The offspring of the Minneapolis band Loud Fast Rules, Soul Asylum was formed in 1983 by lead singer and guitarist Dave Pirner, guitarist Dan Murphy, bassist Karl Mueller, and drummer Pat Morley. In 1984, as other Minneapolis bands The Replacements and Husker Du began gaining national attention, the band released their first album, Say What You Will, Clarence... Karl Sold the Truck, but it was overshadowed by the other two hometown bands. Persevering, the band released two more critically acclaimed albums in the 80s, 1986's Made to Be Broken and While You Were Out, before being signed to A&M records. The same year they debuted their first major label release, Hang Time, they also released a parody of A&M co-founder Herb Albert's album Whipped Cream & Other Delights entitled Clam Dip & Other Delights. Hang Time and its follow-up, 1990's And the Horse They Rode In On did not sell well and the band left A&M and mainstream anonymity for good. In 1992, after touring the country playing acoustic shows, they released Grave Dancer's Union on Columbia Records and, with their hit "Runaway Train," they found themselves winning a Grammy and playing at President Bill Clinton's first inauguration. The band continued to release albums with lesser success throughout the '90s. In 2004, bassist Mueller died from throat cancer. The band reunited, adding Guns N' Roses bassist Tommy Stinson and Michael Bland to the line-up, and in 2006 released The Silver Lining, its first album of new material in eight years.
With their hook-driven pop sensibility and classic rock and roll style, Soul Asylum worked the music scene for ten years before scoring a major hit. Seeing their peers from Minnesota bust into mainstream success could have pushed any band to give up in frustration, but this band forged through, maturing their gritty, pre-grunge style and slowly growing their fan base from club to club across the country. With the loss of Mueller in 2004, it was uncertain whether the band would continue recording, but perhaps, with tragedy, comes inspiration and the band's latest album, The Silver Lining, finds the band still waxing poetic about politics and the world around them, only this time out, instead of working towards finding missing children as they did with "Runaway Train," they rely on more recent issues like the hidden track "Fearless Leader" and the Katrina reminiscent "Standing Water."