Thursday, June 23, 2005

Pirner and Murphy Euologize Mueller

Seems like the first one from 80's gen to die of so-called natural causes? I was never a huge fan of this band but they did have their moments.


Grieving friends of Soul Asylum's Karl Mueller remember how to smile

Chris Riemenschneider, Star Tribune
June 23, 2005 MUELLER0623

It was the kind of funeral where they quoted from the Bible and the Clash.

A who's who of the Twin Cities music scene and many other friends and fans gathered with family members Wednesday at Lakewood Cemetery Chapel in Minneapolis to honor Soul Asylum bassist Karl Mueller, who died Friday from complications related to cancer treatment.

A founder of one of Minnesota's most successful rock bands, Mueller, 41, battled throat cancer for a year.

His bandmates Dan Murphy and Dave Pirner each delivered eulogies at the noontime service.

"Karl made the cramped quarters and the hard times easier," Pirner said, recounting the band's early years driving Mueller's beat-up truck, nicknamed Clarence, to gigs. The group formed in 1981 as Loud Fast Rules.

When Soul Asylum made it big a decade later with the 1992 hit "Runaway Train," Pirner recalled, Mueller was likely to "grab a couple beers and head back to the hotel to call his wife Mary Beth" instead of enjoying the richer backstage scene.

Murphy did remember one night when the bassist hung out with rock legends Keith Richards and Tom Waits.

"Karl kept asking [Waits] what his name was," Murphy said to laughs from the crowd, which overflowed the chapel.

The guitarist ended his eulogy by tearfully quoting the Clash's "Stay Free," Mueller's favorite song: "I'll never forget the smile on my face 'cause I knew where you would be/ And if you're in the Crown tonight, have a drink on me/ But go easy, step lightly, stay free."

Pirner also fought back tears as he sang "Morning Has Broken," a song popularized by Cat Stevens also used at the funeral of Mueller's father, Gary.

Mueller's body was cremated before the service. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his mother, Mary.

Afterward, the crowd moved to Dixie's by Lake Calhoun, a restaurant that Mueller -- who worked in construction and cooked during the band's off time -- helped build.

Virtually every major Twin Cities rock band of the '80s and '90s was represented at the gathering, including members of the Jayhawks, Replacements, Hüsker Dü, Babes in Toyland, Suburbs, Gear Daddies, Honeydogs, Polara, Run Westy Run and Magnolias. Many local club and radio employees and former KARE-11 anchor Paul Magers, a friend of the family, were also on hand.

Former Soul Asylum drummer Sterling Campbell, now in David Bowie's band, said Mueller was a "prince" about teaching him the group's songs when he joined in 1992. "It didn't take long before we found the pocket," he said. "We had a lot of really amazing shows."

The stage is usually where Soul Asylum shined brightest. Fans were reminded of this in October, when the band performed at an all-star Rock for Karl benefit concert in Minneapolis.

Soul Asylum spent the past year finishing its first studio album since 1998's "Candy From a Stranger." The CD's producer, Steve Hodge, said Mueller played on each of the record's 12 tracks despite his chemotherapy treatment.

"At first, it was tough for him to even stay awake, but by the end we had to kick him out of the studio," Hodge said. "My impression was Karl always worked hard like that."

Pirner and Murphy have not yet publicly addressed the future of Soul Asylum, but everyone close to the band believes the group will carry on. Mueller even reportedly gave his bandmates a short list of replacements he thought would work.

Either way, Pirner made it clear that Mueller's passion was often the spark plug behind the band.

"Many times Karl would look me in the eye and say in all clarity: 'I love to rock.' "

Chris Riemenschneider is at


Post a Comment

<< Home