I just finished reading Jim Walsh’s oral history of The Replacements: All Over But The Shouting and it was fun reading about a time of which I had a front row seat. It was a blast reading about shows I remember attending, concert posters I remember seeing, and people I have met and shared stories with.
The oral history approach works well with a history of The Replacements because so many people have such different perspective on Replacement incidents and their impact I don’t think an author could ever capture it all. Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson didn’t directly participate in the book but they have so many interviews out there, Walsh was able to get their words into the story. Jim Walsh deserves a lot of credit for organizing the oral histories in a manner that does tell the story.
I have few complaints with the book. One complaint is that I wish there was more on the legendary 5 night stand at the 7th Street Entry in celebration of the release of Tim on a major record label (October 2005). Those shows were huge at time and the buzz was overwhelming. You just had to attend at least one show. I am lucky enough to have a bootleg of one of those shows (first or second) and it’s just amazing. These shows are mentioned in the book but not to the degree they should have been.
Since the book is an oral history, I will share my Replacements oral history as well. Consider this an amendment to Walsh’s book.
I first came across the Replacements in early fall 1981. I was attending Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and was working at the college radio station. I heard someone play the single I’m in Trouble and was absolutely hooked. Paul was right, Bob's guitar solo is hotter than a urinary infection. I scoured the station’s record collection until I found the single with the If Only You Were Lonely b-side. I couldn’t believe they were from Minneapolis and immediately pocketed the single (I still have it). I’m in Trouble and If Only You Were Lonely had to sustain me for nearly a year as I couldn’t find anything else about them in CR.
That summer (1982) when I returned to Minnesota I started hitting the record stores and found Replacements Stink at 3rd Stone Records in Navarre (right next to the still there Dairy Queen). This EP was much faster and had such classic songs as Fuck School and God Damn Job. I went to the U of MN in the fall and attended my first Replacements show by myself that September at First Avenue (on the bill with Husker Du!). They were great and I was hooked!
Well at the U I found other Replacements fans and we started to see them all the time. From September 1982 to October 1985 I probably went to every show they played in the Twin Cities. I saw great shows like at Goofy’s Upper Deck (Target Center is there now) where Tommy threw his mike stand over my head into the crowd and I experienced my share of the drunken messes too. Unfortunately I’ve seen Bob Stinson’s manhood more times than I’d like to admit as he tended to wear dresses on stage with no underwear and I would always position myself near the front of the stage. I saw Paul Westerberg and Pete Buck storming through First Avenue with make-up on and I felt the disappointment when Bob was kicked out of the band. By the time the album All Shook Up came out I really didn’t care anymore and didn’t even buy the album. I’ve stayed away from the greatest hits packages but I still cherish all their released material through Don’t Tell a Soul. I consider myself very lucky to have lived and been young at the time of the Replacement’s reign over Minneapolis.
So put the book on your Christmas list, buy a copy for your nephew or kid who’s into rock and roll. It’s a great story, it’s a sad story, it’s a fun story, and it’s a story we all share as residents of Minnesota or fans of rock and roll.
Have you read the book? What’s your Replacements Oral History?
I took all these photos at the Replacements' concert at the Coffman Union Great Hall May 1984.