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….