Friday, October 31, 2008


The Replacements' history began in Minneapolis in 1978 when a nineteen-year-old Bob Stinson gave his eleven-year-old brother Tommy Stinson a bass guitar to keep him off the streets. That year Bob met Chris Mars, a high school dropout. With Mars playing guitar and then switching to drums, the trio began covering songs by Aerosmith, Ted Nugent and Yes without a singer. One day, as Paul Westerberg, a janitor in a Senator's office, was walking home from work, he heard a band playing in the Stinson's house. After being impressed by the band's performance, Westerberg regularly listened in after work. Mars knew Westerberg and invited him over to jam; Westerberg was unaware Mars drummed in Dogbreath.
Dogbreath auditioned several vocalists, including a hippie who read lyrics off a sheet. The band eventually found a vocalist; however, Westerberg wanted to be the singer and took him aside one day to say "The band doesn't like you". The vocalist soon quit, and Westerberg replaced him. Before Westerberg joined the band, Dogbreath often drank and took various drugs during rehearsals, playing songs as an afterthought. In contrast to the rest of the band, the relatively disciplined Westerberg appeared at rehearsals in neat clothes and insisted on practicing songs until he was happy with them.
After the other band members discovered first-generation English punk bands like The Clash, Dogbreath changed their name to The Impediments and played a drunken performance without Tommy Stinson at a church hall gig in June 1980. After being banned from the venue for disorderly behaviour, they changed their name to the Replacements. In an unpublished memoir, Mars later explained the band's choice of name: "Like maybe the main act doesn't show, and instead the crowd has to settle for an earful of us dirtbags. [...] It seemed to sit just right with us, accurately describing our collective 'secondary' social esteem". The band soon recorded a four-song demo tape in Mars' basement, and handed it to Peter Jesperson in May 1980. Jesperson was the manager of Oarfolkjokeopus, a punk rock record store in Minneapolis, and had also founded Twin/Tone Records with a local recording engineer named Paul Stark. Westerberg originally handed in the tape to see if the band could perform at the Longhorn, a local venue where Jesperson disc jockeyed. He eavesdropped on Jesperson's office as Jesperson put in the tape, only to run away as soon as the first song, "Raised in the City", played. Jesperson played the whole song through, again and again. "If I've ever had a magic moment in my life, it was popping that tape in," said Jesperson, "I didn't even get through the first song before I thought my head was going to explode".
Jesperson called Westerberg the next day, asking "So do you want to do a single or an album?". With the agreement of Stark and the rest of the band, the Replacements signed to Twin/Tone Records in 1980. Jesperson's support of the band was welcomed, and they asked him to be their manager after their second show. Later that summer, the band played several club gigs to almost empty venues; when they finished a song, apart from the low hum of conversation, the band would hear Jesperson's loud whistle and fast clapping. "His enthusiasm kept us going at times, definitely", Mars later said, "His vision, his faith in the band was a binding force".
After the Replacements signed to Twin/Tone, Westerberg began to write new songs, and soon had a whole album's worth of material . When the band's first album, Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash, finally appeared in August 1981, it received positive reviews in local fanzines. Option's Blake Gumprecht wrote: "Westerberg has the ability to make you feel like you're right in the car with him, alongside him at the door, drinking from the same bottle". The album contained the band's first single, "I'm in Trouble", Westerberg's "first truly good song". Sorry Ma included the song, "Somethin to Dü", a homage to fellow Minneapolis punk band Hüsker Dü. the Replacements had a friendly rivalry with the band, which started when Twin/Tone chose the Replacements over Hüsker Dü, and Hüsker Dü landed an opening slot at a Johnny Thunders gig that the Replacements wanted. Hüsker Dü also influenced the band's music; The Replacements began playing faster and became more influenced by hardcore punk. Despite this, the band did not feel part of the hardcore scene; as Mars later stated, "we were confused about what we were". This and plenty more info can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Replacements

No comments: