Meet the American rock band that helped rescue 21 missing children through music

It is not often that someone can say that music literally saved their life but this band helped 21 kids

Most artists never find out the impact they have on people’s lives but there is one band that can proudly say that they saved 21 lives.

It is not often that someone can say that music literally saved their life. But, there are 21 people whose lives became better because of an American rock band - Soul Asylum.

The 1980s Grammy-award winning band from Minnesota will be performing in Birmingham on November 16.

Most Popular

    Multi-Platinum Soul Asylum has been one of the most inspiring and hardworking bands in the rock scene, known for their raucous but emphatic combination of punk energy, guitar-fueled firepower, and songs that range from aggression to heartfelt.

    Their single Runaway Train’, released in June 1993 , became one of the biggest singles and became an unstoppable crossover hit band. The single topped the charts around the world; it peaked at number five on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number seven in the UK.

    The music video of this song featured the faces of missing children that were printed on milk cartons. The visuals showed photographs and names of missing children, and ended with a plea from frontman Dave Pirner: “If you’ve seen one of these kids, or you are one of them, please call this number.” Alternative versions were edited for other countries and other children. Of those advertised, 21 missing children were reunited with their families.

    Soul Asylum is performing in Birmingham on November 16 (Photo - Kartel Music Group)

    BirminghamWorld spoke to songwriter, singer, and producer Dave Pirner about his experience. He said his band collaborated with the The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to create the music video - which was directed by Tony Kaye. Dave described Tony as an “eccentric, creative person.”

    Together, they made a song that made it a chart-topper and helped more than twenty children.

    “This was before I had a kid, but the song had a purpose, an intent. It was a cool experience and that is not lost on me,” he said.

    He still has a strong reaction when he learns of a child gone missing. Dave was able to meet two of the children who returned, one of them was a girl who went backstage with her mother - who was very thankful.

    “The kid couldn’t believe what had happened to her,” he said. He added: “She was in a hotel with some dude when she saw the music video and her face on TV.”

    Even today, some of Dave’s songs have a sociopolitical side and then there are others that are just “poetry.” He added: “That sounds pretentious. Instead of think of them as a desire to put lyrics to a song.”

    He tries to stay as open-minded as possible and absord things like a sponge an then reflects on them.

    This will be Dave’s first show in Birmingham, and the UB40 fan is excited. He is also hopeful about the future of rock - which he describes as a “visceral thing”.

    “After a long, dry spell, when music was being created with computerised songs, there are young rock bands. That’s exciting,” he said.

    Soul Asylum is performing at The Mill in Digbeth on November 16 along with another rock bank - Everclear. You can get tickets here.

    Dave Pirner