Hold my life until I’m ready to use it-Hold my life because I just might lose it

Posted: May 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

The Replacements were going to save rock ‘n’ roll. They were part of the Holy Triumvirate of MPLS punk – along with Soul Asylum and Husker Du- and the latter two were both more serious and less informed of rock history.  Huskers were speed punks, and Operation Pirner was intent on making rock fame.  At the same time, The Replacements were both the quintessential “we don’t give a fuck” punks and still they managed to figure out how to play an amazing array of covers.  The simultaneously didn’t give a shit, and still gave a shit.  They all played the same clubs, and the ‘Mats were pretty much banned from all of them… The still managed to release some albums, titled “SORRY MA FORGOT TO TAKE OUT THE TRASH” and containing stupidity like songs entitled “Fuck School;”  And yet, and yet….

An Album named Tim.  The first time I played it, I fucked up and played side two (you youngsters, check out the museums to see what “albums” were, and what difference the sides made, and why it mattered) And the first Replacements song I ever heard was Bastards of Young, and the third was Left Of The Dial and my silly stupid brain was almost instantly re-wired and last night when the first guitar cranks of Left Of The Dial were played, I felt the same tingle up my spine that I did thirty years ago and I sang all the long forgotten lyrics and teared up and hugged my wife and….

Tim  was produced by Alex Chilton. [oops]   If you don’t know that name, shame on you , and check out Big Star and then check out the documentary.  The subsequent album by the ‘Mats included a song named Alex Chilton and did they play the hell out of it last night?  I guess they did.  “Never travel far/ without a little Big Star” The Replacements were poised to save Rock n Roll.  \ I will go back to my old “songs that made me Zombie.” They had the ears of the critics, but never cared enough to play as if they cared.  Westerberg was a compelling front man but sometimes could hardly care enough to remember the lyrics, let along be sober enough to deliver them.  The first time I ever saw them Chris Mars the drummer played in crappy clown makeup, and Westerburg was so drunk that for  the encore he came out and had to have a chair to allow him to play a weird medley of “Skyway” and “Fuck School”. The Replacements amalgamated the best of rock and roll history:  R&B, Rolling St0ones, The Who, The Ramones, The Fugs, and every drunken garage band who never made it anywhere.  They distilled all of that into a package and, at the end of the day, never gave a shit if it made it anywhere. The central concept here is that they never gave a shit. They got so drunk that Saturday Night Live banned them. They never forgot that rock and roll was meant to be raw and unrestrained and sloppy and kind of dangerous.  The kind of thing that was likely to make your daughters lose their virginity  Rock and Roll was supposed to be the Kingsmen and not Bandstand.  It was supposed to be DIY.  Garages. The Replacements were the band that were able to save rock ‘n’ roll. The got too drunk to play SNL and then they broke up.  They got to the point of being too great to be denied, And they fucking declined.  Because there was nothing more punk than to do that. Because rock and roll was no longer able to be saved. Hold my life, indeed.  I might just lose it, I might just be ready to use it.,…Save my life, I love the Replacements.  And last night, they were sublime indeed.  Mixing many of their own sloppy punk past, in with a random sampling of cover songs… The Replacements are no longer able to save rock and roll.  But they are still able to make it vital.  I walked out of the venue sore in feet and back, and the only thing I could think is one of my favorite lines from another MPLS band:  “there’s a ringing in my ears thats heaven sent”  Going to sleep, so good….

  1. Great read.

    So many greats come and go and the come again. I like that folks like Against Me! are still going strong and doing new stuff. One of my faves:

    • I am a pretty big fan of Against Me, but I find it hard to think of them as ‘old-timers’ as I am old and re-animated and shit. I do agree about them keeping on keeping on, especially considering the singer/songwriter has come out as transgender.

      • I should probably explain that I connected Against Me! to your post because I somehow had a cover of “Bastards Of Young” they did, and that prompted me to listen to that album. Connections, y’know?

        Also, too: “The Strays” did a cover of that same song on their “Le Futur Noir” album.

    • That’s a great song, OBS. I even think mikey might like, the guitar is nice and clean and the drums are not sloppy Keith Moon style….

      Crazy is that Against Me is classified as “New Wave” on iTunes, and the song is not available for purchase DAMMIT STEVE JOBS. Thanks Obama!

      • The album that song comes from is called “New Wave” but that’s the only connection I would make. It isn’t available on eMusic either. I actually have no idea where I got it.

  2. Wow, WordPress totally hosed the formatting on that post. But I confess the “wall of text, stream of (un)consciousness” is kind of growing on me…

  3. Mikey Hemlok says:

    I suppose I’m selfish. I don’t get the angry, imperfect thing. I mean, I saw it with the Ramones, and certainly with the classic, perfect-for-the-moment Babes in Toyland, who literally couldn’t play and were still fun, but for the most part I like polished, well produced music that is ready for consumption. Probably I’m just not willing to work that hard to love music – Boston and Journey and Starship and BTO were great bands, and there was always Springsteen and Zevon and Dylan for the coarser presentation.

    Of all your MLPS bands, I love ‘Operation Pirner’ (heh) the most because the music is finished and nice to listen to, and of course his unequaled ability to deliver poetic wordplay (The vacuum don’t suck, but it needs a belt).

    Music is SO subjective, it’s just hard to make people hear what you (or I) are hearing. But I gotta admit, I like hearing you describe what you’re hearing…

    • But I gotta admit, I like hearing you describe what you’re hearing…

      Hey, thanks mikey. Coming from you, that means much to me….

      But Soul Asylum’s early days were as angry as any other punks, and fast as Husker Du. My particular favorite song is from their early major label effort, Hang Time: Cartoon. (Wiki Depressory: “As of 2006, the album has yet to sell 100,000 copies”)

      That song always makes me think of my favorite description of Pirner and Murphy’s harmonies: “The sound of two angels who have just woken up from a four day drunk”

      It also features the lyric I often include in my music posts: “There’s a ringing in my ears that’s heaven sent”. It’s one of those songs I can never turn up loud enough, and when I see them play it live, I run into the pit. Snag will verify this; I can say I have seen Soul Asylum -play their hometown at First Avenue from 15 feet or so in front of the band….

    • the music is finished and nice to listen to,

      Nice is so much not a descriptor of the music I like to listen to. But aesthetic considerations aside, I am not sure your preferences rise to the level of selfishness. You like what you like, and it’s part of your history. My history is part of mine, and the Replacements were a huge part of it….

  4. Mikey Hemlok says:

    I still have Nemesisters. ’95/’96 was one of the great years in rock n roll…

  5. Scott says:

    “They got to the point of being too great to be denied, And they fucking declined.”

    That’s so fucking spot on.

  6. For anyone interested, here’s the setlist:

    Takin a Ride
    Favorite Thing
    Color Me Impressed
    Seen Your Video
    Kissin’ in Action
    (with snippet of “Iron Man” by Black Sabbath)
    I’m in Trouble
    Little Mascara
    Waitress in the Sky
    Kiss Me on the Bus
    I Want You Back
    (The Jackson 5 cover)
    I Will Dare
    Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out
    (ending with Jimi Hendrix “… more )
    I’ll Be You
    (Chuck Berry cover)
    Can’t Hardly Wait
    Bastards of Young
    My Boy Lollipop
    (Barbie Gaye cover)
    Within Your Reach
    Never Mind

    Left of the Dial
    Alex Chilton

    Encore 2:

    Not listed there was a new song, “Whole Food Blues” but I don’t remember where it happened.

    Also should be noted that even though the oval-shaped Ballroom has notoriously shitty sound, by about halfway through, they had overcome and we could hear the band reasonably well…

  7. Mikey Hemlok says:

    I first became aware of Soul Asylum when I heard “Black Gold” on the radio. Interestingly, it was also the first song/band I heard described as ‘alternative’. That song grabs you from the very beginning, replete with classic Pirner word play:

    Two boys on a playground
    Tryin’ to push each other down
    See the crowd gather ’round
    Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd

  8. Really good post, Z. Needs to go on the Jon Swift roundup, srsly.

    I like slop and speed. I’m on a speed metal kick right now, and frequent skatepunk or some of the more aggressive 3rd wave ska bands. But messy guitars are just fine as well.

Go ahead, tell me how I fucked up this time.

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