Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner doesn’t know how he wound up fronting a rock band for four decades.
Pirner, who performs with Soul Asylum Thursday evening at The Red Carpet Lounge in Charleston, said being in a rock band for 40 years never crossed his mind.
“It never crossed my mind that I would or could or should be doing this as long as I have,” he said. “I certainly didn’t expect to be making a living playing music. I didn’t expect to be living this long at some point along the way.”
Soul Asylum was formed in 1981 while Pirner was a teenager in Minneapolis, but it was over a decade before the band found mainstream success with hits like “Runaway Train,” “Somebody to Shove” and “Misery.”
Pirner has remained the one constant in the band. Original bassist Karl Mueller died in 2005. Founding lead guitarist Dan Murphy left the band in 2012 to spend more time with his family and run his art gallery. Meanwhile, Pirner has continued performing with Soul Asylum and occasionally releasing new material.
Soul Asylum’s latest release, “Stand Up and Be Strong,” is an EP that dropped in July. The band also released a full-length album, “Hurry Up and Wait,” last year.
The band had just started to tour in support of “Hurry Up and Wait” when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“It felt like the rug got pulled out from under us,” Pirner said. “Tourus Interruptus. We didn’t get to finish the job somehow and so, now we’re trying to make up those shows.”
In getting back out on the road, the singer said he wasn’t especially aware of all the places he was playing.
“We’ll play anywhere,” he said.
Unable to perform in public, Pirner spent his time doing a few virtual shows and working in his studio.
“I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to be a domesticated human,” he said.
Admittedly, he wasn’t very good at it, but Pirner said the experience could form the outline for a future record. The band is still working out the details for what those songs will eventually become, but Pirner said he was impressed with what they’d come up with so far.
The material, he said, would be within what Soul Asylum fans would expect. Pirner’s lyrics often touch on darker emotions, like anxiety, depression and grief.
The singer laughed and said, “So, the same types of things, just, you know, older.”
Despite the moody songwriting, Pirner doesn’t see himself as being tortured. Quite the opposite, he considers himself lucky. He’s done a lot of the things he dreamed about doing when he was just starting out.
“I put out a book. I met or played with almost all the people I felt influenced by,” he said. “I’m happy with where I am now.”