Twenty years ago, the sound and fury of the Minneapolis scene defined the shape of alternative rock to come. At the forefront were Hüsker Dü and the Replacements, two bands driven by booze, boredom and a burning desire to conquer the world.
Photos by Daniel Corrigan
Who’s Who In MAGNET’s Minneapolis Story:
Ed Ackerson (singer/guitarist, the Dig, Polara)
Lori Barbero (drummer, Babes In Toyland)
Bill Batson (singer, the Hypstrz; soundman, 7th Street Entry)
Karin Berg (A&R person, Warner Bros)
Peter Buck (guitarist, R.E.M.)
Joe Carducci (co-owner, SST)
Angie Carlson (writer, Minnesota Daily)
Kevin Cole (DJ, First Avenue)
Daniel Corrigan (freelance photographer)
Peter Davis (editor/publisher, Your Flesh)
John Doe (singer/guitarist, X)
Slim Dunlap (guitarist, the Replacements)
Craig Finn (singer/guitarist, the Hold Steady)
Steve Fjelstad (engineer, Hüsker Dü, the Replacements, Soul Asylum)
Lou Giordano (soundman, Hüsker Dü)
Grant Hart (singer/drummer, Hüsker Dü)
Tom Hazelmyer (owner, Amphetamine Reptile; singer/guitarist, Halo Of Flies)
Michael Hill (A&R person, Sire)
Peter Jesperson (manager, the Replacements; co-owner, Twin/Tone )
Terry Katzman (soundman, Hüsker Dü; co-owner, Reflex)
Martin Keller (writer, Sweet Potato/City Pages)
Maggie MacPherson (production manager, First Avenue)
Scott McCaughey (singer/guitarist, the Young Fresh Fellows)
Steve McClellan (manager, First Avenue)
Colin Meloy (singer/guitarist, the Decemberists; author, Let It Be)
Bob Mould (singer/guitarist, Hüsker Dü)
John Munson (bassist, Trip Shakespeare, Semisonic)
Dan Murphy (guitarist, Soul Asylum)
Greg Norton (bassist, Hüsker Dü)
Chris Osgood (singer/guitarist, the Suicide Commandos)
Dave Pirner (singer/guitarist, Soul Asylum)
Jack Rabid (editor/publisher, The Big Takeover)
Paul Stark (co-owner, Twin/Tone)
Tommy Stinson (bassist, the Replacements)
Jim Walsh (writer, City Pages, St. Paul Pioneer Press; musician);
Paul Westerberg (singer/guitarist, the Replacements)
For a few years in the mid-’80s, not long after Athens and sometime before Seattle, the epicenter of American underground rock was Minneapolis. Before Prince came along, the northern city was mostly known for being really cold. (“Funkytown,” a number-one hit for Lipps, Inc. in 1980, is an expression of boredom with Minneapolis and the urge to get the hell out of there.) But genius can put any town on the map, which Prince accomplished for his home city with 1984 album and film Purple Rain, whose prominent concert footage was shot at a local club called First Avenue.
Though they played the same venues as Prince, the spotlight wasn’t necessarily looking for Hüsker Dü and the Replacements. Given the groups’ determination and originality, the Hüskers and the Mats—who both evolved from Minneapolis’ do-it-yourself punk scene—would’ve existed anywhere, anytime.
Formed in 1979, Hüsker Dü believed in speed. But the band’s breakneck tempos—a velocity that’s been attributed to the trio’s amphetamine use—could barely conceal the pop melodies put forth by singer/guitarist Bob Mould and singer/drummer Grant Hart. Musically, the two-headed songwriting team was a great success; personally, it was a disaster. Whether due to opposing personalities or too much time spent in close quarters (the band recorded and toured constantly), Mould and Hart eventually became bitter enemies. (Mould and Hart are gay; despite persistent rumors, they claim they never dated.) Hüsker Dü, which also included bassist Greg Norton, imploded on the road in December 1987, when Hart’s heroin use prompted the band to cancel its last two dates of the tour. Furious, Hart quit the group; Mould threw in the towel the next month. Since, Mould has released a handful of albums, including three successful outings with Sugar in the early ’90s. Hart has also released post-Hüsker records (solo and with Nova Mob) as well working as a visual artist. Norton played briefly with an outfit called Grey Area before concentrating on a career as a chef.
If listeners hadn’t heard anything quite like Hüsker Dü, they sure hadn’t seen anything quite like the Replacements. The band also began in 1979, with the lineup of singer/guitarist Paul Westerberg (a wry, wickedly funny songwriter), guitarist Bob Stinson (a lovable, if troubled, cut-up), bassist Tommy Stinson (Bob’s 12-year-old brother) and drummer Chris Mars (the quiet one). The Replacements drank more than any other band, ever, and their live shows were accordingly either epiphanies or trainwrecks. The indulgence took its toll: Bob was kicked out of the band in 1986 and replaced by Slim Dunlap, who stayed on until the Mats called it quits in 1991. A lifetime of drinking and drugs caught up with Bob in 1995, when he passed away at age 35. Mars eventually quit music and became a painter, Tommy released a few records (solo and with Bash & Pop and Perfect) and now plays in Guns N’ Roses, and Westerberg has a solo career. (For a more complete history of the Replacements, see issue #55.)
Hüsker Dü and the Replacements seemed to run on parallel tracks. They shared a New York City debut on April 17, 1983, at a club called Great Gildersleeves. Both were among the first indie-punk bands of their era to sign to a major label. Both wield enormous influence. There may not have been a Pixies if not for the Hüskers; remember that Kim Deal responded to Black Francis’ want ad for a bassist into Peter, Paul & Mary and Hüsker Dü. (And what would Nirvana have sounded like had Kurt Cobain not worshiped the Pixies?) Without the Replacements, it’s hard to imagine the careers of Uncle Tupelo and Whiskeytown—and, by extension, Wilco and Ryan Adams.
The greatest irony of the Minneapolis music scene is that neither the Hüskers nor the Mats ever made it big in a commercial sense. Soul Asylum—the perennial opening band and often seen as understudies—did. MAGNET’s oral history of the Minneapolis scene isn’t a comprehensive one: There are probably holes in the story big enough for Prince and all his bodyguards to walk through. And the truth—about Hüsker Dü, the Replacements, the ’80s—is all between the lines, anyway.
Peter Jesperson: The scene was very happening. It was bursting at the seams with great bands of all different types, mostly centered around a downtown club called the Longhorn. Before the Hüskers and the Mats, the best bands were the Suicide Commandos, Curt Almstead and the Suburbs.
Angie Carlson: Jay’s Longhorn was where it all went down. You’d see all of the people who looked like punks, but they weren’t called punks. Everyone called them punkers. It wasn’t super-sophisticated. The town was kind of conservative. I had my hair dyed ketchup red, and it was kind of ratty. I’d walk down the street, and people would yell, “Punker!”
Chris Osgood: The Longhorn was like CBGB in that it was a long bar with a low ceiling and the band was up on a riser at one end of the room. It had been a Nino’s Steakhouse before it turned into a bar, so it was not a dump; it didn’t smell like piss and vomit like CBGB.
Jesperson: The club scene was just the Longhorn from 1977 to 1980. In 1980, a large downtown club called Sam’s, which later became First Avenue, opened a small room, which they named the 7th Street Entry.
Osgood: First Avenue was the bigger club. They both were housed in a former bus depot. The main stage was in the back of this big, cavernous room that used to be the waiting room for people heading out onto the buses that would queue up in the back. 7th Street Entry used to be the cloak room.
Jesperson: The Suicide Commandos were the granddaddies of the whole scene. They started around 1976 and were groundbreaking: true punk-rock pioneers. In fact, when we got a promo of the first Ramones album at Oar Folkjokeopus—the record store where I worked—we all thought it was oddly similar to what the Suicide Commandos had been doing. You know, that comic-book punk thing.
Osgood: The Suicide Commandos formed in the summer of ’75. The Sex Pistols came along the next year. And we heard the Ramones in the summer of ’76; we were just floored, because it sounded so much like us.
Paul Stark: Osgood is probably the most influential local musician of the early ’80s. He inspired everything, because his band was the first one to do all original material before punk was punk and alternative was alternative. Lots of high-school kids saw that and wanted to be like him. I would have to put Paul Westerberg and Dave Pirner in that camp.
Osgood: Our inspiration was listening to Stooges and MC5 records, the whole Detroit scene. When we saw the Pere Ubu single “Final Solution” in the summer of ‘76, I remember telling (bassist) Steve Almaas, “Let’s do that, too: start putting out records.”
John Munson: Many Minneapolitans thought the Suburbs would be the city’s lasting impact band, especially after Credit In Heaven came out in 1981.
Tommy Stinson: I looked up to the Suburbs, because they were older guys who were rockin’ it and had big crowds. It was a funny little scene back then. You’d have parties where Hüsker Dü and the Replacements would all hang out together.
Osgood: I had the great fun of teaching guitar to Bob Mould and Dave Pirner. Bob would come over to my apartment, and I showed him some chord structures. He just did a couple of lessons; he was a very quick study. He was 18 at the time. He’d come over on the bus, get off and lug his flying-V guitar upstairs. Bob was just on the threshold of forming Hüsker Dü.
Martin Keller: A lot of people trace the whole rock scene to Oar Folk. I was living six blocks away at the time, and you’d always run into Jesperson there because he worked the counter most days. Mould was in and out on a regular basis. It was a nice hangout.
Lori Barbero: I have about 8,000 records, and I bought 7,000 of them at Oar Folk.
Grant Hart: Oar Folk had a real snobbish attitude. It was a place to be condescended to.
Maggie MacPherson: A couple of them could be condescending, but I didn’t feel that way. At noon every day, they turned the music off and put a TV on the counter; they watched All My Children.
Tom Hazelmyer: There certainly was an element of snotty record-clerk shit, but what hipster record store doesn’t cop that vibe? Folks like Terry Katzman were infectious in their enthusiasm. I was able to go down there in the summer and watch wrestling on TV with Mould and Katzman behind the counter. I spent hours going through the drawers of obscure punk/underground singles.
Jesperson: Twin/Tone didn’t kickstart the scene, but we were there super early and did a lot to help it develop. The label was almost forced into being by the sheer number of good bands in the area.
Stark: There were three of us who started Twin/Tone. I was a recording engineer, Jesperson was the manager of Oar Folk, Charley Hallman was a music reviewer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Osgood was really the catalyst. He got us together, and we were all lamenting about how Minneapolis lacked a scene and were trying to figure out what we could do.
Jim Walsh: Jesperson was a muse for many of the young songwriters. He’s such a deep listener with such an exacting taste. It wasn’t even like Berry Gordy or someone who would make you a star, but in terms of rock ’n’ roll, you knew you were on the right track if Peter liked it. He loved a lot of music, from the blues to the Beatles to punk rock.
Jesperson: My apartment was a regular hang for lots of people because I had a large record collection and always had lots of new stuff to listen to.
Carlson: There was this scene, but there was also Prince and Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam getting press. Prince, all five-foot-two of him, would be out at shows with his bodyguards.
Jesperson: I never saw Prince at a Replacements show, but I bet he saw one or two from the shadows.
Keller: Prince knew who everybody was. I don’t know if there was much mingling, but listen to his rock songs and he was obviously listening to something, whether it was Westerberg or somebody else.
Steve McClellan: The chemistry in the main room at First Avenue with Prince, the Time and Alexander O’Neal and in the Entry with Hüsker Dü, the Replacements and Loud Fast Rules was very interesting.
Kevin Cole: The success of Prince almost killed First Avenue. When people saw Purple Rain, for the next two years after that, we had people coming down wearing purple trench coats with studs in them.
Keller: We got a lot of media attention. I remember being on The Today Show talking about the scene. “The Minneapolis sound” had been tossed around a lot as an all-purpose cliché; it stemmed more from the whole R&B thing starting with “Funkytown” and extended to Prince and the Time.
Ed Ackerson: People talk about Prince and Purple Rain, but in the exact same period, Hüsker Dü made music that also had profound impact around the world. Without them, there would never have been a Jesus And Mary Chain, a Yo La Tengo, a My Bloody Valentine, a Dinosaur Jr, a Pixies, a Nirvana.
Cole: When people look back, they think Nirvana, Pixies. The Suicide Commandos did a lot of the work that allowed Hüsker Dü and the Replacements to set the table for the next level. It’s hard to picture Nirvana without the Replacements.
Dave Pirner: I know this sounds kind of corny, but it really was a magical time. A band would play the Entry, and the same 20 people would show up. And they’d all be in bands, too. I’d just turned 18, and the drinking age was 18. I got immersed in it and never looked back.
MacPherson: The ’80s in Minneapolis is something that couldn’t be replicated anywhere. There was a national spotlight on us; we were tastemakers. We all half-assed believed it, but we also half-assed laughed at it. We had as much going on as New York or L.A. I felt there wasn’t any city that could touch Minneapolis.
Hüsker Dü: Divide And Conquer
Hart: Greg and I met at a record store called Melody Lane.
Greg Norton: The owner of Melody Lane also had a tiny store near Macalester College called Cheapo. Grant brought in a PA that he hooked into the stereo and stuck it on the sidewalk and was playing the Ramones. Bob was a dorky freshman from upstate New York with goofy long hair and a leather jacket. He was like, “Oh, hey, I like the Ramones.”
Hart: There wasn’t a single thing about starting a band that wasn’t fun. We did work hard, but it was fun.
Norton: When the band started, I was working at a store called Northern Lights. The owner was kind enough to allow us to practice in the basement after the store closed. For the first year, we practiced every night.
Bob Mould: We wrote songs constantly: on notebooks, on instruments, anywhere and everywhere. All the time.
Terry Katzman: In late ’79, somebody told me I had to see this band playing at the Longhorn called Hüsker Dü, that they did Johnny Thunders covers. I went and watched a set, and I’d never seen anybody play so fast.
Norton: We were really intense when we played. We never got chit-chatty with the audience; we rarely even spoke to the audience. Katzman said we were the most volatile band out there and could implode or explode at any time, but he was referring to our personalities.
Barbero: Bob and Grant got along fine back then. Though there was one night—it was Friday the 13th, a full moon—and Hüsker Dü was playing. Grant and Bob got into a huge fight, and I had to be the mediator. Bob would tell me to tell Grant something, then Grant would say, “Well, you tell him … ” I was like, “Aw, come on, you guys.”
Jack Rabid: I had heard Jello Biafra mention them on Rodney Bingenheimer’s radio show in L.A. in 1981: “Jello is excited about a Minneapolis band called Who Screwed You.” So I sent away for the LP.
Carlson: The shows were chaotic. Bob was super intense, and Grant would come out of a drum roll and just lose it. Greg, the one guy who wasn’t gay, was the one with the big mustache. It was the weirdest band.
Craig Finn: I was disappointed they didn’t look punk. Bob didn’t look like a happening dude; he looked like a wrestling fan, which he was. Greg had the handlebar mustache, looking kind of crazy. Grant had his shoes off. It was sort of embarrassingly disappointing.
Norton: We thought, “If you don’t like the music because of the way we look, then fuck you.” There were plenty of other scenes out there that preached, “Be different, be like us, or we’ll kill you.” We weren’t into the hardcore hard-line doctrine.
Jesperson: I was never a big fan of their music. It wasn’t my thing. They submitted material to Twin/Tone, but I turned them down. I loved the guys, though; they were good friends. I really admired their work ethic.
Hart: Twin/Tone not signing us seemed to be motivation for Bob. He looked at the immediate interest they had in the Replacements as some kind of personal betrayal. Our song “Amusement” is quite literally addressing that situation.
Norton: We recorded the “Statues” single. Then we said, “Screw it. Let’s put it out ourselves.” We named our label Reflex because we were like, “If Twin/Tone doesn’t want to put our record out, then this is our reflex to that: We will put it out ourselves.” In 1980, do-it-yourself was a mantra.
Hart: My mother worked at a credit union. At two years of age, I was one of the charter members. So I took out a loan to put out Hüsker Dü’s first single, just for the pressing. The band had saved up the money we paid to record the songs.
Dan Murphy: Hüsker Dü created the scene. Mostly, it was a Bob Mould thing. He organized parties and did all this public-relations stuff.
Peter Davis: Bob was an obvious firebrand for the scene. He had a hand in the first couple issues of Your Flesh, but as things progressed for the Hüskers, priorities demanded he focus his attentions accordingly.
Mould: We liked being home as much as being on the road. We found a groove that worked. Either coast was only a couple days’ drive away. Why go out for 10 weeks when you can go home after three and get the same amount of work done?
Katzman: I went on the road with them once. That was quite an experience, when they were running on really cheap, bad amphetamines exclusively.
Norton: Grant was living at home, and I don’t think he had a job. I was waiting tables. We were on a $5-a-day per diem. We were hungry. A lot of times, taking speed was a cheaper and easier way to go. It all stopped in different degrees. Bob quit drinking and taking speed. Grant has his own demons to deal with; he went in a different direction.
Mould: I’ve used a lot of drugs over my time, but it’s been 20 years since I’ve touched heavy drugs, and I haven’t drank in almost as long. I would say my personality at that time was fueled by testosterone, alcohol, boredom, anger at the government and wanting to be the best band in the world.
Norton: The first time we went out East, we weren’t sure what kind of response we were gonna get. We were surprised to discover we had a nice little fanbase there because of college radio. The Boston shows were great, the Providence show was great, the Philly shows were great, the D.C. shows were great. So then we get to New York, and at the show (with the Replacements) are all these hardcore punkers who are into Agnostic Front. I guess we weren’t hardcore enough for them.
Rabid: That gig was part of a series of “Hardcore Sundays” at Great Gildersleeves. The audience response was so tepid, it really pissed on the mood. Mould looked really angry, as if he was mad at someone, like he was going to beat someone up. It was odd, this tremendous energy coming off the stage to such little reaction.
Norton: There are two things I remember about that show: this opening band with these 14-year-old kids called The Young And The Useless and that the Replacements didn’t get paid.
Hazelmyer: I think the best show I saw the Hüskers do was around Everything Falls Apart. They had come back from their first in-depth tour. All of us were really excited to see them, and it was in the big room at First Avenue. With the chops they picked up on the road, they fucking sheared everybody’s head off. The other guys in my hardcore band looked at each other with their jaws literally open.
Lou Giordano: It was like being in a car with the gas pedal stuck all the way down, and all you could do was steer.
Joe Carducci: I first saw Hüsker Dü at the Mabuhay in San Francisco in ’81. Greg later called to see if SST would release Land Speed Record, which was recorded at their return-home gig from that tour, I think. SST couldn’t, but Mike Watt told me he would release it without even hearing it, so it came out on New Alliance.
Hart: We had an infatuation with SST. We had met them when Dez Cadena was still singing with Black Flag. We played a Black Flag after-party gig in Chicago. It was the means by which we impressed them into starting a career with us, which ended up with them being about half a million dollars in the hole to us.
Norton: A lot of times, we would let SST hang on to our royalties so they could put them back into artist development. Things didn’t go south until after we left the label. But for the last 17 years or so, SST hasn’t been generating any statements, so we don’t even know how many records we’ve sold.
Mould: SST hasn’t provided an accounting in years, but how much do I think we’re owed? At least five figures, probably six figures.
Bill Batson: I was happy for the Hüskers when they signed to SST. It allowed them to sell hundreds of thousands of records, not that they saw their fair share of the proceeds. They got ripped off, big time.
Hart: We stopped taking any money from SST. We did it to keep our own fucking records in print.
Giordano: The band could’ve sold probably five times as many records if they were available.
Hart: We were on the third date of a two-month tour to promote Zen Arcade and were doing an in-store at a store that didn’t have any of our records.
Mould: I think that period was the high water mark for us: Zen Arcade, New Day Rising and Flip Your Wig. Since the ’60s, show me another group that put out a double album in July, another album in January and another album in September—of that quality—and was on the road constantly.
Norton: 1984 was the first time we started to get interest from major labels. We really didn’t see any benefit to signing with one.
Mould: A&R people were hovering from Zen Arcade on. All labels. They would come to the shows and hang out and try to buddy up.
Carducci: Bands don’t last forever, but you could already see they were going to end. They gave SST Flip Your Wig when Warners wanted it because they were writing so many songs and could impress upon Warners that they didn’t need them—and get a better deal.
Hart: That’s not true. Karin Berg was in town when we were finishing the mixes of Flip Your Wig. She said, “I want Warner Bros. to put out this record.” It would’ve been a hell of a lot better a major-label debut than the downer Candy Apple Grey, which would’ve been a great third album on a major label. It was a major miscalculation by Bob, who thought he fucking knew everything and would lie about the business going on in order to carry on what he had planned.
Norton: It could be argued that if Flip Your Wig was on Warner Bros., it would’ve fared a lot better.
Karin Berg: I wanted Flip Your Wig so bad. It might be their best record. For that to come out on Warner Bros., it really would’ve done well. They didn’t have a contract with SST, but the band “owed” them because they were such nice guys.
Mould: The consensus among the three of us was that it should stay with SST. But if you ask me that now, years later, when Greg Ginn hasn’t paid a dime for at least seven years and can’t even come up with a royalty statement? Yeah, it would’ve been great if it had gone to Warners. They always paid on time.
Berg: It wasn’t a huge deal. It was a good deal, but it wasn’t a big deal.
Mould: We all bought houses. Modest houses.
Berg: I was derided by Billboard for signing Hüsker Dü. They said something to the effect that I was crazy. I got a lot of flak. That just shows you how revolutionary Hüsker Dü was and how revolutionary it was for a major to sign a band like that.
Steve Fjelstad: Having two songwriters like Bob and Grant in the same band is kind of like Genesis with Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins, two people of that talent.
Berg: The big problem in Hüsker Dü was there were two chief writers, and the band needed both of them. The way the two balanced each other was just incredible.
Norton: When Bob said we were going to do the individual songwriter credits, I thought it was just Bob being pissed off at Grant, not realizing I was the only one who thought the songs the three of us worked on were collaborations. I mean, it said, “All songs by Hüsker Dü.” Bob went back and changed it, so he got all the money.
Hart: Bob can stink up a room without saying a word. The guy has an intimidation factor that’s exponentially greater than anyone I’ve ever met in my life. He can loathe you through a wall. Bob had all of this contempt. It was like, “Why are you in a band with me if you fucking hate me so much?”
Berg: Grant was willing to cede power. Bob had won the power struggle, but Grant ceded too easily. Whenever we had a meeting, Grant never said anything. Bob would take over and just go for it. It was all passive-aggressive stuff. Grant is just as responsible.
Norton: The competition between Bob and Grant was just getting started in 1984. That’s about the time I intentionally backed out of participating in writing. I was like, “Fuck you guys. If you want to write all the fucking tunes, then write all the fucking tunes.”
Hart: Me and Bob were writing the songs, and Greg was golfing. He detached himself so much at that point. He had the most fun. Greg’s the one who didn’t have to put up with an anti-Greg. Greg always had a private life that didn’t come to him through or because of the band.
Mould: Greg drifted out of the band a lot sooner than everybody else. There wasn’t a whole lot of contribution except for the live stuff and the lion’s share of the driving.
Hart: I think Greg knows he was used. There were things at the end of the band, and he didn’t know what the fuck to do. Most of what he assumed was fabricated by Bob in the first place.
Norton: I’m happy with how I handled things. I don’t think it would’ve been good if I’d taken sides with Grant or Bob.
Daniel Corrigan: Grant was always wound up, but that’s his nature. Toward the end, there was obvious tension, but they kept it pretty much amongst themselves.
Peter Buck: I played with Hüsker Dü several times and hung out with them and never noticed anything unusual. All bands have tension.
Berg: I had no idea the band was at such odds with one another. There was a meeting at Warner Bros. about something where Bob and Grant disagreed, and I agreed with Grant. Bob got his way, and I went, “Uh-oh.” The hostility in Bob’s voice was something that I had never heard before.
Hart: Bob was conducting Hüsker Dü affairs as if he was the leader and made himself impossible to approach about things.
Giordano: Bob was taking over the internal management of the band, so he took on the responsibilities of organizing everything. If I needed to talk to anybody, he was the guy I’d get an answer from. He was the boss.
Norton: There was never a time when Bob became the leader of the band. He probably would disagree with that. Bob is somewhat of a revisionist. But it’s not like Bob called the shots or set up the tours.
Giordano: He used to call club owners and negotiate rates with them and bust their balls and give them a hard time. It seemed like it was something really easy for him to do. I don’t think there’s any case to be made for Bob overstepping his bounds.
Hart: Bob is such a massive control freak. Controlling the truth and controlling the story and mopping up afterwards and spreading some sort of thing beforehand and peppering the field. Around the time of Candy Apple Grey, he actually wanted to rehearse interviews. I’m like, “Are we not going to know what the answers are? Why do we need to do this?” I think it might’ve been like, “Hey, what if they pull the big gay zinger?”
Fjelstad: I wouldn’t say Bob was a control freak. Bob was very focused. He knew exactly what he wanted to do.
Norton: We were self-managed, though once we got to Warners, they told us we had to have a manager.
Berg: All bands should have a manager. It doesn’t have to be a pro, but someone who can keep track of your schedule. It can be your best friend. They got David Savoy. He was Bob’s choice. He was a sweet guy. He committed suicide.
Hart: David? Greg and I hardly knew him when he was drafted by Bob to come in and work for us. All of a sudden, we have this guy who’s doing a fine job nine to five and taking care of things. But then he disappears for two weeks, and eight months later, he jumps off a bridge. In all his human aspects, David was a fine, wonderful fucking person. But he was far from the only person who could’ve done that job. He had a loyalty to Bob that was the reason first and foremost for Bob wanting to use him.
Giordano: David was basically operating under instructions from Bob.
Mould: When David committed suicide, that was the beginning of the end. Everyone sort of retreated into their own corners and dealt with that in their own particular ways.
Hart: That makes a great fucking story. Bob, I’m sorry your friend died and everything, but you’re still a prick.
Fjelstad: By Warehouse: Songs And Stories, Bob worked on his songs and Grant worked on his songs. The two of them weren’t really in the studio at the same time.
Hart: I was living with this fella named Ivan, and it was at the point where I wasn’t going to be able to keep both him and the band. It turns out I kept neither. In Bob’s eyes, Ivan was totally and completely King Demon. Ivan was involved in drugs as well.
Norton: Bob and I were trying to get Grant into some kind of drug program, which never happened.
Mould: I’ve never talked about Grant’s situation, and I never will. I think that’s personal.
Fjelstad: At that point, Grant was dabbling in other things, wandering someplace else.
Hart: The more successful the band is, the more compelled you are to not leave it. You become even more cemented in it. I don’t know how unconsciously it occurs, but I was in the position of: Die or quit the band.
Berg: They had an intervention for Grant. I think it was before the last tour.
Giordano: There were some nights that Grant wasn’t able to give the best show he could give. It was disappointing to everybody, because when you saw him on a good night, when he was pouring his heart out to the people and was on, it was like magic. On the nights he wasn’t on, I wanted to hide behind the sound board.
Hart: Bob said, “It’s up to you, Grant. Should we go on and play, or do you just want to head home?” And I’m like, “Hell, man, let’s go play.” “Well, Grant, we already canceled it.” “OK, so you wanted to give me the fucking opportunity to think you gave a fuck.”
Giordano: We didn’t cancel those two dates for nothing. We made a decision to cancel them because we knew we couldn’t put a dependable product onstage.
Berg: Bob called me and said they broke up.
Norton: I was pissed off at Grant. I was pissed off at Bob, too. It got to the point with Bob that I realized I had nothing in common with him. It was obvious he didn’t give a shit about me anymore, so whatever. It was fine.
Berg: It was an ego clash, remarkably similar to the Television breakup. I think Bob and Grant were a little surprised I was in shock they broke up. It was really sad.
Norton: Grant would say he quit the band in December when we were on the last tour. Then Bob got himself a lawyer and had himself removed from the contract. So according to Grant, he broke the band up. According to Bob, he quit the band. Bob would probably say he fired me. Leading up to when Bob withdrew from the contract, I had had conversations with him about me and him keeping the band together with a new drummer. At the same time, Bob told Grant, “Let’s you and me keep the band going and kick Greg out and get a new bass player.” Basically, it comes down to this: Who do you believe? I don’t doubt Bob had plans for a solo career and this was a great time for him to get it started.
Mould: Who quit first doesn’t matter. It just ends. When I knew it was over, I had my lawyer file my leaving-member exit letter, which had to be done legally to notify Warner Bros. that the work is over. It nullified the contract and left them with two options: Replace me or sign me to a solo deal. They approached me about the latter, but I turned it down. I said, “I don’t think it’s in my best interest. It will look like I quit the band to get a solo deal. I’ll get another deal on my own, thank you.”
Hart: As time goes by, I become more and more satisfied that I am the member of Hüsker Dü I am. I don’t have people knocking on my door to release the next Grant Hart record, but at least I haven’t put out a number of lousy ones. I think people realize Bob has lost it or wasn’t the main driving force in the first place.
Mould: You’re gonna get a lot of differing opinions about what happened, and that’s the great thing about history: People are left with multiple versions. With the band, I think the truth probably lies in the middle. At the end of the day, the records are what speak the truth.
The Replacements: Made To Be Broken
Paul Westerberg: One day, a friend asked me if I wanted to go hear a band play. I walked in very casual. I was immediately struck by Tommy; his amp was bigger than him.
Stinson: When we started, I was still under my brother Bob’s musical influences, which were prog-rock stuff, from Yes to Johnny Winter.
Westerberg: Bob Stinson had the worst record collection I ever saw. The next time I came over, I brought three albums with me: Dave Edmunds’ Tracks On Wax, Singles Going Steady by the Buzzcocks and the first one by the New York Dolls. They figured it out after a while. I remember walking up the stairs to take a piss and Chris whispering to the other guys, “This is friggin’ punk rock,” like I was trying to slip them angel dust.
Stinson: The thing I remember most about that period was that we were not punk rock. We were some weird hybrid of all four of our weird musical experiences.
Jesperson: It was spring of 1980, and I ran Oar Folk. This guy I didn’t know named Paul Westerberg came in one day and gave me a tape. When I put in the Replacements’ cassette, I was floored in about 30 seconds. The first song was “Raised In The City,” and I remember hearing the line, “I got a honey with a nice tight rear/She gets rubber in all four gears,” ” and I was just completely knocked out. My initial thought was it sounded like a raggedy update on Chuck Berry. Paul told me later that, coincidentally, he was in the store when I put his tape on. I guess the moment he heard it start, he ran out the door.
Stark: Westerberg was a force that would be either really good or really bad. This was a band that would need a lot of nursing in the early stages. Peter was willing to do it, and he managed them for the first few years. Tommy was kind of unknown; he was in eighth grade at the time. Mars was obviously a talented artist with his drawings, and he was more than adequate as a drummer. Bob was a real character. Westerberg was a talented songwriter who still had to learn his trade.
Jesperson: Paul’s songwriting talent was very evident from the beginning. Even though he developed in many ways over the years, he was a naturally brilliant writer from day one.
Westerberg: I’m the second best writer from Minnesota. I’ve come to terms with that. There’s the extent of my arrogance.
Carlson: Paul was always really funny. All of those guys were funny in this kind of Northern way. People from the North are pretty blunt and sarcastic.
Walsh: I think growing up Catholic plays a part in Paul punching through the ceiling. Paul would deny it, but you can’t come up in that environment and not be enthralled by the mystery and the ritual and the words and the music. You embrace it as well as rail against the clenched buttcheeks of it.
Jesperson: Tommy was 12 when I met him, and I don’t recall any trepidation having someone so young in the band. He was a great bass player, had tons of spunk and was really funny. He fit right in. I became his legal guardian. Nobody bought him liquor in the early days, as he didn’t drink. Later on, I guess we all bought it for him.
Stark: Jesperson got guardianship of Tommy from his mother. When they were on the road, Tommy was 14 or 15, and he had to have a legal guardian to go into bars.
Carlson: Tommy was just a kid. I remember kids giving him a hard time in school because he looked like a punker. Or maybe they were jealous.
Stinson: Or maybe they just thought I was repulsive. I dropped out in the middle of 10th grade. I went to New York the first time then. I had sex the first time when I was 13. That’s a little young, even by today’s standards. It caused a lot of weird growing-up shit.
MacPherson: When I was married to (Suburbs drummer) Hugo Klaers, Tommy used to come over and borrow clothes. He found his own style early, and he just ran with it. He was always wearing creepers, with his hair gelled up.
Barbero: The Plasmatics played at the Longhorn, and the Replacements were the support act. Wendy O. Williams was chasing Tommy around all night long with electrical tape on her nipples. Tommy was 14. Finally, he’s like, “Lori, that lady won’t leave me alone!” He was scared. We were backstage, and I told Wendy, “You gotta leave him alone. You’re freaking him out.” She didn’t care for that too much, and she picked up a chair and winged it at me. It smashed the glass pane on the door.
Walsh: If I could think of one great rock ’n’ roll image—people might say Pete Townshend doing the windmill, Paul Simonon smashing the bass, Elvis doing his thing—I think of Paul Westerberg turning around to look at Chris Mars. They shared a smile between them, and to this day, it chokes me up to think about it. The love between those two. It was like they were the two sane ones. Tommy was younger, and Bob was another boy, another planet. Chris and Paul had gone to Catholic school.
Keller: Chris is very quiet and not the person most likely to be voted the Replacements’ drummer; maybe he’s the brick that was holding it all to the ground for a while. He’s a really inside guy. There’s a lot going on there we’ve never seen.
Stinson: Bob had a beautiful heart. People around him loved and cared a lot about him. He was a loving man. Talk to anyone who knew him and they’ll talk about how sweet he was.
MacPherson: Bob was one of the sweetest people on the earth. He was a savant in a lot of ways. Everyone was so used to Bob being around and being happy-go-lucky, and then these things would pop out of his mouth that would stun you: little gems of philosophy that would stop you dead in your tracks.
Carlson: After one show, I told Bob what I thought about it. I talked to him for a while. And he goes, “You were there?” That’s what it was like talking to Bob.
Fjelstad: Bob was, uh, out there.
Corrigan: One of Bob’s favorite tricks was to walk into the dressing room, hawk up a loogie, spit it up on the ceiling and wait for it to drop on an unsuspecting victim.
Buck: As far as I could tell, Bob went his entire career with the Replacements without knowing the names of any of the songs. He didn’t know what key they were playing in when the song started and didn’t know what key they were in when the song ended, but he sure could play some great stuff in the middle.
Slim Dunlap: Bob could be so bad and so great in the blink of an eye. When you saw him on an off night—and most of them were less than awe-inspiring—it was always incredibly interesting. When you saw him when he was really on, he was capable of things that were just not normal.
Jesperson: The early Replacements gigs were revelatory rock ’n’ roll shows. When I first saw them, the band they most emulated was Johnny Thunders & The Heartbreakers. The first time I saw them, they did three Thunders songs. The Replacements had a punky attitude and played real fast and real loud, but they weren’t your dictionary definition of a punk-rock band.
Barbero: Don Holzschuh is a local artist, and he had his studio in a warehouse downtown. The Replacements played there; that’s when the opening bit from (Stink’s) “Kids Don’t Follow” was recorded: “OK, party’s over, Minneapolis police.”
Carlson: The Minneapolis cops were real bastards. They called it setting up and operating a club without a license. You’d go to these parties and a band would play and you’d put money into a jar. It would go to the band and help pay for a keg.
Walsh: We played a high-school dance with the Replacements at this building called the Sons Of Norway. I’m pretty sure that’s where Paul got the line “We are the sons of no one” for “Bastards Of Young.” The Mats wouldn’t help carry our equipment. The little shits just got in the elevator and left. People have bitched about them and said they needed a manager, but that’s why you loved them. Because they weren’t trying to placate anyone, and they weren’t trying to do anything but have fun. You can talk to Westerberg right now and he’ll tell you why: He didn’t want to get a job, period. Which is a very healthy impetus for a rock band.
Jesperson: It was just the five of us in the beginning. They wrote and played the music, I tried to do whatever else needed to be done. It wasn’t difficult to manage them in the early days, but it became difficult, especially when they signed to Sire in 1985.
Davis: There was a definite security blanket of people surrounding them. The Twin/Tone and Oar Folk cognoscenti really doted on that band to the nth degree.
Hart: Jesperson did more for the Replacements than any individual in that band.
Stark: People who only saw them onstage stumbling drunk thought they were lazy and didn’t deserve anything. At the same time, that band rehearsed more than most bands I’ve ever seen. Westerberg took himself extremely seriously, to the extent where he was kind of anti-everything. He intellectualized everything so much that it worked out against him.
Westerberg: Some of that Replacements stuff was jive, that sort of I-don’t-know-how-to-play stuff. For us, it was all or nothing. We were either going to be the greatest band on earth or the worst. Settling for just being a good band was not an option. People like to see human error when it’s honest. When people see you swing and miss, they start to root for you.
Walsh: I’m sure a lot of bands wouldn’t admit it, but everyone wanted to be in the Replacements: the fans, their friends, other bands. They were everything great about rock ‘n’ roll. They were having the time of their lives. It expressed so much about what it felt like to be 19 or 46.
Finn: The Replacements did five nights at the Entry when Tim was released. The first two nights were all-ages; I went to both. They were doing one of their shambling shows, doing covers. They did Hank Williams and “Kumbaya.” It was a little over my head because I was in ninth grade, and we’d gotten a hold of some alcohol. But you were never as drunk as they were. My sense of the Replacements at the time was not that they were an underground band or a punk band. As a ninth grader, I understood them to be an unsuccessful rock band. They didn’t look like they knew how to dress as a rock band.
Colin Meloy: My uncle told me about them, that they lived in Minneapolis. Minnesota felt like a not-too-distant sibling of Montana. There was the same feeling of being in the middle of nowhere, sort of what I was experiencing going into my teenage years living in Montana. They really belong to people in those middle states; they’re kind of public domain.
Stinson: Our fans were more like us than they even fucking knew. They didn’t really fit anywhere or anything. They probably didn’t aspire to a whole lot, but also didn’t aspire to doing nothing, either.
Cole: All of the Replacements’ shows were newsworthy. There was that kind of buzz that would spread around town, just people talking about what happened: what were they wearing, what were they doing, what songs did they do, what were they able to finish? There was a lot of interaction with the audience, where with Hüsker Dü, it was much more stoic. The Hüskers were a machine and would rage through their music.
Hart: People always ask about this so-called rivalry between Hüsker Dü and the Replacements. We were from the same town and sharing the same stages. In the press, any time we got a column inch, they got a column inch. Any time we would get a photo, they would get a photo. People were paranoid about paying too much attention to one band without giving attention to the other.
Mould: I don’t remember a specific rivalry. Grant would say things that would stir the shit, and it was funny. When you stir the shit, it can draw attention to both people.
Norton: There was always a little healthy rivalry between Hüsker Dü and the Replacements. We wanted them to be the second best band in town.
Westerberg: It was a friendly competition. We wanted to see them fail. We wanted them to be the second best band in the city.
Fjelstad: There were never any rivalries, Everyone was friends. We all got along great.
Buck: I don’t think the two bands were in different camps as much as the fans, friends and followers were. I got the feeling that if you were going over to Mould’s house, you wouldn’t go over to Westerberg’s house, though the two of them didn’t feel that way.
Norton: There are some obvious stylistic differences, but we were a pop band in the same sense that the Replacements were. The Replacements were like the Rolling Stones, and we were like the Beatles.
Finn: I got the feeling the Replacements were bigger locally and the Hüskers were bigger nationally. Hüsker Dü toured all the time.
Keller: That’s because all the members of Hüsker Dü could drive. None of the Replacements could drive other than Chris Mars and maybe Tommy after time. Paul still doesn’t drive.
Jesperson: The Hüskers were around first, so the Mats envied them in some ways, and I think the Soul Asylum guys looked up to them both. Then, of course, Soul Asylum got bigger than either, so that was a whole other kettle of fish.
Osgood: The Replacements were fast friends with R.E.M. and a lot of other people. Maybe R.E.M.’s one-brick-at-a-time way of building a fanbase might’ve worked for the Replacements if they hadn’t been so self-destructive.
Walsh: Around the time of Let It Be, Westerberg and Peter Buck walked around the Entry one night in whiteface. They were drunk as hell and walking through the bar. It was very glam and very bizarre and not earnest. That’s the thing that bugs me: Minneapolis gets a reputation for being earnest or Midwest. It’s genuinely fucked up and sophisticated, too.
MacPherson: We were upstairs in the main room where the bathrooms are. Westerberg and Buck were in the girls’ bathroom putting makeup on each other and, at one point, cutting someone’s hair. It might’ve been Jesperson.
Buck: I seem to remember it more being lipstick. The day probably started about noon at the CC Club. Not that any of us wore a huge amount of makeup, but occasionally you get the whole Johnny Thunders thing going. I do remember that night, though, because we got some real looks walking through the neighborhood.
MacPherson: They completely made themselves up, and we all jumped in cars and drove over to someone’s house for a party. On the way over, we stopped at a White Castle, and there was a long line. People in this line just wanted to kill Peter Buck.
Scott McCaughey: Minneapolis was the first place where they had a White Castle. The Young Fresh Fellows had to drive a long way from Seattle to get Slyders—or “little bastards,” as (Smithereens drummer) Dennis Diken likes to call them.
John Doe: I remember Paul, Tommy and I going around Minneapolis one night, looking for a party at 24th and Harriet. It was colder than hell, and Paul ran up to one house and looked in the window. We thought we were gonna get arrested. I remember them shaving their eyebrows. I have no idea why.
Jesperson: 1985 may have been the year the Minneapolis scene came to national attention, but I don’t think it was necessarily a high point. It was rewarding in that a lot of the hard work we had done was finally being recognized, but a self-consciousness started coming into play.
Michael Hill: Seymour Stein, who was already legendary because of what he had done during the new-wave era, had the ability to sign whatever he wanted to Sire. He fell in love with the Mats the first time he saw them, in December ’83.
Osgood: We were grooming them and hoping they would go to a major label. That was our philosophy with all our bands. We saw ourselves as a minor league, trying to develop talent.
Hill: Karin Berg signed Hüsker Dü around the same time that the Mats were signing to Sire. It was a kind of one-two punch for Warner Bros.
Walsh: I called Westerberg when they signed to say congratulations. He said, “Yeah, I just hope they don’t make us wear monkey suits.”
Westerberg: We were afraid of what they were going to do to us, with good reason. We knew it was the end of something, but we had to move on because what had come before had exhausted itself. I believe it was my songs and Tommy’s looks that Seymour Stein thought he could take to the bank.
Hill: Paul has complained a lot, building that us-against-them story. It makes good copy, but it’s not really true. As much as it was ever possible at a major label, it was us with them—or trying to be. But it was hard for them to be with anyone except themselves. They locked the dressing-room door and wouldn’t let any of us in.
Stinson: It wasn’t like, “This is the big break or could be the thing that changes everything.” I imagine it affected the other guys more than me, because I was just a kid. I wasn’t even pondering a whole lot about what that meant, because I wasn’t even old enough to sign the contract.
MacPherson: I thought it was going to be a really fun ride. They might self-destruct, but they might pull it off and it could be a great thing. We were all self-destructive at that point; it was everybody’s big years for doing whatever you could. Drinking is very embedded in Minneapolis. It was almost something to be proud of.
Hill: The day the band came to meet prospective producers for Pleased To Meet Me, they arrived at our office, each of them looking like the Scarecrow from The Wizard Of Oz. Their sleeves were stuffed with straw and the discarded black carbons from old-fashioned credit-card receipts. They found the stuff in a box on the street. They went into our video lounge, locked the door and smeared the carbon ink all over the walls and threw the straw around. They broke all the LPs I had given them of the producers who were coming to see them. I got so pissed off, I locked the door of my office and wouldn’t talk to them.
Buck: The Replacements’ way of dealing with the world was adversarial, so it’s not surprising they had an adversarial relationship with their record company. I love those guys, but they never took the easy road, making it hard for everyone around them. Not necessarily on purpose, but that’s who they were.
Rabid: I dragged Steve Albini to a Replacements show. He didn’t like them, but I said, “You have to see them.” Of course, they ended up doing their crappy, inexcusable, boring all-covers set. They would make it through a verse or two of U2’s “I Will Follow” and fall apart, then do another song they clearly didn’t know. Or they’d wank off with “Heartbeat, It’s A Love Beat” and bad top-40 songs or terrible versions of country songs like “Kansas City Star” that their roadie would sing. Albini walked out. I stayed, hoping they’d start playing their own songs or something they actually knew, but it would never happen. They’d just get drunker and drunker and care less and less, and the whole thing would be such a debacle. I’d seen it twice before, and it was only funny for about 10 minutes.
Finn: They were on Saturday Night Live in 1986. That was a big deal, like someone had anointed them as cool. Like they’d gone out and conquered something.
Hill: They had not made a deliberate plan to curse on the air. It just kind of happened spontaneously. Bob was wearing an ill-fitting jumpsuit with no underwear, and it split right up the backside during their performance. That whole evening was surreal. The SNL folks were known for being wild and crazy, but they shunned the Replacements all night and found nothing humorous about them.
Jesperson: Things did frequently get out of control. I wasn’t an experienced manager, and there were a lot of things, as they became bigger, that I didn’t know how to do or simply wasn’t cut out for. At certain points in a band’s rise, they may need someone to be tough, and I just wasn’t a tough guy. Plus, we all abused substances, again to varying degrees, and that wasn’t always appropriate for the manager. Not that it was always a good idea for the band, either, but that’s another story.
Hill: As for Bob, people were worried about his behavior and his substance abuse, but it did take a while to understand the depth of his problem. At first, his unpredictability was part of his charm, but it became clear later he had a serious issue with bipolar disorder.
Westerberg: Bob just got out of hand. He would be outside in the alley trying to score drugs while we were onstage. When he was tipsy and wearing a dress, he was charming, but when he was just wasted, stark naked and had no clue at 180 decibels, it was like, “This ain’t helping us at all.”
Jesperson: I don’t think Bob ever came to terms with the fact that Paul had become the leader. In the beginning, it was Bob’s band. Even though they clearly wouldn’t have been real contenders without Paul—and Bob knew that—he still resented him somewhat. When Paul started bringing in quieter, more thoughtful songs, Bob would say things like, “Save that for your solo album, Paul.” That was the real beginning of the end for Bob in the band.
Keller: Bob had other problems that were never addressed personally or professionally. He had a hard life. It was a shame he couldn’t stay in the band; I think they lost an edge they never regained.
Westerberg: Bob went through treatment many times. I went a few weeks without drinking. I think Bob and I both tried and both failed.
Stinson: I really thought they were going to change, and I think they did, too, at least for a moment. I also got more involved with the nonsense. I only had Jesperson and my brother looking out for me, but my brother would get fucked up and I could’ve disappeared for all he could see; Peter as well. The sad part of it is that it forced me to grow up real fast and take care of myself. With the kind of role models I had, I’m fucking lucky to be alive.
Keller: I remember an interview I did with the Replacements. I drank some beers with them and somehow got on the subject of tragic artists like Flannery O’Connor. I point-blank asked Paul if the Replacements were a tragic rock band, because they had a self-destructive edge to them. I got a really startled look from Paul, like “Don’t turn that mirror on me.” I don’t think I really got an answer. That was the first thing I thought of when Bob died: “Here’s part of my answer.”
Westerberg: I heard the coroner’s report said, “He wore himself out.” It was sad, but you knew it was coming. From the day I met him, he spent his days getting fucked up. That never changed. I really loved the son of a bitch. Any time he asked me to buy him a drink, I would empty my pockets for him. But I didn’t like his guitar playing. I wanted to get rid of him from day one.
Dunlap: I was never asked to join the Replacements, I just kind of stumbled into it. I didn’t go out of my way to try out. I was square with Bob. In his own way, he was never angry with me over it, but it is a heartbreaking part of that saga. It was doubly hard for me because I always did love him.
Jesperson: Paul said they needed me to step down, that he was unhappy with how things were going. He wanted to start swinging when he got mad and didn’t want me in the way, catching any punches. I left the band in May 1986.
Fjelstad: That was surprising. Westerberg and Jesperson were such buddies. It was like two peas in a pod.
Ackerson: For me, things changed so much when the original lineup split and the antics started to seem a bit redundant. Ironically, though, that’s about the same time that the rest of the world outside of Minneapolis started to notice the band.
Cole: When Bob got kicked out of the band, it was sort of a different era, a different phase. Then Chris left, and it was sort of a different band.
Stinson: Paul went from being a brother to me to being the singer to being “that guy.” I try not to be negative.
Westerberg: During the All Shook Down tour, Tommy got as drunk as possible every night as a final “fuck you.” There was one final moment that, if they ever make a Replacements movie, should be depicted. It was in Holland, and the promoter came in with the poster for the gig. It was a big picture of me, and it said, “Paul Westerberg And The Replacements.” Tommy grabbed it and ripped it up, and that was the end of the Replacements.
Hill: The Mats seemed like a remarkable critique of the music business and how other artists shamelessly sought out fame: the artists who cooperated with the label, played very professional shows, made polished videos, meet-and-greeted press, radio, store owners and regional promo guys. The Mats made a mess of all of that and, consciously or not, pointed out the absurdity of so much of it: all the calculation and careerism that went into being an artist who was supposed to be spontaneous and wild and rebellious. At the same time, they seemed to crave the very success they mocked. They wanted you to pick up the tab, but they’d kick you in the ass while you were paying the bill.
Stinson: I still get people coming up to me and going, “Man, I saw you guys. You guys were so fucked up that you barely played your set, and it was the best show I ever saw.” That always bums me out, because I really want people coming up to me going, “I saw you guys play, and when you did ‘Bastards Of Young,’ it fucking thrilled me to the bone.” Nobody ever talks about the songs. I think Paul is an amazing fucking songwriter. I think the Replacements are as much about the songs as the drunken bullshit. That’s kind of a bummer legacy. I’d rather have people listen to the record and realize that’s what it was about. I’ve got no regrets about it. It’s just like, “Damn! What about that one song that we did?”
Interviews conducted by Jud Cost, Andrew Earles, Matthew Fritch, Matt Hickey, Steve Klinge, Eric T. Miller, David Olson, Hobart Rowland, Matt Ryan and Jonathan Valania.
Special thanks to Bill Bentley, Angie Carlson, Paul Hilcoff and Jack Rabid.