As Music Director of original alternative radio station WFNX/Boston for much of the ‘80’s, I have a few Replacements stories. There was the time, due to record company politics, that my station wasn’t allowed the “co-promote” on their Tim tour stop at the now defunct nightclub, The Channel. As a consolation, the Warner Bros. local promo team put together what remains to this day my all-time fave radio station promotion: “Replace A Replacement!” Entries were collected at local chain Newbury Comics’ locations with one lucky listener winning the grand prize: sing a single song onstage live with The Replacements.
Two years later The Replacements stumbled into the station’s Lynn, MA lobby at 11:00AM for their sole ‘FNX interview. They were completely shitfaced. As they amused themselves by carving up our “Couch of Shame” with the razor blades left lying around for editing audiotape, I couldn’t help but wonder, “These are the guys who threw Bob Stinson out for being a drunk?” (It was then and there they scrawled “This Station Bites” on the above Pleased To Meet Me album cover. Initially I was pissed. Then I thought, “I’ll just take this puppy home”).
Since The Replacements’ bitter splitter in 1991, the possibility of a bona fide reunion became a more unlikely prospect as each year passed. When guitarist Slim Dunlap suffered a massive stroke early last year, it seemed all such hopes were permanently dashed.
Enter Riot Fest founder Mike Petryshyn. Since Mike started the Fest in 2005, he had listed The Replacements as an “it-never-hurts-to-ask” act. Armed with the knowledge that last September Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson had reunited in the studio to record their installment in the “Songs For Slim” benefit series, Mike moved The ‘Mats to the top of this year’s wish list. Per The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, he said, “There was life to the idea pretty early on.”
The main question left was with Slim Dunlap’s inability to perform, founding member guitarist Bob Stinson’s death in 1995 and Chris Mars, depending on with whom you speak has either “retired” from the music biz or was not asked, who would replace The Replacements’ other half? Ubiquitous drummer Josh Freese was almost a given – given he’d recorded and toured with ex-Replacements’ singer/guitarist Paul Westerberg for a slew of his solo albums. Freese and Tommy Stinson shared five years of touring the globe as battery mates in Guns N’ Roses, too. To complete the circle, Freese and guitarist David Minehan, leader of legendary Boston group The Neighborhoods, had both backed Westerberg on several mid-‘90’s solo tours.
If you’re like me, you’re wondering exactly what the hell did Sunday night’s first Replacements’ show after a two decades-plus absence from the stage sounded like. Slicing Up Eyeballs has the goods.
Those interested in helping Slim Dunlap defray the cost of his medical bills & stroke rehab check out Songs For Slim. Also ex-Georgia Satellite Dan Baird set up a means by which fans can donate towards Slim’s cause via PayPal. Baird and Dunlap played together for a bit after the respective demise of both their bands.
Below, The Replacements do “Color Me Impressed’ live at Riot Fest, August 25 2013:
Bonus clip: If you’ve never heard of David Minehan or his band The Neighborhoods, check out this vintage 1979 clip featuring two of their classics, “Prettiest Girl” and “No Place Like Home”: