What’s the cover? Where should we park?

My first ever concert. My first real ticket stub. Note one of the sponsors: Coca-Cola!

My first ever concert. My first real ticket stub. Note one of the sponsors: Coca-Cola!

A 15-year-old girl wrote this, can't you tell?

A 15-year-old girl wrote this, can’t you tell?

A full deck of playing cards fell like snow. Loose change—pennies mostly—rained down on the ground. I dove for the cards. A friend skinned her knee on the pavement, grasping for what looked like a suitcase key.

The ’Mats were up on high—leaning out of the Aragon Ballroom’s dressing room window after their ’89 Don’t Tell A Soul show in Chicago, dumping the contents of their pockets onto their faithful fans. There was beer, too.

What a great way to end my first live show—waving up to my musical heroes. This was rock ’n roll. I was 15. I was in love.

My dad had dropped me and my best friend off at the venue earlier that night (how punk rock is that?). I remember being embarrassed at this and rushing inside. The room looked huge to our young, innocent eyes. We picked GA seats (folding chairs) within the first ten rows. These chairs would later be kicked over and abandoned by a wild, drunken crowd.

As I was in a Beatles-fangirl-like frenzy, I don’t remember much about their set, though maybe midway through, Paul left the stage. Fans and bandmates were confused. A spotlight then pops on, and Paul is up in one of the empty boxes next to the stage. They played Nightclub Jitters (I think? Or maybe it was Within Your Reach?). Whatever song it was, it was perfect. Paul’s voice was tender and moving.

I hafta laugh now at my fondest memories captured on the above note card, especially, “the old ladies next to us.” Ha! They were probably in their 30s! God, I’m old now…wish I’d written more about the show on that damn card. My memory no longer serves me well.

So yeah, that’s how my obsession with The Replacements started.

Now where did I put my ticket for tonight’s SOLD OUT show?

“The night life critters: ‘What’s the cover? Where should we park?’”

The party is NOT OVER!

early-mats-record

In fact, some would say the party’s just beginning…bring your own lampshade to Friday’s show in Portland!

So, I got the above record after a screening of the film “Color Me Obsessed” a while back (thank you Jackpot Records). It’s so f’in great, I don’t even know where to begin. The only other ’Mats I have on vinyl is Tim (from my father-in-law, more on that in another post) and the Songs for Slim LP. The rest of the ’ole collection is on cassette and yes, they still work!

Why is this record so special? Evidently, it was limited to a pressing of 400, and features outtakes from their early recordings (duh!). This one is on blue vinyl, but I’ve seen it online in red/hot pink too. Why you need this record:

mats-notes

Arguably the best track on the damn thing is “If You Get Married,” mainly ’cuz you can’t find that song anywhere else. It’s tender, poignant and still has balls. Also, I AM a girl, and love it when Paul wears his heart on his sleeve. But I digress.

early-mats-back

Please note: this album was not produced by ALEX CHILTON.

Buy this album on Discogs.

Takin’ a (wild) ride!

 
 
The ’Mats play Portland this Friday, April 10 at the Crystal Ballroom. Does it get any better than that?

Well, yeah… we here at Nightclub Jitters just learned over the weekend that the Young Fresh Fellows (YFF) will open The ’Mats Seattle and Portland gigs!

YFF’s ramshackle live shows remain legendary — kinda like some other band we know (when they weren’t falling over drunk). Click the above link to see a live YFF performance at the Pine Street Theatre in Portland from 1991, courtesy of Bohemia Afterdark. Sorry, when you click the link you’ll have to watch it directly on YouTube.

Paul Westerberg on YFF; “If you think we’re good, then they’re the best band in the world. They’re like the new NRBQ only sloppier.”

YFF’s first album was aptly named, “The Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest: A Tonic of Tones to Pipe the Visitors Abroad.” It’s full of power-pop genius. However, their most well-known tune is probably “Amy Grant,” a tongue-in-cheek jam off 1987’s “Men Who Love Music”, poking fun at the Christian music artist.

“Among those inspired locally were the Young Fresh Fellows. The two groups became kindred spirits, toured together, and Replacements singer Paul Westerberg promoted the Fellows to the press more than his own group. The Fellows returned the favor, playing Westerberg’s wedding,” according to a recent story in the The Seattle Times by Charles R. Cross.

Read the latest: YFF’s take on opening for this week’s shows.

Get ready for a wild ride!

 

We’re in trouble…

 

Yeah, so we’re one week away folks. The Replacements play Portland’s Crystal Ballroom Friday, April 10. I can’t hardly wait.

I’m pretty sure the last show The ’Mats played was Austin City Limits in October 2014. Paul wore overalls and frequently played while laying down on a hammock (click on the above link if you haven’t already). The band was tight, just as they have been since kicking off their reunion tour over a year ago.

Some ’Mats fans still doth protest these reunion tours. “It’s not The ’Mats, Bob’s gone,” they’ll say, or “They’re just in it for the money, fuck this reunion shit.” When I first heard they were doing a festival circuit back in 2013, I kinda had the same reaction. I was really skeptical—most reunion tours suck, frankly. Also, my affection for festivals began and ended after the first Lollapalooza. So, I held out hope for a ’Mats US tour of small clubs.

Then I watched the festival mayhem unfold online. Holy crap, did I miss out!

It began with Riotfest! in Toronto and ended at the aforementioned ACL Fest. What a run! I mean Jesus, did they play a shitty show? You tell me—I wasn’t there. Heck, I even watched them play Jimmy Fallon online (I’d share that clip but NBC has removed it).

Why are they so good (again)? Some idears:

  1. It looks like Paul and Tommy are having fun again (a lot of fun).
  2. Dave Minehan on guitar. The guy fucking rocks. Check out his first band, The Neighborhoods.
  3. Josh Freese on drums. Dude also plays with Devo.

Here’s another clip, going waaayyyy back (not) Riot Fest! Chicago (and yeah, that’s J Mascis from Dinosaur Jr. lurking on the side):

 

So, who’s excited about Friday, April 10 in Portland? That would be me.

“Can’t hardly wait, I can’t wait!”

 

Color us all obsessed

Have you seen Color Me Obsessed? Well, if you haven’t: Stop what you’re doing! Read this post. Click the link at story end. The 2011 documentary by Gorman Bechard is a “different sort of rockumentary.” There’s really no music in it, and no, it doesn’t…

The last, best band of the 80s

cover-musician-matsmusician-spreadmusician-tommy musician-paul-page musician-trash-room

What a great cover. There’s the band, in all their ragged glory.

I bought this issue of Musician magazine in 1989, as soon as it came out. Years later, I learned that Jon Bon Jovi wrote a letter to Musician, asking, “How can the Replacements be the best band of the 80s when I’ve never even heard of them?”

Jon — you answered your own question, ya knob! Go fuck yourself.

But seriously now, this cover story remains significant as it tells the band’s coming of age story—from their early days in the Minneapolis punk/hardcore “scene” to “Professional whats, I don‘t know,” as Paul quips during the interview. I’ve read this story about 50 times, and with each read I learn something new. And I still love staring at that photo of Tommy “shootin’ dirty pool.”

It also marks a turning point for the band. When this issue came out, Don’t Tell a Soul just hit the racks. The Replacements were seemingly on the verge, and this article served to give them a push. Too bad it didn’t work. Or is it?

Coming soon, scans of the full article, so you can actually read the damn thing.