Sunday, August 15, 2010

Soul Asylum on Letterman

Back in the Early 90's Soul Asylum was huge. You couldn’t turn on MTV without seeing the "Run Away Train" video. They were an act that criss-crossed the radio airwaves... Alternative, Adult Alternative, and even [Shutters] Top-20. Hec, they even performed for Bill Clinton during his first Presidential Inauguration.

You know a band is big when your mom has heard of them, AND calls them by their real name... not ‘The Smashing Pumpkin-heads’ or ‘7-11’ [3-11] OR Gwen Stephanie [Stefani]… this is probably why I still remember these guys, not so much for their musical talent, but because my mom got their name right.

I could do an entire post just on "Runaway Train"... which actually doesn’t sound like a bad idea for the future. But, for now, I am going to focus on this… Soul Asylum on Letterman.

In 1995 Soul Asylum came out with their much-anticipated follow up album “Let your Dim Light Shine” to their single producing gem “Grave Dancers Union”. While I thought this was a good album, the critics ripped it apart… just like the fate many a band suffers. To promote the album they appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, performing their single off the Album, “Misery”, which notably was a featured song over 10 years later in the movie Clerks II. While this song is probably one of their most memorable, still getting used in media and the occasional radio spin, there was something forgotten…

While performing during the show the lead singer, Dave Pirner surprised the audience with a trumpet solo toward the end of the song. Until, in a dick move, Paul Shaffer took his trumpet away and what looked like, scalded him. I watched this live in my Burbank, California suburb with my dad and couldn’t believe it. We thought he stole the trumpet from the band or something. Pirner stormed off the set and Dave Letterman didn’t shake hands with the band like he normally does. At the end Dave Letterman and Paul Shafer talked about what happened, but for some reason they censored the Conversation on the west coast delay. For years, I thought Paul was an egotistical prick for doing this. I would hold resentment to Paul Shafer to this day, had I not came across why he did this in my research.

Apparently, the little lick Dave Priner played on the trumpet is from “Silly Little Love Songs”, by Wings (Paul McCarthy). One of the rumors is that Paul stopped him in fear of Copyright suing. Another reason for this, according to the poster of this video on Youtube, “It was done in jest; Dave was playing the part from Paul_ McCartney's Silly Little Love Songs. Paul Shaffer [came] over shaking his head as to say wrong song Dave.”

At any rate… Judge for yourself, here is “Misery” by Soul Asylum, Live on David Letterman.

Youtube link:

Soul Asylum Official Site:

1 comment:

  1. I figured it was either copyright infringement of McCartneys song or some obscure musicians union thing. I don't think nonunion are allowed to play on Letterman.