1. Let It Be (1984)
It’s all here: stirring romance (“Androgynous,” “Answering Machine”), exhilarating throttle (“We’re Coming Out,” “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out”), utter tomfoolery (“Gary’s Got A Boner”), tremendous production. And that Kiss cover? How dare they move us via the songwriting of Paul Stanley?
2. Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash (1981)
You can feel the wood splintering as this album busts through. A triumph of zip gun punk melting into rock n’ roll branded by the nascent Westerberg’s candor and wit. It’ll make you believe again and again and again.
3. Hootenanny (1983)
Chaotic and chicken fried the same way their live act could be (“Lovelines” is just Paul reading the newspaper over the band’s noodling), is this the truest representation of the ‘Mats? A rambling rush glued together by smudges of incredible melody that club soda sure as hell ain’t gonna get out.
4. Pleased To Meet Me (1987)
Stripped to a three piece with mounting pressure to quote-unquote make it and these dude still deliver massive kick. Every song’s a potential FM hit. We can recognize why this didn’t happen. Society at large basically doesn’t give a rip about Big Star or covered bridges.
5. Tim (1985)
Overcomes the handicaps of an enormously ugly album cover and flat soda production with truly monolithic songwriting. “Bastards of Young,” “Left of The Dial,” “Here Comes a Regular”—legends unto themselves.
6. Stink (1982)
A dip into hardcore punk. According to these dizzy Midwesterners, the genre needs harmonica (“White & Lazy”) and power ballads (“Go”). Plenty savage and fun. Bob Stinson’s leads go off like tracer missiles.
7. The Shit Hits The Fans (1985)
Most artists would bury a recording of a bad gig. The Replacements released this one as quickly as possible. Such is their charm. After a few listens you grow accustom to only hearing sixty seconds of every song that strikes the band’s fancy (including hits by Zeppelin, U2, and R.E.M.).
8. Don’t Tell A Soul (1989)
Their most naked stab for chart glory. Desperation doesn’t taste too bad coming from these guys. That said, they should have gone whole hog and asked Paula Abdul to do something.
9. All Shook Down (1990)
This one gets an asterisk since Paul recorded it as his solo debut and the label railroaded him into filing it under Replacements. Lots of acoustic pop not very removed from the ‘Mats DNA…but definitely not the trouble boys.
Sometimes I doodle. Here are a few examples from the past several years.
Paul Westerberg, ink, 2013.
Sausages, ink, 2014.
Spikeleeosaurus, Mac Paint, 2014.
Tyrannoshaft, Mac Paint, 2014.
Goodlizard, Mac Paint, 2014.
Live On Tape From Hollywood, ink, 2014.
Electric Hoff, ink, 2014.
Thank You For Being A Ninja, ink, 2014.
Val Kilmer Tickles Lou Reed, ink, 2015.
The Miracle of Al Lewis, ink, 2015.
Gary The Squirrel, ink, 2015.
– just noticed the ad Fallon’s holding for their show at the tennis stadium Photoshops the PTMM arms into tennis jackets; nice one
– the new guitarist has Goo Goo Doll hair/air; at least he fits sonically
– I hope I rock a t-shirt as well as Westerberg when I’m fifty
– they sound great, but I’d still like to hear a reunion with Mars back on drums
– the ending tease was cruel; my heart leapt that they might play another
Color Me Obsessed
Starring: a bunch of Replacements fans
Directed by Gorman Bechard
Julien Temple’s year 2000 Sex Pistols documentary The Filth & The Fury is artistically notable in that it refuses to show the band members in present day, cloaking their physical wear and tear in literal shadows and only allowing the Pistols to be seen via 1970s news footage and home movies. Gorman Bechard goes a few steps further with his Replacements narrative Color Me Obsessed—the old bird doesn’t show any photos or movies of the band at all (save the final frames of the movie). Bechard also doesn’t use any of the Replacements’ music, instead allowing the entire story of these ramshackle indie rock pioneers to be told via the talking heads of fans and friends. It’s an odd gambit but one fitting of the Mats who are, in fact, one of the last rock groups to have a legend cushioned by endless too-good-to-be-true second hand anecdotes that remain unverifiable thanks to their existence in a pre-Internet age.
Yes, upon the release of their landmark third album Let It Be, the Replacements attempted to erase their first two albums from history by throwing what they thought were the master tapes of those records into the Mississippi River. No, humble guitarist Bob Stinson did not tell his future wife Carleen about his successful underground rock group, introducing himself to her as a mere pizza cook. Yes, Tupac Shakur was horrified when Tom Arnold told him the Replacements had been banned from “Saturday Night Live” for defecating in a cooler backstage and sending it to the first floor of 30 Rockefeller Center. No, no one can agree which Replacements album sucks more, Don’t Tell a Soul or All Shook Down. Yes, Matt Pinfield is as annoying as you remember him.
It’s hard to say how effective or captivating Color Me Obsessed would be to the strange alien who’d never heard a lick of Replacements music. There is certainly a linear tale here, no different than if a group of bar flies were piecing together a tall tale for you, and the emotion behind the testimonials will surely pique some virgin’s interest in tracking down a worn vinyl copy of Hootenanny. For those of us already enraptured by the tough but tender “aw shucks” songwriting of Westerberg and Co. this doc is required viewing, if only for reassurance that their are plenty of other schlubby white folks out there still gritting their teeth to “Hayday” and “Bastards of Young.”
FINAL SCORE: Three raspy former MTV veejays (out of four).
From the mealy mouth of Replacements singer Paul Westerberg (left) comes news that the group’s founding drummer Chris Mars “really didn’t want any part” of the band’s September reunion to record an EP of covers for the financial benefit of ailing guitarist Slim Dunlop. Dunlop was partially felled by a cerebral artery stroke in February; Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson decided to reform the ‘Mats last month to help their ill friend. Quoteth Pauly O on the drummer sitch:
I was not surprised, but I was a little disappointed. I’d talked to [Chris], I thought maybe he might come down and play with us. That’s fine, he’s totally into painting, and doesn’t want to return to the skins.”
Is Mars still miffed they scrapped most of his work in favor of session drumming for that last Replacements album he was on, Don’t Tell a Soul? Who knows, maybe there’s something else going on (whatever the issue, it appears related to the guy’s former instrument—the last time the Place Mats reassembled, for two new tracks tacked onto the 2006 greatest hits release Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was?, they had to hire freelance drum god Josh Freese ’cause Chris only wanted to sing).
At any rate, that aforelinked Rolling Stone chat with Westerberg is a great reminder of the deft voice rock music’s been missing since Westy’s semi-retirement. Also, please note Paul’s reaction to Color Me Obsessed, the ‘Mats documentary currently farting about the festival circuit:
I recognized most of the people, and some of them I thought, How dare you, you shameful so and so? Why don’t you get a life? I was embarrassed by it more than anything, I guess. Wouldn’t you be, if a movie described every little intricate thing about your life? That thing, the R band, the ‘Mats, they don’t even really belong to us anymore.”
The four song Replacements reunion EP comes out later this year on ten inch vinyl (limited edition, of course) that will be auctioned off online. Just like the old days!