Sunday, June 19, 2005

R.I.P. Karl Mueller (1964-2005)

I'm very sad to report that Soul Asylum bassist, Karl Mueller, died last Friday at the age of 41. Mueller died from throat cancer which had been diagnosed in May 2004. He had been in and out of the hospital for most of the last year. To many people, Soul Asylum was just another band. Yeah, they had that one "hit" with "Runaway Train." To me, Soul Asylum was not just another band. Though I lost interest in the band's musical direction after its 1992 breakthrough album, Grave Dancer's Union, I never lost my love for the band's early albums. They still stand among the best rock albums (Made to be Broken, Hang Time, And the Horse They Rode In On) of the 1980s, and should be acknowledged as the inspiration for much of the best late 80s/early 90s alternative rock like Pixies, Nirvana, Goo Goo Dolls, etc.

Karl Mueller (left) and the rest of Soul Asylum in the 1980s.
Karl was an original member of Soul Asylum. He helped form the band in 1981, when they called themselves Loud Fast Rules. His stylish bass playing and stage presence made him a favorite amongst the Minneapolis musicians, and endeared him to the many Soul Asylum fans across the country. Late last fall a benefit was put on in Minneapolis to raise money for Mueller's medical bills. Paul Westerberg (Replacements) played as did Bob Mould and Grant Hart (Husker Du) who had not performed together since 1987. Soul Asylum performed what we know now to be its last ever show with Karl -- and most likely its last show ever -- that night.

I saw Soul Asylum seventeen times between 1988 and 1993, and was lucky enough to have met Mr. Mueller on a few of those occasions. He was always a very nice and gracious guy, who enjoyed meeting with fans. If you think you know Soul Asylum and you don't own Hang Time, for example, try to get yourself re-aquainted with the band's old material. You will not be disappointed. Here is an mp3 from that album, "Sometime To Return."

Karl was the "cover model" on the band's 1988 EP, Clam Dip & Other Delights.

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