, I don't think there are many of the early fans that grew into the adult contemporary style that they went. One might say the same about the Goo Goo Dolls. Personally, I love the early stuff.....I tried the latest album and the Rough Boys cover was the only song I could stand to listen too....even Then, Pete's version was a ton more ballsy then Dolls.

  7. Yeah, similar to your comment I to can agree and disagree.
    There is no doubt that as a band they matured, grew and moved forward.
    With that comes the risk of losing people who admired the earlier and different sounding material.
    There will always be people who prefer different eras of a band, even to the stage of maybe likeing two, but actively a third.
    I'm personally thinking of Paul Weller here.
    I love the Jam, love the new album, can take or leave much of his solo career, but with a couple of exceptions can't abide The Style Council.
    That sort of thing is a natural progression and to be expected.
    In Soul Asylums case they would have seen this just like any other band, but way back when I wrote this I had an issue, and still do, with those who latch onto a band and then drop them when success comes a knockin'. I also have an issue with those who jump on the bandwagon that claim they have loved a band for years, but think their third album is their first, and then a year later have moved onto the next great white hope.
    When I say an issue I don't mean I lie awake at night staring at the ceiling, grinding my teeth and plotting death scenarios.
    Itr just that it rankles when a band appear to be at the whims of these types and that's who the criticism was aimed at.
    Regarding Soul Asylum I still think that in hindsight it wasn't just the change in musical direction that ushered in a sort of downward slide in popularity, but that the najor deal and success acted as a catalyst to break one set of fans away and replace them with another that didn't have the same affinity for the band.