The Return of the Replacements

The Replacements

Word from somewhere outta the Midwest is that the Replacements--in many ways the quintessential American indie band--are reuniting for a trio of festival shows. In Denver, Chicago and Toronto. Whether or not the band will add more dates is uncertain, as is the band's lineup. The band's best known living principals, Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson are on board. Their last lead guitar player, Slim Dunlap suffered a stroke and is unable to play, drummer Chris Mars is now a fine artist and may be unwilling to play (their notorious feuds ended when they recorded tracks to raise cash for Dunlap). 

Their evolution as a band, detailed in Michael Azzerad's wonderful tome Our Band Could be Your Life is almost the story of Amerindie itself. Beginning on a tiny Minneapolis independant label Twin Tone as a not really hardcore at all band that played the same circuit as their city mates Husker Du, the Replacements 1984 album Let It Be ranks with any of the great classic blues based rock discs ever made--without any hint of the blues. Signing with Warner Brothers in the wake of the masterpiece, they continued to their evolution into more cerebral roots music. Perched between the underground that birthed them and the commercial success that eluded them, they called it a day 22 years ago.

Whether or not their motives for returning are financial (bassist Stinson has made a good living as Duff McKagan's "replacement" in Guns N Roses) or artistic (they ain't sayin'), it is unlikely that they will play enormous festivals with the same shambling, shit-faced style that they were notorious for in the 80's. Prone to being barely vertical, playing whatever songs came to Westerberg's pickled cerebellum, from bubblegum oldies to metal, their gigs weren't even uneven, they were almost upside down--unlike most of their fans from that era, I didn't really dig the drunken stumble-bunny schtick because I loved their songs. 

I hope they'll stick to them, from all of their discs and I guess I hope they come to California as well (by way of semi-disclaimer, Stinson and I are former bandmates in a short-lived "punk cover band" called Strap On Baster). At their peak, they were the open and honest bards of the dark ages known as the middle 80's, at their nadir, comatose. Let's hope for the former and not the latter from these truly American originals.   


So vots vit these Replacements, they don't know from real music. Ven I come here from the old country after escaping death it vas music to mein ears to hear zee king of shveeng, Benny Goodman. Von of mein landsman. An eleven year old prodigy who woiked his vay to zee top. Vee celebrate his birth today! zere vill never be a Replacement for him.

Posted by Chaim Horowitz on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 4:13 pm

No interest. None. There was a time and place for the Replacements and it isn't 2013. Nostalgia is a bitch.

Posted by CitizenCharlesFosterKane on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 4:15 pm

They were quintessentially boring in their heyday. I can't imagine they'll be any better now.

Posted by Machado on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

Were OK, mostly for people who said they liked punk but couldn't sit through Damaged or Never Again.

Posted by matlock on Jun. 15, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

Loved Tommy's solo work.

Posted by Marcus Parrish on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 4:35 pm

Disagree with the comments above. The Replacements were fantastic. My favorite band for a long time. I'm not sure if these reunion shows really reflect the Replacements, though, with 2 members missing. The solo Westerberg stuff never really matched up (at least to me) and I'm not sure if this will be much different.

Posted by The Commish on Jun. 13, 2013 @ 8:43 pm

I'm with the Commish, and I have no problem with P.W. cashing in. Like Joy Division, their influence on other bands was vast, and deserves a little sugar.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 7:29 am

if the three of us agree, then there's something either very right or very wrong.

Tim and Let it Be were two of the most significant albums of the 1980s.

Posted by marcos on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 8:26 am

Welcome back! Let It Be is right up there with London Calling, Marquee Moon, and Unknown Pleasures for me.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 8:43 am

Come back for more punishment?

Posted by Guest on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 8:49 am

Red light? Run it.

Posted by lillipublicans on Jun. 14, 2013 @ 10:58 am