The Bowery Ballroom
Soul Asylum

Soul Asylum

Joseph Arthur

Thu, July 26, 2012

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

The Bowery Ballroom

New York, NY

$20

Sold Out

This event is 16 and over

Soul Asylum
Soul Asylum
Formed in the summer of 1981 by high school friends Dan Murphy, Karl Mueller, and Dave Pirner, Soul Asylum (named Loud Fast Rules up until 1983) quickly became frontrunners of American college rock, following in the tradition of fellow Minnesota bands Hüsker Dü and The Replacements.

Landing their first record deal with Twin/Tone in 1984, Soul Asylum recorded a total of four albums for the local label: Say What You Will… Everything Can Happen in 1984 (later re-released as Say What You Will, Clarence… Karl Sold the Truck), Made To Be Broken, and While You Were Out in 1986, and the EP Clam Dip & Other Delights in 1988. The band then switched to A&M, releasing Hang Time in 1988 and And the Horse They Rode In On in 1990 under that label. Although they enjoyed some success as a live band, Soul Asylum suffered from low album sales and considered disbanding.

In 1992, they signed with Columbia Records to produce Grave Dancers Union, a record that would come to transform them from underground college rockers to international superstars. The first two singles off the album, Somebody To Shove and Black Gold, both came in at high positions at the Modern Rock and Album Rock charts, but it was the album's third track that led them to their major breakthrough. Runaway Train peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100, raised album sales to double-platinum level, and won Soul Asylum the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song in 1994.

In 1995, Soul Asylum followed up the success of Grave Dancers Union with Let Your Dim Light Shine, which climbed to #6 on the Billboard 200 and featured the #1 Modern Rock track Misery. After releasing Candy From a Stranger in 1998, the band members took a break from recording and didn't release a new studio album for the better part of seven years.

They reunited in 2004 to record their ninth full-length album. Shortly thereafter, Karl was diagnosed with throat cancer. Up until this point, Soul Asylum had always included Dan, Karl, and Dave, despite several line-up changes. This changed on June 17th, 2005, when Karl passed away after finishing his work on the new album. The Silver Lining was released in 2006 and dedicated to Karl Mueller's life and memory, with Dan expressing that, "For me, this record is Karl."

In 2009, after many rumors, it was confirmed that the band are working on a new album set to be released in 2012: Delayed Reaction.
Joseph Arthur
Joseph Arthur
Joseph Arthur ‘The Ballad of Boogie Christ - Act 1’

For every song Joseph Arthur has released in a critically acclaimed, Grammy-nominated career that has spanned nine full-length albums and 11 EPs, he's probably kept three others in the vault for safekeeping. Indeed, Arthur has been known to start working on a new album -- or two -- while simultaneously trying to finish another.

It was amid this abundance of riches that the Brooklyn-by way of Ohio-native began molding a collection of music under a single narrative thread: The Ballad of Boogie Christ, described by Arthur as "a fictionalized character loosely based on my own journey."

At first, it was a song here or there, or a set of lyrics with no accompanying music. Then, those songs would get recorded and set aside. They'd get re-recorded and revised. They'd start to make sense in relation to their brothers and sisters, and then they wouldn't. And pretty soon, more than half-a-decade had flown by and Boogie Christ was no closer to coherency.

"For some reason, I've been avoiding finishing this record for a long time," Arthur says with a laugh. "It's been an albatross around my neck. I don't know why, but it has."

Yet despite its labored birth, The Ballad of Boogie Christ -- Act 1 has defied the odds to become another essential cornerstone of Arthur's robust discography. Encompassing sessions put to tape in upstate New York, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Arthur's own Brooklyn studio, the 11-song album showcases the artist's signature rich storytelling set to a diverse range of rock'n'roll.

"I don't know that there's a beginning, middle and end to the story, but there are definitely experiences, situations and perspectives that point in those directions," says Arthur. "I wanted to let the listener fill in some of the blanks without telling the whole story in a straight-ahead way."

The album begins with the surprising orchestral pop of "Currency of Love," on which Arthur unveils a passionate croon unlike any vocal performance he's ever given. From there, Boogie Christ offers epic affirmations on overcoming addiction (the seven-minute closer "All the Old Heroes"), anthems of open-hearted solidarity ("Wait for Your Lights," "It's OK To Be Young/Gone") and the kinds of slow-burning narratives ("Famous Friends Along the Coast," "I Used To Know How to Walk on Water") that have won Arthur a legion of fans around the globe.

Songs like "Black Flowers," "I Used To Know How to Walk on Water" and the title cut were recorded several years ago with help from the Band's legendary keyboardist Garth Hudson and bassist Catherine Popper (Ryan Adams, Jack White), while newer additions to the track list such as "Currency of Love" and "Saint of Impossible Causes" were crafted in Los Angeles with assistance from Chris Seefried (Fitz & the Tantrums, Lana Del Rey). Among the other guests on ?Boogie Christ? are Ben Harper (Arthur’s bandmate in Fistful of Mercy), session drummer extraordinaire Jim Keltner, Joan As Policewoman leader Joan Wasser and composer Paul Cantelon (Oliver Stone’s W., Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell & the Butterfly).

"There are certain moments on the album that are just pop music and sugary," Arthur says. "I didn't want it to be this diatribe of heaviness, and it had been like that sometimes. I definitely wanted moments of relief within it, where you just get a good jam."

At the center of the project is the autobiographical "King of Cleveland," a classic story song that connects Boogie Christ the character with Arthur the flesh-and-blood artist. On it, the narrator apprentices alongside a big fish in a small pond, "playing blues in the back seats, from biker bars to limousines" -- much like Arthur did in his early professional career in Northeast Ohio. Says Arthur, "He's just starting to live the life he's imagined, playing roots boogie in the real America -- Ohio."

With plans still taking shape for future installments of Boogie Christ material, perhaps as earlier as the fall, Arthur is hoping the project will eventually take on a life of its own outside of the album context.

"I've heard David Bowie talk about how Ziggy Stardust and some other records were the beginnings of screenplays that he just never finished," he says. "I could really see this becoming something deeper and bigger than just an album.

"Chuck Prophet reminded me that there's always the Great American Novel," he continues. "And that really stuck in my head about Boogie Christ. That's what I've been wanting to achieve with this album. He encouraged me that it was okay to dream big."
Venue Information:
The Bowery Ballroom
6 Delancey St
New York, NY, 10002
http://www.boweryballroom.com/