I’ll come straight to the point and relate that if you haven’t got Trouble Boys by Bob Mehr yet, stop reading this entry and get it!
If, like me, you’ve spent your summer staying up ’til midnight reading the damn thing, then continue reading this post. There are some surprises…
Mehr was in Portland as part of his promo tour for Trouble Boys, a highly anticipated and very engaging tome about The Replacements. He was joined by Scott McCaughey of The Young Fresh Fellows and Peter Jesperson, Twin/Tone Records co-founder and former manager of the legendary Minneapolis record store, Oar Folkjokeopus. The event, dubbed “Portland: We’re Sorry,” was pretty much packed, with a quiet, yet enthusiastic crowd.
Of course, Mehr and crew touched on the infamous night The Replacements and The Young Fresh Fellows “played” The Pine Street Theatre, back in ’87. “I don’t remember much…” McCaughey quipped, laughing. If you don’t know the story, read this.
But the best parts for us ’Mats obsessives?
Learning that Paul Westerberg wanted to call what became the “Don’t Tell the Soul” album “Tit for Tad.”
In one part of “Kids Don’t Follow,” Paul sings “Kids don’t NRBQ.”
McCaughey playing “If Only You Were Lonely.”
Being in the same room with Jesperson.
After I got my book signed, I approached one of Jesperson’s friends. We got talking and he flagged Peter over.
“You’re the real hero here, I mean, if it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t have this book, we wouldn’t have all the music,” I said. Then I rambled about how as a teenager, I’d pour over the liner notes on Sorry Ma…, Hootenanny and Let It Be and wonder, “who is this Peter Jesperson. I wanna meet him!”
By now, Peter was flushed. “Oh thank you, you’re very kind,” he said.
“Well, it’s from the heart,” I said. “You don’t have to sign anything, I just want to give you a hug.” And I did.
I ended up walking through Powell’s Books with Peter and his two buddies. We talked music and the impact of folks like themselves (record store nerds/music fanatics) on the world. Before we parted ways, they recommended I pick up the album “Bulk” by Jack Logan. “You’ll love it!” Jesperson said.
Heading home, I got a little nostalgic. As a teenager, record store folks like Jesperson were catalysts, idols of sorts. Think of all the music they turned us onto!
And on that note, I’m gonna hop in bed and pour over the liner notes of Sorry Ma…, Hootenanny and Let It Be, just like I did way back. Now, where is my Walkman?
Thank you Bob, Peter and Scott for sharing your stories with us today!