Review: Don’t Tell a Soul & Dead Man’s Pop (DTAS tracks only)

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Caveat: the lens here is through the mind of a 15-year-old girl in 1989, trapped inside the body of a middle-aged woman in 2019. They are the same person but not. We’re listening to a Spotify playlist that has each DTAS track placed one after the other, to aid direct comparison.  

Should I listen? Can I listen? Do I buy the box set? What if I get depressed (again)?

Reactions

This new (old) mix lacks balls. I miss the punch and the crunch.

Parts of the Wallace mix sound very tentative, like a slow train. Also too precious.

Fuck you! “We’ll Inherit the Earth” is an ANTHEM. That soaring riff still makes me cry. A modern-day “Lark Ascending”? OK, I’m getting carried away…

“Asking Me Lies” ROLLS! There’s an interview with Paul or Keith Richards where they talk about songs that roll. This is most definitely one of them.

Sometimes the Wallace mixes seem too “cut and paste” (I’ll call it “intentional chaos”).

The man (Paul) can write a song!!!

I don’t like banjo.

Rock N Roll Ghost is to Paul what Rock N Roll Suicide was to Bowie.

Still Favorite Lines After All These Years

“I got my hands in my pockets, and I’m waitin’ for the day to come.”

“To the brown-eyed beholder, see the chip, on your shoulder…”

“I’ve been aching for a while now, friend, I’ve been achin’ hard for years.”

“Well the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting drunk…”

“Well I laughed, half the way to Tokyo. I dreamt I was Surfer Joe, and what that means I don’t know.”

“I wha wha wha wha wha won’t!”

“Five hundred midnight’s since have past, since I held you fast…”

The sarcastic laughter in RNRG.

Important Questions that Still Need Answers

Who’s playing harp? Paul or Slim or ???!

Who is the person in the cassette sleeve standing in the shadows, wearing fishnets?

What does L.L.Y.F.F. mean?

Why was this album hated so much?

Coming soon: a post about all the other crap that’s on Dead Man’s Pop (besides the Matt Wallace mixes). Thank you for reading and please comment below. 

A Fucking Fitting Tribute

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Where the F have we been? 

It took a January 2018 ‘Mats tribute to finally bring us out of splendid isolation…

The tribute is part of the PRF Monthly Tribute Series, brought to you by an array of folks from the Premier Rock Forum ( hence, PRF). And while I could blather on about what the PRF is and does (or does not do), I’d rather just let the series (especially this one) speak for itself.

I’m partial to “Hey, At Least We’re Not Social Distortion” — this could have been an outtake from Paul’s 49:00… Of Your Time Life. Oh and “Wake Up” — more humor here.  And actually, the cover of “All Shook Down” just rocks, what a surprise!

Have a listen.

What’s your favorite track?

“Don’t tell a soul…”

You’re In Trouble

 

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!

I Have Always Loved You

Portland set list.

Portland set list.


It’s been a while.

By now, you’ve probably accepted the fact that the boys are not recording, nor even touring again.

Like many of you, I was bummed for a while there, too.

To replace The Replacements, I resigned myself to YouTube. I found old live ’Mats footage, soaked up rare B-sides and tried to watch every interview I hadn’t seen before.

None of it filled the void.

You see, there’s something about a live show. The wait, the anticipation, the crowd, the NOISE. Anything can happen.

So when a friend offered to take me to see Stiff Little Fingers in late July, I said, “OK, they’re not the ’Mats, but what the hell.” I’ve always loved Inflammable Material, and “Alternative Ulster” still knocks me out.

My friend and I hadn’t seen each other since March—before my birthday and the ’Mats Portland show, both in April. So we caught up before the show at her place.

“Oh, I’ve got something for you,” she said. “A belated birthday gift, hang on.” She leaves the living room then returns with a small canvas bag. “Here you go, happy belated birthday!”

I smile as she hands it to me (the bag has a cat face and the words “Cat Lady” printed on it). “See, it reminded me of you! Open it!” She looks at her boyfriend across the room, who shoots her a big smile.

I unzip the pouch. A folded piece of paper is inside. It’s quite wrinkled, longer than letter size. As I unfold it, I notice the paper is edged with really thick black tape all around. Something small and square falls to the floor. I pick it up.

Completely unfolded now, I look at the white duct tape-edged paper…

“Within Reach.”

“Bastards.”

“Portland.”

… then the square thing… and it hits me…

“IT’S THE SET LIST!” I screamed. “AND A VIP PASS FROM THE PORTLAND SHOW!!!!!”

I instantly felt like that 15-year-old girl who saw The Replacements for the first time. I couldn’t stop looking at the set list—I just stared at it, then back at my friends.

Everyone started laughing.

“Yeah, I saw your Instagram a while after the show, about how you loved the band since high school and thought you should have it,” her boyfriend said. He was a tech that night for the venue, Crystal Ballroom. “It was Paul Westerberg’s set list.”

I couldn’t stop saying thank you.

Why?

Kindness. Generosity. Authenticity.

I see these qualities in the ’Mats fans I know personally, and those I’ve become friends with online. They’re real people who help each other out. It’s just what you do, right?

So while we may not have another Replacements tour, or a new album, we do have each other.

Here’s to a great band AND a great group of fans.

The daughters and the sons!”

Get me out of this stinkin’ fresh air!

Paul inherits the earth.

Paul inherits the earth.

“Fuck,” I said. I poured myself a large glass of wine. Then another.

Hard to really explain how I felt the day I read the headline, “Paul Westerberg Says The Replacements Just Played Their Final Show,” on Pitchfork.

OK, I’d actually been expecting it. Like many ’Mats fans, I counted the days until that FINAL show. I wondered, what would Paul say?

Would the ’Mats go out like Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars?

“That’d be cool, babe.”

Or would it be some lame-ass “THANK YOU, we’ll be recording and releasing tomorrow and then touring again,” like some fucking U2 bullshit?

Hell no!

Instead, leave me with:

  • The image of Tommy Stinson stomping on a bunch of 45s I threw onstage, screaming and yelling.
  • Those HOT plaid suits. Seriously boys, who IS your tailor?
  • Paul’s chicken dance.
  • Oh, and this riff.

And now, I must go to bed, with visions of Paul Westerberg dancing in my head.

“Meet me anyplace, or anywhere at any time…”

“Ooohhh if you knew how I felt now, you wouldn’t act so adult now…”

“THANK YOU FOR COMING.”

Alright, I’ll stop there.

Thank you for reading! More posts to follow. Let’s keep the ’Mats magic alive. Lemme know what you wanna read about, email:bobalova@gmail.com.

Next post will likely be some kinda collage re: Mats’ fashion, HAHA!

Back to that same ’ole place, Sweet Home Chicago

Flannel shirts. Skunky, shitty beer. The blues. A bit of folk. A bit of country twang. Mismatched used car salesmen suits. Honesty. Attitude.

The Replacements are a Midwest band — there’s no denying it. So it’s probably no surprise that one of The Mats’ largest fan bases lies roughly 400 miles southeast of Minneapolis in the City of Big Shoulders — my hometown — Chicago. As The ’Mats gear up for a two-night stint at The Riviera — their first club show in Chicago since the early ’90s — let’s look at the boys’ connection to the Windy City:

  • Chicago was the first major city to catch on to The ’Mats’ infectious blend of punk, rock, country and the blues (New York came second, my friends).
  • Just-slightly-left-of-the-dial Chicago radio station WXRT (93.1FM) was one of the first US radio stations to actively play The Replacements. Their long-standing, late-night show The Big Beat was where I first heard The ’Mats on the radio. No coincidence then that ’XRT is sponsoring the 2015 shows at the Riv!
  • Chicago is the birthplace of the electric blues, home to Chess Records. As Paul Westerberg said in a ’96 interview: “I approach my rock and roll or pop music the way someone else would approach blues. I try to keep it as bare, simple and real to life as possible. Because my true desire, my dream in life—which I have never before revealed—is to be the greatest blues guitar player in the world. There, I said it.”
  • The band essentially broke up in 1991 after their Taste of Chicago gig. See below.

Listen to this live Chicago shit:

The Replacements 1984 at the Cubby Bear Lounge
Why you should listen: Their blistering, bluesy version of “Take Me Down to the Hospital.”



The Replacements Chicago Radio Interview 1987
Why you should listen: The DJ indulges the band by playing Sonny Boy Williamson’s epic Little Village.



The Replacements “last” show in 1991 at the Taste of Chicago
Why you should listen: Their roadies close out the set! The band breaks up.

The words I thought, I brought…

A 1987 issue of Musician featuring an article on “The Real Replacements.”

A 1987 issue of Musician featuring an article on “The Real Replacements.”

Opening spread of 1987 article on The Replacements.

Opening spread of 1987 article on The Replacements.

Digging through my archives, I found a July 1987 issue of Musician magazine, featuring an article on our beloved ’Mats by Bill Flanagan. I wanted to share the damn thing because it’s been collecting dust AND it marks some key changes for the band:

  • The release of Pleased to Meet Me: “The Replacements’ shot at the big time,” says Flanagan.
  • Bob’s departure: “It’s tough,” Westerberg concedes. “Tommy wanted to see Bob straighten up, but he wasn’t and he wouldn’t and he’s gone.”
  • Slim joining the band: “The reason I wanted Slim in the band was to replace my brother. We couldn’t have some guy from L.A. with hair down to his butt come in. It had to be someone I liked,” says Tommy.

Flanagan visited the ’Mats in Minneapolis, just after they infamously threw the Twin/Tone tapes of their early albums in the Mississippi River. The overall tone of the article is intimate, a little dark, but also funny and raucous. Hey, kinda like the band themselves!

Download a PDF of the sidebar, in which the boys talk guitars and amps etc.

If there’s enough interest in this article, I’ll get off my ass and fix my scanner and post the whole article. Or, as I just discovered, you can buy the magazine on eBay. I’ll never let my copy go!

“The words I thought I brought I left behind, so NEVERMIND!”