Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements


The introduction to Bob Mehr’s Trouble Boys: The True Story of The Replacements is set in a funeral parlor in Minneapolis in February of 1995. As readers, we don’t get back to the events surrounding this for another 400 pages, but the eventual demise of guitarist Bob Stinson hangs over much of the book like the Ghost of Christmas Future. But so does the eventual burnout of the band itself – one many considered the best American rock and roll band of the past 35-plus years. However, the flames burn bright in the meantime.

That introduction is only part of what makes Mehr’s book – nearly six and a half years in the works – as great a read for hardcore ‘Mats fans as it is for casual enthusiasts alike. The opening section focuses on the band’s founding members – Bob and Tommy Stinson, Paul Westerberg and Chris Mars. The Stinson insight is particularly haunting. Abused by his step-father, Bob Stinson’s teenage years become a succession of rehabilitation homes for juvenile offenders and those diagnosed with mental disorders. Music, ultimately, becomes a life-long escape for him, but unfortunately, not the only one.

As the band slowly congeals into what became The Replacements, a magnificently detailed depiction of late 70s/early 80s Minneapolis is chronicled around them. Mehr’s exploration of the scene surrounding the band – the record shop Oarfolkjokeopus; Twin/Tone Records; the CC Club; The Longhorn, Sam’s, First Avenue and the 7th Street Entry – is as vivid as the life of the band members themselves. Various characters swim in and out of the band’s existence, but Mehr fleshes out a good many of them, spending great amounts of time with key players Peter Jesperson (the band’s first manager), Paul Stark (Twin/Tone co-owner), replacement-Replacements Bob ‘Slim’ Dunlap and Steve Foley, and various album producers and record label executives.

It’s through the relationships with these people that gives the book its power as an unflinching look at world of The Replacements. While clearly a fan of the group, Mehr stays neutral, holding up examples of the individual members flaws, both professional and personal, throughout the book’s course. He is also to be commended for digging into the psychology of the band’s infamous behavior, looking at the roots of of their erratic and often self-sabotaging actions and what it might have signified. In this, it helps that nearly all of the living members of the band agreed to work with Mehr on the project. The 1986 firing of Bob Stinson is fleshed out in great detail as are the events that lead up to his eventual dismissal. While it’s always been easy to paint Stinson’s firing for substance abuse issues as somewhat hypocritical, given the rest of the band’s notorious intake, the book lays out the growing concern from people around Bob, not just his bandmates, in terms of what it was doing to him. Knowing the eventual outcome, it’s tough to feel anything but sadness as Bob’s life begins its downward trajectory.

Most surprisingly, the Don’t Tell a Soul and All Shook Down sessions are a fascinating look into records that are not necessarily canonical favorites among the band’s fans. The frustration over two recordings sessions for the former and the ‘band in name only’ vibe of the latter (which still lead to at least Tommy Stinson feeling it was a truly great record) gives fans another reason to revisit these records with new insight in mind. Mehr’s timing on writing the novel also managed to coincide with the recent reunion of the band, and the book’s epilogue thankfully takes the time to explore the post-’91 breakup years – including a heartbreaking section about Bob Stinson’s final years and days – and the eventual reunion in 2012.

For Replacements fans, Trouble Boys is a fascinating, sad and beautiful read and for those unfamiliar with their work and legacy, it’s still a great biography. At Bob Stinson’s funeral, Paul Westerberg leans in to whisper to the late Stinson’s ex-wife that “we were just kids,” as if making an explanation or apology for everything that had happened. Trouble boys until the end, it makes their art and their story all the richer. words / j neas

The Replacements :: September Gurls (Big Star)

We are giving away a big Replacements package, comprising a unique painting of the Tim cover by noted artist Steve Keene, a 4-LP The Sire Years boxed set, a Replacements slipmat, the rare promo-only ‘Mats (instant) Grat 7” of ‘Can’t Hardly Wait (The Tim Version)’ b/w ‘Portland’ & a copy of Trouble Boys by Bob Mehr.   To enter to win, leave a comment with your name and how you first came to know the band. Winner will be notified via email.

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185 thoughts on “Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements

  1. Bought “Let It Be” on a whim. Sat out on my roof listening to it trying to look as cool as they did on the cover.

  2. Also loved this book, first came to know the Replacements from an older cousin gifting me the All for Nothing/Nothing for All CD when I graduated HS in 2001.

    Definitely not as cool as seeing them at the Longhorn in 1981, but became a big fan in the ensuing years and got to see them a couple times recently.

  3. I first bought ‘The Replacements Stink’ in the late 80’s, I liked the cover 🙂 The band was part of the soundtrack of my life through high school and college. I even got to work the barrier when they played my college in the 90’s for the ‘Don’t Tell a Soul’ tour. I still pull out the records pretty regularly.

  4. i found a copy of “let it be” in the cheap bin at rhino records (rip) over twenty years ago. had never heard of the band, but tommy’s bleary-eyed look just grabbed me. no turning back since then. really looking forward to reading this!

  5. I first heard the Replacements during my freshman year at Indiana University in a class called History of ’70s’80s Rock. Wasn’t quite ready for the Mats though; it was during my senior year after a succession of heartaches and heartbreaks that the band broke through to me as resonant and essential.

  6. Early ’80’s, northeast New Jersey, about the age I should have been moving ahead, drifting instead as a courier, for walking-around money. Record store in downtown New Brunswick, a couple of miles from one of the Rutgers campuses, shifting through the stacks, with pre-alt records in weird, nonconforming sleeves and came across “Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take out the Trash” and was stopped in my tracks. In all the years since, I don’t think I ever came across another person around here who admitted to being a fan. I don’t recall ever even getting a response. There are and were rightfully more obscure bands, but never one with more of “fer us or agin us” force-field around them. Never a wider disparity between unadulterated greatness and widespread impenetrability in the ears of the masses. Everybody gets what they get.

  7. Hell yeah Peter! I took the 60’s version of that class with Prof Gass but I had friends who loved the 70’s/80’s class. Anyway I first heard the ‘mats when my dad put on Tim in the car one day. I was probably only 11 or 12 and according to him I hated it, but by time I was 17 I was telling anyone and everyone how cool the replacements were. I asked my dad if he had heard of them and he just laughed at me. Thanks Dad!

  8. As I was still in elementary school during the ‘Mats heyday, I came to them a bit later than maybe some other fans. The Singles soundtrack was all the rage as I spent most of 1992 in 8th and 9th grade. “Dyslexic Heart” and “Waiting for Somebody” were two tracks offered up by Paul Westerberg alongside those by my adolescent staples Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, and Screaming Trees. At the time, I wasn’t savvy enough yet to know who Westerberg was. Fortunately, I was already beginning to become deeply indebted to my local record store. I went and asked around about this Westerberg dude and was immediately taken in by the store’s staff like a recently released prisoner is taken in by a Baptist preacher. Apparently, Paul was quite the big deal. Over the course of a few months, I built up my CD collection with the Replacements catalog. By the following year, I was hooked. Of course, nowadays, my fandom would’ve come a lot sooner. Y’know, with the Internet and all.

  9. Is it weird to say that I grew up with the Replacements? My dad is a big fan, and played them a lot when I was a kid. I have this crystal clear memory of going on a car trip with him when I was in 4th or 5th grade, and he had put that ‘Mats on the car stereo, after a few songs my reaction was:

    “This band needs to decide if they wanna rock or not!”

    I guess I was probably into Weezer or Green Day at the time, whatever mid 90s kids loved, and the ‘Mats just weren’t cutting it in the rocking out department. Since then they’ve gone on to become one of my favorite bands. It’s funny how tastes change with age.

    Thanks for the review of this book, reminds me that I should pick up a copy for my dad.

  10. Strange, despite being on my radar for many years it was comparatively only recently that I really listened to them. Being too young for most of their active career hearing them was a revelation that provoked imagination and nostalgia, not nostalgia for their time, it wasn’t my time, but a deeply personal reflection on my own teenage years of playing in bands, hearing music wildly and urgently for that first time and staying up and playing out into the night with friends. Those years gradually fade away, certainly that unbounded urgency has, but The Replacements are one of those bands that soundtrack a whisky to one’s own and everyone else’s youthful, gig-going & pogoing days, a reminder of the importance of place and the moment in musical experience.

  11. I bought Hootenany after reading a review proclaiming these guys the living end. I was living on the beach fully immersed in SoCal skater punk and at first-listening Hootenany confused me more than anything. Kept pulling it out, though, usually hammered late-night and the spirit of the thing began to seep in. The band soon became my favorite, and years later, Don’t Tell a Soul became the great betrayal. Devoured this book recently and few players come out unscathed. Terrific read, but head-shakingly sad in spots.

  12. After graduating from college in L.A. I returned home to San Diego in the summer of 1985. Soon after I started to hear and read things about the Replacements. Still hadnt actually heard any of their songs but I was intrigued and went to see them at SDSU. I was blown away! Went and bought Tim which had just been released. Awesome album! Became a big fan and still am!

  13. I first came across the Replacements when the amount of references to the band and their music became simply unbearable to continue not listening. The final straw was reading the 33-1/3 book on Let it Be. Since then I’ve been listening to the Replacements just about every week and can’t help but hope that their influence stays strong and becomes even more obvious. The world needs more bands with this type of energy.

  14. I was first turned on to the ‘Mats by their song, “I’ll be You” in 1989 played on WNEW in New York. At the time I was really into REM and I read someplace that the members ‘Mats and REM were friends. That got me even more interested and I started exploring their back catalog. The Replacements/REM relationship and rivalry was detailed in Trouble Boys which quite simply was the best rock’n’roll bio I have ever read.

  15. MTV mid 80s, the Bastards of Young video with the close up of the stereo and speakers.

  16. Early 90’s: the video for Bastards of Young on MTV, probably on 120 Minutes. Blown away by the music and the non-video, but I remained unaware of the rest of their music until much later. I loved Westerberg’s Waitin’ for Somebody from the Singles soundtrack, which I recorded on a cassette from the radio. College in the early 2000’s: I delve into Tim and then Let It Be, and they become instant favorites, played more than almost anything else in my 5-disc stereo. The Replacements were one of my first tastes of music that was great but entirely shunned by mainstream radio, and I would soon discover just how much of that greatness was waiting to be discovered underground, in the record store, left of the dial.

  17. In the record shop, checking out the new singles – they were easier to steal. Hmm, these guys look like us…”I’m in Trouble” & “If Only You Were Lonely?” Sounds right up my alley…took it home (still have it, with the picture sleeve), I knew these guys were my band right as soon as I listened. They were just a bit older and spoke to everything I felt then. Many shows including once in the early days when we were invited in to the soundcheck by mistake and had a drink on their tab…can’t wait to read the book!

  18. I first heard the Replacements when I moved in with a friend at age 18. Hos older brother had shown the Replacements to him, and he was listening to Tim in his room. I remember listening along while I sat in our kitchen/living room and thinking “the drums are recorded goofy,” and “the guitars sound all chorus-y,” and really not enjoying it.
    A few years later I heard “Sixteen Blue” at a coffee shop I was working at and was blown away by how sad it was and how perfect the lyrics sounded to me. I was completely won over soon after and suddenly understood that the way the drums/guitars were recorded had absolutely nothing to do with the Replacements.

  19. I was listening to bands termed “Replacements-esque.” Then I listened to the Replacements. My life improved.

  20. _Tim_ was a must-have when it came out when I was in college — for anyone with my given name and anyone into “indie” music. I dutifully bought it and gave it a few listens, but it didn’t immediately strike me as amazing. When friends who worked at the radio station offered me a spot on the guest list to see the band at the Metro in Chicago in the fall of 1986, I went to have a good time and hang out. I’d heard about the shambolic performances, with snippets of covers and heaping portions of invective against the crowd, and I half expected and half wanted to see one of those. What I saw, instead, was a tight, mature (or maturing) band hit its stride and seriously kick out the jams. I knew virtually nothing about the band’s members, history, or dynamics, but from the first note to the last it was clear that Bob was in charge. It was his band, playing Paul’s songs. Everyone, including Paul, took his cues from Bob that night, and he ran a tight ship. Maybe Bob wasn’t as messed up as he was many or most other nights, or maybe the balance of chemicals in his system was just right, but I left the club that night with a burning desire to dig into their older records and the eager anticipation of seeing the band many times over in the years to come. When Bob was fired later that year, it was over for me. I know, I know, I know: without Paul’s songwriting and voice there was no band. But without Bob there was no magic, the magic derived from the tension between two geniuses of very different sorts. Paul’s focus was song craft and pop. Bob’s was spontaneity and rock. I went back and got the earlier records and still love them, but I never gave the post-Bob records much time. I know I’m probably missing some good songs, but I prefer not to tamper with the memory of that night.

  21. Came late to the Mats. Had heard about them but didn’t really hear them until Tim was released. A friend of mine played me Bastards and I was hooked. Immediately fell into their back catalog and couldn’t believe the riches. To say that I identified with both the characters in Paul’s songs as well as with the band would be an understatement.

  22. Well, it’s pretty easy for me. Reading a Rolling Stone magazine (Mick Jagger on the cover for She’s the Boss) and a review of “Let It Be.” Every word in that review told me I need to find this record ASAP. I did, and was a fan (understated) from then on.

    Bonus-the reviews right afterward in the same issue were for Zen Arcade and Double Nickels on the Dime. Any money I spent on Rolling Stone magazine was instantly worth its weight in gold.

  23. It was probably through my buddy Ross Shoemaker (maybe he rest in piece) that i first found out about the Replacements. Turns out he became their No.1 fan. He was responsible for that infamous tape ‘When The Sh*t Hits The Fans’. I saw the album Let It Be and chuckled to myself about the title. Bought it, loved it, loved them. Sorely underrated band. cj

  24. As a high school kid in Durham NC in the early 80s, we learned about The Replacements and, frankly, anything good in music from WXYC-Chapel Hill, the UNC college radio station. Back then, they were simply the most amazing, adventurous and musically ambitious radio station that could have possibly existed.

  25. Poindexter Records, Durham NC probably 88 or 89. They were near REM in the CD bins so I took a flyer on Pleased to Meet Me and loved it.

  26. First came across them in some review in the Baltimore City Paper. Recall that Paul was asked about the Minneapolis music scene and he commented that Bob & Prince were fishing buddies. Hmm. Picked up Tim & that was it. Didn’t see them til ’90. They played like they owned rock & roll – masterful. Farrar & Tweedy opened as Uncle Tupelo.

  27. I was born in 1980 and had 3 older siblings. Much of my early memories are of MTV and music my teenage siblings listened to. I would have been around 5 when the Bastards of Young video was on. I guess for me The Replacements where pretty much always there.

  28. It was the summer after I graduated high school. 30 years ago. One of my best friend’s older sister played us Tim. I was pleased to meet Tim.

  29. First heard the band when “Tim” came out. I was sitting in my car pulling up to go to church on a Sunday and Pete Fornatale’s “Mixed Bag” radio program played “Here Comes a Regular.” I was instantly hooked, bought the “Tim” cassette the next day. That album was played more than any other through my college days.

  30. I was a dj at the college radio station in 1985 and somebody recommended Let it Be to me. I played it over and over again. I saw them twice in Providence, RI. The first time they were brilliant. The second time they lived up to every stereotype that was associated with their live shows.

  31. My first serious boyfriend turned me on to them. Dug them primarily b/c of Westerberg’s lyrics. Around my 19th bday we got tickets to see them (All Shook Down tour) in this old movie theater in Albany, NY, that had an old pit where the orchestra would play. Some guy jumped into the pit, and was taken out. So then the band jumped into the pit. All got out but Westerberg, who asked, “Who wants to be my dance partner?” Woman next to me was going BATSHIT, so, in true Westerberg fashion, he chose me, the person next to her instead. Who knew a slow dance to “Nightclub Jitters” would turn a girl into a rabid fan? 🙂

  32. I was introduced to The Replacements by a friend and they absolutely blew my mind!! I’ve seen them last year at the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona. It was the first time the played here. Epic. Not the original line up of course but so many feelings…

  33. I was someone that never quite fit in at high school. Fortunately when I attended CCRI in the mid 80’s, I found there was someone like me at every high school. I found my “click” there. Although honestly, what I liked best about them was their knowledge of bands that until then, I had only heard of (remember; no internet, and if the radio didn’t play it, you didn’t hear it). I can still remember the specific albums I was exposed to at that time: Replacements – Tim, Husker Du – Flip Your Wig, & Minutemen – Three Way Tie For Last. I had finally found music that represented me (at least in my mind) and the sounds that still surround me today.

  34. Let It Be rolled into the college radio station I was DJing for. It was a fairly new record at the time. I looked over the titles and picked “Unsatisfied” to play on the air. That was the first Mats song I ever heard. After that there was no turning back.

  35. I was driving with a friend who popped “The Shit Hits the Fans” into the car’s cassette player. It was a noisy, chaotic, and perfect introduction to the band.

  36. The cool kids at my HS that had good taste in music in 1990 liked them. I was 16 and liked classic rock. First heard Dont Tell a Soul, then moved backward to earlier albums. I don’t know why I liked them, but I think it was the first music I heard that sounded like people I could know, not larger than life rock stars. Took a girl to see them in concert in 1991. We drank beer in the parking lot, and made out.

  37. I first heard “Unsatisfied” when my college roommate played it on our late night radio show. Went digging from there.

  38. Grew up in outstate Minnesota in the ’80s, oblivious to the band and the entire Minneapolis scene (except for Prince, because, duh). 1987, killing time in my high school library, reading the Star Tribune entertainment section, and on the front page is a story about this hard-drinking local band I’d never heard of, and if Pleased to Meet Me would be their breakthrough. Interested, I did the only thing you could do in outstate Minnesota to sample new bands: sent a penny to Columbia House and got 13 cassettes, of which PTMM was one. And that was that.

  39. I first heard of the Replacements when I was a freshman at The University of Minnesota in 1980. They played a benefit for the U of M ski club in the great hall at Coffman Union. When they came out for the 2nd set they were all naked, and were subsequently banned from the University FOREVER. Made a big impression!!!

  40. The Replacements had been on my radar for a year or two. Mostly due to their notoriety, but also because of my growing interest in the US indie scene(and some rare radio play of I Will Dare). It wasn’t until late 85 or so when I met my friend Matt, who became a lifelong friend and fellow music aficionado, that I actually got my hands on a record by them. Will never forget that day I put on Tim, and was blown away. Definitely one of those listens where you become an instant fan and plot out your next visit to record store to purchase their back catalog.

  41. By the cover of “Let it be”. As simple as that, pulled out the LP from a record bin and tough, this hast to be good. Hell knows ut was (is). Die hard fan for the eternity.

  42. Time of Transitioning from seeking out “under ground” music to recognizing just how good of music was in existence regionally (Midwest)…….Replacements came screaming into that position. Steve

  43. it was actually the song “Alex Chilton” that hooked me–a song about how he loved another guy’s song. i grew up in Chicago and heard they broke up onstage at Taste of Chicago on July 4, one by one, the roadies taking over their instruments and i had to find out more. i had yet to hear the brilliant Bob Stinton records yet.

  44. Like nearly all of my musical “discoveries” I got The Replacements backwards. fIREHOSE before Minutemen, Lou Reed (solo) before the Velvet Underground…. All Shook Down before anything else. Whether it was “band in name only” or not, that record is terrific and holds up. I still like it more than some of the other records that I eventually made my way through.

  45. A friend of mine left an old CD copy of Let it Be in my car during my senior year of high school. We were in a band and that CD perfectly soundtracked my summer between high school and college and a few trips from the east coast to the mid west. I later dug into their early material, which was well documented in original twin tone pressings at my college radiostation WRUV FM Burlington which I’ve hosted a weekly show for a few years.

  46. I was browsing in the bookstore at my university, and came across “Let It Be.” Loved the cover, loved the song titles, bought it and listened to it constantly for 6 months.

  47. I didn’t know about the band until the late ’90s. They were mentioned in a Chicago Tribune feature by Greg Kot, alongside some bands I knew and loved, but I never heard of the Replacements. The following week, I found an old copy of “Let It Be” at the library, and that became my introduction to them. It’s still one of my very favorite albums.

  48. In 1984, junior year of HS, I was given a Maxell tape with Let It Be on side A and Murmur on side B. Been in love with both bands ever since. Never got to see the Mats in those days, but I was lucky enough in my old age to see them three times on the reunion tour.

    A great book and a great review, by the way.

  49. coming up in the 80s, i was a little too young to pick up with the mats were throwing down, so aside from what i’d heard on the radio, my first real listening experiences were right here via AD, where i’ve collected a sizable amount of amazing tracks and am always looking for their vinyl when i can find it.

  50. I went through a period Beatled obsession, so a friend put Let It Be on in an attempt to annoy me. Instead it just blew me away. He then leant me his copy of Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life and the Replacements chapter was instantly a favourite. My wife and I played Favourite Thing at our wedding and everyone danced like drunken idiots. Seemed right

  51. I first heard the song “I Will Dare” while living in Detroit on a Canadian Alt Rock radio station in the summer of 1985, well after “Let It Be” came out. I remember looking for the album for six months but every time I went to buy the album they were always sold out and because, according the record store clerk at Schoolkids Records in Ann Arbor MI, Twin Tone records didn’t ship often enough for them to guarantee me a copy.

    In January 1986, while thumbing through a local record store I found a cassette of “Tim”. It wasn’t initially the album I was looking for but it was worth a $9 gamble. I listened to the first side of “Tim” at least 6 consecutive times before flipping to side two. Its the only cassette tape I’ve ever worn out.

    In November 1987, after buying the full catalog, including “When the Shit Hits the Fans” , I went to see them at Saint Andrews Hall in Detroit. I went to Smitty’s , the bar next door SAH, with a buddy of mine about an hour before the show. Three other people in the bar and who walks in, Paul and Tommy followed by Chris and Slim. I took the opportunity to buy the band their second round of drinks. After that my buddy and I went into St Andrews to see the band. The infamous “Bobby Stinson mask show”. That’s another story for another day.

  52. I came to know the band through hearing ‘Alex Chilton’ when I was in middle school and obsessing over that track for a while. Over time, as my musical tastes changed, I started to realize that all of these other songs that I loved were at some point covered by The Replacements. Two favorites include:

    The Only Ones “Another Girl Another Planet”
    James Burton “Love Lost”

  53. I first heard the song I Will Dare in the fall of my freshman year in high school. It was shown to me thru a novel about a disappeared girl in some sleepy town and the protagonist was a young fool much like myself. Now the girl who showed me the novel was a classmate I had in Spanish. Her name was Laura and she was gorgeous, curvy and Colombian. She was the alternative to everything that was deemed cool in my high school. She wore tight pencil skirts, black turtleneck sweaters, thick rimmed glasses that weren’t even her prescription….a woman straight from 1950s Paris. And in Miami a girl like that stood out from the drabness of the pop culture at the time.

    The novel had mentioned the song as one of the CDs that the girl plays for the boy in her bedroom. Laura had then made me a mix to coincide with the book and included some favorites of hers. Just like the Let It Be album, the mix she made for me started with I Will Dare. I would put that song on repeat throughout my friendship with her as we got to know each other. As the school year winded down and summer began we promised to see each other and go to the beach weekly.

    A week had into summer was when broke the news. Her father had gotten a job in San Antonio and she was heading out there with him and starting school there. I was floored. We promised to keep in touch, but friendships fade as we change and grow. I would listen to her mix here and there to listen to The Replacements till the CD was scratched up and worn out.

    I eventually got into their catalog and have been in love with the band ever since. Plus, they’re from Minneapolis and I’m there all the time since a lot of my extended family live there. I love knowing that they feel so local to me despite my being from Miami. I own a bootleg vinyl copy of a bunch of studio outtakes dating from 81″ that I got in a record shop in Amsterdam. I love the fact that I know exactly what spot in Burnsville, MN they talk about in the song Buck Hill. Plus all the reckless drinking and drug use holds dear to my heart, as I can gladly call myself a trouble boy just like them.

  54. Spin article in 80s re: the “MLPS Scene,” so started w/ then-current “Let it Be” before tracking down their earlier releases. “Tim” and “Pleased…” on release day, then just last week listened to the “Shit Hits the Fans” boot w/ blasted covers of Jackson 5, Skynyrd and U2…road-trip recommended!

  55. First heard about the Mats from “Our Band Could Be Your Life” when I was probably about 16 years old. Not a super auspicious introduction, but listening to “Unsatisfied” one particular morning while I was driving to high school is an experience I will never forget.

  56. I was living in Elon College, NC, in 1984 and was making a record run to The Record Exchange on Tate Street in Greensboro. A friend asked me to look for “Let It Be,” by a group called The Replacements. I found it, thought it looked interesting, so I bought two copies.

    I eventually saw the band three times, in the post-Bob Stinson stage and was never disappointed.

    Nice write-up on “Trouble Boys.” You’ve done well, “j neas.”

  57. I first became aware of the ‘Mats when I stumbled into a local record store/head shop in St. Paul Minnesota. I went looking for some Springsteen bootlegs that this store was known to stock on the sly. As I was browsing around getting used to the usual smell of incense and and dusty vinyl, I noticed 4 non-descript scruffy guys perched on a roof peering out of the record bins. I picked it up, glanced at the back cover and smiled when I read some of the song titles. The clerk in between selling the local burnouts bongs, noticed me and said “You gotta pick that up!” I forgot about Springsteen and walked out with the Replacements. My musical life has pretty much never been the same.

  58. I grew up in Minnesota and still live here. My dad loved The Replacements and got me into them. I was too young to see them in their heyday (I’m 26 now), but I saw a couple of their reunion shows and they were great. My dad saw them multiple times in the Entry with Husker Du and countless other bands. Paul Westerberg’s songwriting has had a profound effect on my life and The Mats are the greatest rock n’ roll band of all time.

  59. A friend’s friend used to write for rolling stone. He told us about them and let us know when they were in town

  60. I first heard them when they played at my High School. I happened to be right next to the assistant principal when they opened with Fuck School. That was a good night.

  61. I heard Let It Be tracks (I Will Dare and Unsatisfied) previewed on CBC Late Night radio show Night Lines in 1984. I taped it as the announcer said Peter Buck was on it. Instantly sold on them..

  62. first heard “Androgynous” on a radio show late at night and naturally was intrigued, looked into them after that,
    AD has done nothing but increase my intrigue and desire to learn, know, and hear of and about this band.. so thank you!!

  63. In 2007, when I was seventeen, I fell hard for a gal in the class ahead of me. We had gotten together for a short while and then the thing fell apart. Me being the pitiful lad I was, kept at her like a lap dog and she let me. We made plans to get together one night (one of many nights where plans were made and left) and I hit up the ole best buy store during the day to browse the CD racks. I came home that night with Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was? The Best of the Replacements. So of course that meant that when she inevitably bailed on the night, I instead spent it hearing “Within Your Reach,” “Answering Machine,” “Unsatisfied,” “Alex Chilton,” and so on, for the very first time. Hell, when you look at it that way, I guess it really wasn’t that bad of a night. Worked out pretty alright.


  64. I heard the Replacements left of the dial on 91.3FM WTSR (Ewing New Jersey’s Trenton State College radio station) listening to Randy Now’s “The Other Side” show Wednesday night’s during my teen years in the early 80’s. Randy would play “Color Me Impressed” every week.
    I hear Randy even gets a mention in the book.

  65. First came to know the ‘Mats when I read Michael Azerrad’s excellent book Our Band Could Be Your Life during my college years. The immaculately-written stories of their exploits drove me to listen to Tim. Then I listened to Let It Be and was quickly hooked on that beautifully sloppy sound.

  66. I was 10 years old when Sorry, Ma came out. I lived in St. Paul, MN, and my older brother was into really good music. I saw an ad in one of his Trouser Press magazines for the record. It said Singer Songwriter, but Singer was crossed out and replaced with Screamer. I was intrigued and asked my brother to drive me to Northern Lights music store–the best record store on the planet ever–where I bought Sorry, Ma. To be honest, I didn’t get it at first. I think I was too young. But I picked it up again maybe a year later, and it all came together. That was the start!

  67. Living in St. Paul, we would drive over to MNPLS to see the Replacements (someone take the wheel). An early show in addition to the Longhorn shows was at a bar on the south side of MNPLS, north of Lake St. a few blocks. Our winter ritual was to peel off heavy coats in the car and hustle into the bar in our heavy flannel shirts or hooded sweatshirts. I think a liquor store was next store to the bar or on the corner. Loud and out of control. We would drive home across the Lake St. bridge, our ears ringing in the still dark night. In August 81 I moved to Cleveland and was blown away the next month to discover a promo copy of Sorry Ma in the rack of a used record store in Cleveland Hts. It was a sign. All things start and end with the Replacements.

  68. …heard “Alex Chilton” on a great Belgian radio station and was sold, been following them (and Paul Westerberg) from then on…

  69. A friend loaned me copies of Pleased To Meet Me and Tim. I had requested the loan of a couple of Tom Waits albums and he decided that I needed to hear the Replacements for reasons I still can’t fathom (he was kind of weird) I listened more out of an impulse to be polite than because I was interested. I was shocked at how good this band that I had never heard of were. Years later I would have the opportunity to meet both Paul and Tommy on respective solo tours. Both were as eccentric as would be expected but it was great getting to meet them.

  70. I had friends who were listening to Let It Be, but I wasn’t quite cool enough. I caught on though with Tim.

  71. An interview with REM in Creem around ’84 or ’85 gushed about the live splendor of the (not overly drunken) Replacements. I picked up a cassette of Let it Be soon after in a chain record store at the Richland Mall (that’s Richland, PA) and, popping it into my fake Walkman, found my fate sealed.

  72. I used to listen to a podcast called The Rock n’ Roll Geek Show with Michael Butler (former bassist for Exodus, among other bands). Introduced me to a lot of great music. I remember there was a live podcast and I was in the live chat and the ‘Mats came up and Michael said “Ben, you have to listen to the ‘Mats.” So the next day, I was doing homework (I was in middle school, 12/13 I think), I put on Let It Be on my computer and sat at a nearby table to do my work. When I used to put on music like that when I worked, whenever I song would especially catch my ear I’d go check what the song title was and then go back to working.

    I interrupted my work to check the song for the first 5 songs of Let It Be, until I gave up and just listened to the whole album. Even though now I think Tim holds up a little better, Let It Be will always be my favorite. I had an experience similar to what Colin Meloy described in his 33 1/3 book: I remember listening to “Sixteen Blue” at age 13 and lying in bed thinking “How could it get worse?!”

    Bob Stinson’s guitar is still my favorite sound in the world.

  73. I’m looking forward to reading the book! I’ve been a fan of The Replacements for many years, but I discovered them after they signed to Sire Records. Rolling Stone published their annual “Hot” issue. They selected “the ‘mats” as their “hot college band” or some other dubious honor. Whatever was their actual designated award, the article compelled me to purchase “Tim”, and I fell head over heels. The Replacements rocked (“Bastards of Young”). They popped (“Kiss Me on the Bus”). They wrote a damn fine barroom ballad (“Here Comes a Regular”). And Paul Westerberg playfully arranged his lyrics – “pretty girl keep growing up, playing make up, wearing guitar” (Left of the Dial), “Bring your own lampshade, somewhere there’s a party” (Swinging Party). Paul’s lyrics champion the lovable (and self deprecating) romantic loser “hold my life because I just might lose it”(Hold My Life), “if being strong’s your kind then I need help here with this feather” (one more nugget from Swinging Party). AND all of this was contained on just one lp! They put out great albums before “Tim” and they released (at least) one other great album post-Tim.

    I’ve said a lot. Too much probably, but I’ll close by saying that the ‘mats made me want to listen to Husker Du (“Something to Du”) & Soul Asylum (“Kids Don’t Follow”). Two other great bands! And I made the pilgrimage to Minneapolis (from North Carolina) to see the “Let it Be” house, the Oar Folkjokeopus, the Blackberry Way Studio, the CC Club, Twin Tone Records , and so on and so on….

  74. In the early ’90s, I was too young to have caught the ‘Mats in their glory, or even in their ingloriousness. So my first real palm-to-forehead moment with (the shadow of) the ‘Mats was Paul Westerberg’s contributions to the ‘Singles’ soundtrack and then first few solo records. It was only then did I go backwards to go forwards.

  75. I read about the “Mats before I ever heard them. When I finally had the pleasure it was on a local college station – a Catholic institution – that was shut down by the Jesuits, who reverted the format back to classical music. Anyway, the first thing I heard was “Can’t Hardly Wait”. Of course, then there was the usage of “Within Your Reach” in the film “Say Anything”…

  76. My college roommate freshman year had Stink and and then got Let It Be when it came out, and I was hooked. I saw them that December, they played a series of covers and a few originals, hardly anything to completion, Paul was disgusted (with the band, or with himself?) and sat down at the back and refused to play, and Bob got up and sang a smoking 3-minute version of Roundabout. Then a fight broke out between a friend (roadie?) of theirs and the club bouncer and the band put down their instruments and asked if anyone else wanted to play, when half a dozen replacement Replacements took the stage, the club cut off the PA. When they returned six months later, it was 180 degrees different, roaring, kick-ass rock and roll.

  77. I guess my dad liked the Replacements back in the 80s and he had Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased to Meet Me. I guess all it took to get me to listen to them was reading somewhere on the internet that Peter Buck almost worked on Let It Be and that timeless album cover. The different expressions, the casual poses, the punk haircuts… All of it invited me into a world where noise and melody melded into something greater than either one of them, where humor, angst and love meet with power pop, glam, and punk and come out sounding like everything that a teenager feels. Tim and Pleased to Meet Me came later for me, but Let It Be instantly became one of my favorite albums ever.

  78. While in college, I read about the ‘mats in Twin Cities Reader and City Pages. I eventually picked up Hootenanny, and then Stink, then Sorry Ma and all the others. A Replacements show in Grand Forks, ND, in which Bob Stinson wore my friend Nancy’s dress remains among my all time favorite shows.

  79. I was in college in the early eighties and discovered Let It Be and Tim at about the time Tim was released. Those records changed my life. I never saw the Mats live until the 2015 reunion. But even that was great!

  80. Not having that cool older brother I found the Replacements later in life. After growing out of the endless monotony that was 90’s hardcore the Replacements were punk enough for me at the time, but it was their foray into other genres kept me interested. They are still the band that I want to be in haha! Thanks for the post, I’m excited to read the book.

  81. In the Alternative tape section of the record store, the Replacements where always right underneath R.E.M. After I finished buying all the R.E.M. tapes, I took a chance on Pleased to Meet Me. It remains one of my favorite albums to this day.

  82. A friend had acquired a 2nd gen cassette copy of The Shit Hits the Fans from someone who worked in a record shop. Couldn’t believe a band would release such a drunken ridiculous performance and then slowly realized there was something totally cool about it. From then on I was a true believer.

  83. First heard “I Will Dare” on a Friday night on WXRT the week it came out on 12 inch. A typical Friday night then was either me or my buddy Bob coming to my house after work with beer or wine smuggled from our jobs and waiting for the girls to come over. A basement full of 4 or 5 teenagers cranking up the tunes and drinking what we could get our hands on, never able to smuggle enough to get hammered. But once “I will Dare” came on, time stood still for me. “I think I’ve just heard the greatest fucking song in the fucking history of the world.” Stopped me dead in my tracks, and I forgot everything else that happened until I could secure that record a couple weeks later.

  84. Robert Christgau’s review of “Sorry Ma” put the band on my radar, but I couldn’t find a record until “Let It Be” hit the racks. Then things got serious

  85. I came to know the Replacements the “wrong” way. At least, I expect most diehard fans would think that. Because, it was “All Shook Down” that rattled my cage. The album that was a disappointment to many, the album that found the band on its last legs — years down the road from the reckless abandon of “Let It Be”, the album that was written off as a Westerberg solo album in all but name. Yet, from the tongue-in-cheek reference to Elvis’ “All Shook Up” and the gloriously ragged and bleakly humorous cover art, to rockers “Bent Out of Shape” and “My Little Problem”, and poppier fare like “When it Began”, to me it was a bright and ballsy collection. I could never understand why people put the album down. Curiosity got me looking back further, and, as I explored each of the previous albums it was like uncovering a small gold mine at each turn. I can think of no other band who walked the line between raw and tender, balanced and unhinged, so well.

    Years later, I saw Slim Dunlap open for the band Blue Mountain at a small club in Florida. It was a great experience listening to him tell tales of the Replacements days to a group of us out on the patio before the show. Another memory to mix in with the memories I’ve attached to so many Replacements songs.

  86. Heard them first from a good friend. Was making a compilation and he mentioned to me that I should add ‘Johnny’s Gonna Die’. I’ve been digging them ever since.

  87. I knew about the Replacements since I was an avid reader of Spin Magazine in the 80’s. I bought the cassette of “Tim” the day it came out and played it A LOT. When they came through Chicago to play the Metro in January of 1986, it was my first time in the club. I was 15 and dressed in my paisley shirt and skinny tie (knowing nothing about how to dress for a show at that time). My friend and I stood in the middle of the floor as they got onstage. They broke into “Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out” and the place EXPLODED. Mosh pit, people flying everywhere, bouncing… and I was terrified. My friend and I both ran up to the balcony, squeezed in between some people somehow and THAT was my intro to the band. Simply amazing. I got to see them one more time with Bob later that year at the Vic for a more, er, traditional Mats show – long, fun, drunken, and RIGHT.

  88. While I came a bit late to the party, I can still pinpoint the exact moment in time when the Replacements took possession of my soul. It was while driving on a bridge over the Connecticut River shortly after the release of Don’t Tell a Soul. Pal Scott popped in the cassette and said, “You have GOT to hear this. You will love.” The opening chords of “Talent Show” came on. I was hooked, literally, within seconds. The cool, mid-tempo strum. That raspy voice and the sheer poetry behind the words (“We ain’t much to look at so, close your eyes here we go”), everything. It is the one and only time in my life I can literally remember the exact moment I first heard a band that would change me forever. From there I bought and collected everything they did, saw them a few times at the tail end of their career (including of hell of a great show at the Paramount in Springfield, MA in February 1991) and they became my band, now and forever. But the courtship was swift and thunderous. That moment in that car, tooling across the river, still stays with me. And changed everything.

  89. I found out about the Mats when my older brother threw me a cassette tape and transformed my mind. My brother was an ass but I will always look fondly on him for the music he helped me discover and the Mats was definitely one of the biggest finds.

  90. I saw them low, I saw them high
    from Let it Be on. Sometimes the joke was on the venue, sometimes the joke was on the audience. Always memorable, sometimes jaw droppingly amazing
    It was never the same w/o Bob. I remember being on a date and dropping her off and not really waiting to be asked in, when I realized that I was missing their SNL appearance
    I kind of barged and took over the den. After she saw how they were, and therefore I must be for caring about them, we made out.

  91. When I was 15 or 16, I started to explore music beyond Top 40, began reading Spin and listening to WHFS, the great DC radio station. That was around the time “Pleased to Meet Me” came out. I listened to it incessantly and got most of their other recordings. Still listening to them almost 30 years later.

  92. My good friend David Barbe (later bass player in Sugar with Bob Mould) turned me on to Let It Be as a college kid — it didn’t hurt that our homeboy Peter Buck played the guitar solo on “I Will Dare”), and from there I was a hardcore ‘Mats fan, and was lucky enough to see them 3-4 times before they parted ways (the first time). Surely on the great bands of the last 35 years. I started the book last night.

  93. I always knew that the older kids loved The Replacements when I was growing up. So way back in the early days of landline AOL dial-up Internet, I read all about them and got turned on to Paul Westerberg’s solo stuff too. I remember thinking “bastards of young” was the coolest song title ever!

  94. In September of 1984, on the way back to the Jersey shore after a particularly inebriated excursion to a Bruce Springsteen concert in Philly, I took my best friend Joe’s copy of Rolling Stone magazine from his bedroom before he drove me the bus station. On the bus ride back, I read the magazine cover to cover. The 5 star review of Let It Be was in that issue, and I was compelled to seek out the album. It was undoubtedly a “watershed moment.”

  95. As a young punk rock fan in the 90s, I’d heard their name mentioned a bunch but I was cheap/poor and pretty much only bought used CDs, meaning I never heard the Replacements because who would sell their Replacements CDs? Until one day I stumbled upon The Shit Hits The Fan cassette in a used bin. It’s simultaneously the best and worst possible introduction to the band, but it was fascinating enough for me to pony up the money for Let It Be, and I’ve been obsessed ever since.

  96. The ‘Mats first came into my life after they’d imploded. While friends of mine were oohing and ahhing over the globally aware and politically charged U2, I was more interested in a band that was singing about shit I was going through, feelings that I was feeling about life, growing up, relationships, being alone, being misunderstood and being afraid about how to handle it all. That band was the Replacements and they’ve been my Beatles or Rolling Stones or whatever since the early 90’s. I wish I knew of them earlier–I wish I’d been able to see them live–or maybe they’re even more captivating to me because I can’t and never did.

  97. The revolving alternative stations in Mpls played “Alex Chilton” so much that there’s a good bet that was my first exposure. But mostly, I remember summer jobs listening to Tim and Let It Be on repeat, then going away to college to realize the band didn’t register for most other 18 year olds. It’s a constant chicken/egg thing for me – did I simply hear them a lot at an impressionable age, or is a Minnesota boy more hardwired to like them?

  98. Weird. 1989. 15 years old, just getting into cool music. Coming home buzzed from some sort of teenage excitement, most likely a 6 pack of becks drunk alfresco in the park. TV on, in hope that there may be something to stimulate my ossified braincells. This being 80s Britain, we have a choice of exactly 2 channels that broadcast at this ungodly hour. International Rock Awards? That’ll do…except most of it won’t. My memory is pretty sketchy but it seemed like a parade of has beens, never heard ofs & general WTFs (Tin Machine). Put me off Bowie for years.

    I was slowly losing the fight with unconsciousness when some scruffy sort intones ‘What the hell we doing here?’ Replacements launch into Talent Show, wake up with a start, good god that’s the stuff! Sloppy, badly mixed but what a contrast to the rest of the snoozefest. I was hooked. I was even more delighted to discover my local record shop had the mid period vinyl reduced when I journeyed there next week to investigate further. Love the internet but miss the joy of totally accidental discovery!

  99. The Replacements came to me through my friend Bill, an eighties punk encyclopedia. He gave me Tim on cassette. I told him I liked it. He said I could keep it because he had already got it on CD. He then let me listen to Pleased to Meet Me and said, “You’re ready for this now.” He handed it to me like was the answer to life, the universe, and everything and, you know, it was.

  100. I disliked them for a long time….the things i did hear were based around their behavior and antics and i did them (and myself) a disservice by letting that tell me the story. It was just 2 years ago that I got a deal on their studio albums box set (the cheap poor sounding version for $25) from Amazon after hearing them perform Alex Chilton on a late night show and it just clicked. Strangely enough, i wasn’t mature enough musically to appreciate their immaturity.

    Joel Schneider

  101. Started with Westerberg songs from the Singles soundtrack and worked my way back to Sorry, Ma.

  102. I heard Westerberg on the Singles soundtrack in high school…wasn’t aware of the back history. Dated a twin in college and her sister had a bunch of Replacement albums on cassette and I was immediately hooked. Being a latch key kid into adult hood I could always relate to the bands tales. I became fascinated with Westerberg’s solo career and not only is he one of the best songwriters of the time but he could tell a story or weave a lost romance like no other. The Stereo/Mono album is a particular highlight and the first time I saw Paul live. The I Don’t Care Rock….thanks Aquarium for this article the book is a must read.

  103. I heard Westerberg on the Singles soundtrack in high school…wasn’t aware of the back history. Dated a twin in college and her sister had a bunch of Replacement albums on cassette and I was immediately hooked. Being a latch key kid and into adult hood drinkerI could always relate to the bands tales. I became fascinated with Westerberg’s solo career and not only is he one of the best songwriters of the time but he could tell a story or weave a lost romance like no other. The Stereo/Mono album is a particular highlight and the first time I saw Paul live. The I Don’t Cares rock….thanks Aquarium for this article the book is a must read.

  104. I was reading a UNCUT magazine at Borders when I used to work there. It had an article on Let It Be, how great of an album it was. I bought it soon after, and loved it along with the rest of their albums.

  105. So excited to read this book! My story: my uncle Bob made me a tape of “Tim” when it came out, and it was my soundtrack to a summer of yardwork so I didnt have to rely on Connecticut radio (all Bruce all the time as I recall). I planned to try to see them on that tour, but the Tim tour was cut short because Paul injured himself falling off the stage somewhere. Am I remembering that right? A summer or two later and I saw the amazing show at Beacon Theater which felt like it was supposed to be a ‘coming out’ for a band on the cusp of stardom. (Big Jon Pareles article in the NY Times the weekend prior.) But the show started with a drunken chase onto the stage ending with Paul tackling Tommy, or maybe vice versa, and before too long, the crowd was booing the best show I ever saw. Maybe in retrospect I shouldnt have celebrated the drunk and self-destructive Mats who didn’t seem to know the lyrics of their own songs. But it was so shockingly different from all the Rock & Roll (TM) business of the time — I found the whole thing to be total revelation and I just fell in love forever.

  106. Read the book and loved it. I first heard the Mats when my best friend and college roommate slipped me a mixtape in the early 90s. I still remember the first song was “Merry Go Round,” the second was “Unsatisfied,” and the third was “Alex Chilton.” I was hooked permanently. Wore out that tape and then went through album by album to hear everything else. For the me, the Mats discography puts me right back at 821 Lowerline in New Orleans, up and down the streetcar at St. Charles Avenue, and work in the French Quarter.

    Since we were too young to catch them in their heyday, some months ago, he and I caught the reunion show at the Masonic in SF. We loved every second of it. Paul coming out of the tent onstage to play “My Boy Lollipop” was the best.

  107. I discovered the Mats through my good friends Trey Batson and Glenn Graham (later to drum with Blind Melon) in the late 80s in Starkville, MS. Along with other discoveries such as fIREHOSE and the Meat Puppets they became the soundtrack for my college years and helped wean me off of only listening to classic rock and 80s hair metal. I remember seeing them on SNL (I honestly can’t remember if it was live or on a VHS recording) and thinking they were the most unhinged band I had ever seen, and loved them for it.

  108. I first heard The Replacements when I bought a copy of Tim at the time of it’s release at my college record store. I had come to them via their association, as part of the Minneapolis scene, with Hüsker Dü, who I’d discovered earlier that year. All these years later, they’re still one of my favorite bands, but also one of the most formative in regards to my obsession with music. I’d never heard another voice like Westerberg’s (and still find it unequalled) with its rawness and ability to move from brazen rock swagger to heartbreaking emotion that cut right to your core, sometimes on back to back songs. One of the best shows I ever saw was The Replacements at Trax nightclub in Charlottesville, Va on the Pleased to Meet Me your. The band was far from drunk and disorderly that night, instead they were the epitome of great rock and roll. Earlier that day, they participated in a meet and greet type thing at that same college record store where I’d bought Tim. I can vividly recall meeting them – Westerberg was wearing a mail carrier’s shirt – and getting them to sign a copy of my Hootenanny cassette. I still have it and still smile at what Paul wrote – “When we was good.”

  109. Wow! the Replacements!. the 80s. the town pump in Vancouver, hammered, playing pool with my friends Jo, D and the REPLACEMENTS before they went on! LET IT BE was my punk album. The replacements were my punk band. I wasn’t really punk guy though. It was more Young and Stills and the Allman Bros. They were melodic chaotic lyrical punk and we were FANS! am in my 50s now so memories fade. I saw 3 or 4 times?.

  110. Fortunate to be in deep adolescent torment at the time Pleased to Meet Me came out – midway through high school. Trying to find some sense of identity — going to see AC/DC, Night Ranger, the Grateful Dead and Green River in the same year. Then learning about the the scruffy, shambling, devastating mess of the Replacements from the cool older kids. Immediately snared by the opening riff of Alex Chilton. Let it Be songs were on every mixtape made for several years. Never got to see them in the day — just reunion shows later– but heard the legends from older friends who drove all the way to Seattle to see the Mats play a show underneath the stage. The perfect soundtrack to that time in my life– helping me develop a mix of yearning for meaning and connection with the defense of a cool cynicism. More than that of any other band, I can’t separate their music from my own growth and sense of self as I went from my teenage years into my 20s.

  111. The first time I saw the Mats was at the Exit/In in Nashville, February 4 1984, at an event called the Alternative Jam, which was some kind of response to Charlie Daniels’ Volunteer Jam. The other bands on the bill were In Pursuit and Guadalcanal Diary, and I believe someone else. Bob was in a skirt and Warner Hodges from the Scorchers joined them for a couple of songs. At one point Paul asked for the lights to be turned up because he had a big pimple on his face. I fell in love with the band for life when they played Unsatisfied, which had not yet been released. The Replacements took an idea about adapting to a world that wasn’t set up to be particularly friendly to you and distilled that idea down into a four-piece band.

  112. When I turned 14, I asked to get a turntable for my birthday. My parents surprised me by not only getting me a record player, they also donated to me their entire album collection. Luckily, my dad had some great taste. Having grown up in LA, going to X. Weirdos and Germs shows, his fondness for punk and hardcore music influenced his record collection, and before long he heard the influence of SSTers Husker Du, via the 2xLP Zen Arcade, which would go on to influence one of my favrorite albums of all time, Double Nickels on the Dime by the Minutemen. Later, the other of the Twin Cities’ most seminal punk rockers, the Replacements worked their way into my father’s collection.

    The first night I got the turntable, I spent hours flipping through his old albums. The Falls’ “Live at the Salem With Trials,” and The ‘Mats “Tim.” I’ll never forget, for the rest of my life, the feeling I got when I first heard “Bastards of Young.” My acne-faces, loner, bullied person that I was found a sound, a goddamn noise that expressed in beautiful agreement what I felt like on the inside. I never looked back. The Replacements have been my favorite band ever since.

  113. My dad gave me “Tim” for Christmas once. I was too young to really appreciate it fully, but I really liked Here Comes a Regular.


  114. I first discovered the Replacements in high school when ny friend Jon gave me a copy of Pleased To Meet Me on tape. I must have listened to that cassette thousands of times.

    They are my favorite band of all time. I am lucky to have seen them perform live on the East Coast during the 80s and 90s, and saw them again when they played in Forrest Hills. I literally planned an entire vacation around that concert.

  115. It was my freshman year in college at UW-Madison when I finally got to hearing them. Growing up in the Minneapolis suburbs, I probably heard their songs on the radio (The Current, KQRS) and in passing with bands like Husker Du or The Jayhawks, but they didn’t register for me until I started to DJ at my campus radio station WSUM FM. In our CD library, they had a promotional copy of All For Nothing/Nothing For All and I distinctly remember falling in love with the version of “Birthday Gal” that is featured on it.

    From there, I went home and bought Let It Be at Cheapo Discs in St. Paul. The rest is history for me and The ‘Mats.

  116. I first got to know the ‘mats when a new friend played Pleased to Meet Me for me – it was an instant connection to a sound I felt like I’d always known. It was a foregone conclusion that I’d be getting all the rest of the albums after that.

  117. I’d heard the Mats on the radio a little during college in the ’80s but only really discovered that they were the greatest band alive a year or so after graduation. I moved into a house with a couple of guys in Atlanta who were in a band. They had a giant CD collection, including pretty much everything from the Replacements. I dove in, and their ramshackle noise and attitude and asskickage and heart changed my life.

    25+ years and a million other bands on, they’ve never slipped a notch from my #1 favourite band. And I’m still engaged to marry Paul. Any day now. As soon as we, y’know, meet & stuff.

  118. Had a friend that was a pal of Lucky, then drummer in the Circle Jerks, and hooked me up to see them play at Duffy’s (at the corner of 27th St and 27th Ave. S) in south Mpls.

    Think it was May or June ’82.

    Got there real early and saw these kids open for them and was blown away. Literally a life altering experience.

    Didn’t miss a show the rest of the time I lived in the cities.

    Some of the best times ever. Goofy’s Upper Deck was my favorite place to see them.

  119. Honestly, I can’t remember. I was going through a rough patch during my teenagehood and music was one of the things that helped me get through it. Somehow, some way, The Replacements fell into my life. They helped proved that sometimes imperfection can be perfection and true rock and roll. Luckily I got to see them live for the first time (and possibly last time) last year and it was one of the greatest moments of my life. Not only because they’re ‘that band’ to me but also because it helped me realise I’ve come a long way since my rough patch. Mon The Mats.

  120. My first introduction to The Replacements was “Tim” . My college roommate ‘s brother seen this album in a record store and he really liked the cover of the album and thought he would give it a listen with us . From the opening song ” Hold my life ” all our faces just lit up with amazement. From that moment on we all became obsessed with The Replacements . Luckily the band was playing at The Newport in Columbus, Ohio the next few weeks and a group of us decided to go on an adventure . I remember getting in front of the venue and started walking around when when of my friends made a comment on a stranger walking by drinking a beer with tattered clothes . My friend Nick replied holy sh*t that was Bob Stinson . Wow ! The night was just starting to warm up and the beers were flowing . We entered the venue and were treated to a life changing event for all my friends The Mat’s were on FIRE !! They all had paint splatter over all their clothes and they played their godddamn hearts out for everybody . We got sucked in and danced , sang our asses off . We all left that night changed men and forever Replacements fans . I’ll never forget how much that night meant to us .

  121. knew this guy Steve in college. he had a black les paul copy and would play his rhythm parts opening and muting the strings against the frets, getting this on/off thing i had no idea about. i said, what is that, and he says thats how the replacements play. cool with me. we made a band called the bedwetters and i began my lessons westerberg. eventually moved to alaska and lived way way out in the woods. my gf at the time mailed me please to meet me and don’t tell a soul. basically saved my life and sanity. i grew up on the mississippi river down from them and live in seattle for the last 25 years. saw them play for a crowd of old f*ckers like me and a bunch of new, hipper than thou amazonians at bumbershoot. bought tix to the kick off tour at the paramount and wished they wouldn’t have blown up. sixteen blue has the best guitar solo in the world.

  122. In high school my friends and I were very into REM. A buddy learned that Pete Buck played on a Replacements song so he bought their then-current album (Pleased to Meet Me). We all went nuts over it – I had a cassette with Tim on one side and PTMM on the other and nearly wore it out. Got the rest of the tapes (including Boink!) and they instantly became my favorite band.

  123. I must have been 17 years old, when a friend of mine made me a tape of “Pleased to meet me”. I loved I.O.U. but hated the rest. I was into punk rock only at that time. Years later another friend gave me a copy of “Sorry Ma…” for my birthday. This one I liked from start to finish. I bought all the other releases the following years. And now I ask myself, how i could hate “Alex Chilton”?

  124. I was 15 in 1984 and we used to go to the record stores every Friday night. Having just moved to this new suburb, I quickly made a pair of friends who had similar blossoming musical taste. We each seemed to have U2 and Big Country in our collections, but ’84 changed everything. One particular Rolling Stone review covered the burgeoning American Indie scene and set all of us on fire. Within that review: Husker Du-Zen Arcade, Minutemen-Double Nickels on a Dime and the non SST item, Let it Be. When that one hit the tape deck in my friend’s silver pickup, it was like nothing we had ever experienced before. You know that scene in Almost Famous where she tells him if you light a candle and listen to Tommy-your future is revealed? That is the nearest comparison. Listening to you (Mr. Westerberg) I could see the future of going to punk rock shows, debauchery at a nearby college, hours of angst-ridden questions discussed into the night moving from girls driveways, to their privacy-deprived dorm rooms, to darkened shotgun houses turned into apartments; moving from playing “Stairway” at some back room guitar session getting away from the party to the chiming chords that open the majestic “Unsatisfied.” I carried this tape with me everywhere. The night before I turned 21 in a fit of rage against the dying light of my diminishing childhood-I burned it in effigy as a sacrifice and in thanks for all it brought me. Then I went out and bought a brand new one.

  125. I always thought ‘Don’t Tell a Soul’ and ‘All Shook Down’ were pretty good albums. Glad I got to see that last tour in 2014, or whenever, always been a fan…

  126. There was a year-end list in the old Tower Records magazine. The writer said that one of the only two albums that sounded like rock and roll to him was “Pleased to Meet Me” (the other was whatever Peter Wolf’s 1987 album was). I immediately went out and bought PTMM. Still one of my all-time favorite albums.

  127. I found out about the band my first year of college. I thought I knew a lot about music, but I was mainly following alternative music coming out of the UK. I became friends with some drinkers at the end of the hall and one of them played me a Mats record. I remember how funny some of the songs were, yet they weren’t straight up parodies. I think the first song I heard might have been “Treatment Bound.” From there on in, I devoured their catalog. Love the band and so glad I got to see them on the reunion tour.

  128. I’ve been a ‘mats fan since the mid 80’s When I asked Paul Westetberg to sign a bootleg concert I had on vinyl, he wrote ” no” on it then told me that I have his permission to steal any Replacements bootleg I might find because the money from them goes to drug dealers and terrorists. This was long before 9-11, come to find out he was right. Years later, on the reunion tour, I showed him the signed bootleg and he hugged saying he was sorry he was right. Love that guy and the rest of the band.

  129. I was in High School when the Singles soundtrack came out and was obsessed with the two Westerberg songs. Though I was a fan of The Replacements song Within your reach from the Say Anything soundtrack, I hadn’t made the connection yet until my older brother heard me blasting Dyslexic heart and said he loved The Replacements. He told me to get Pleased To Meet Me and I was hooked! He also told me the line in Alex Chilton was “never traveled faaaar without a Letter AHAHHH!!”…

  130. In the late ’80s, when I was in junior high, my friend Lauren at summer camp had a tape of _Let It Be_. I thought they looked so cool sitting on the roof and was impressed with their audacity (to a 13 year old) for writing songs with names like “Gary’s Got a Boner.” Now I see different things to like in _Let It Be_, but I still love the ‘Mats.

  131. While in college in Norfolk, Virginia, back in the 80s, I had the good fortune of finding a great indy record store staffed by knowledgeable people who gave me a great education. The Replacements rank among the many excellent bands and solo artists they turned me on to.

  132. I first read about them in 1984 probably in Creem or Rolling Stone. Bought Let it Be then the rest of the Twin Tone stuff. They were my favorite band from then on. It was fun being a high school kid trying to turn my friends on to The Replacements. Saw them on the Pleased to Meet Me tour and got all their autographs when they were getting off the tour bus behind the venue. 30 years later they’re still my favorite band of all time!

  133. I read about the ‘Mats before I heard them, in _Spin_, _Flipside_, and _Rolling Stone_. I got _Tim_ for Christmas in 1985, and I immediately took my Christmas money and bought _Sorry, Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash_, _Stink_, Hootenanny_, and _Let It Be. It’s been all downhill from there.

  134. Grew up in Mpls and ON The Replacements! Bought, “Sorry, Ma…” as a kid and my world has never been the same since.

  135. I was aware of the Replacements thru reading music magazines. Always great reviews but had never heard them. It was the 80’s, no iTunes, no way to preview them. I was working in a pizza parlor and a co-worker had bought Pleased To Meet Me. I listened once, didn’t grab me at first. But, some of the tunes ear wormed their way into my brain and I gave the album a second listen. Hooked from then on. Next bought Tim and listened non-stop. Even cut a ski trip short so I could come home and listen to the album. Been a constant in my life since then. Have really enjoyed their recent resurgence and validation of their influence.

  136. My older sister got tix for a Replacements show in 1989 at The Beacon Theater. She let me borrow her copy of Don’t Tell a Soul and I was really only into I’ll Be You because it was the only track I heard from MTV and I was 14 and had no taste.I eventually backtracked and got all the CD’s and fell in love with the band and Paul’s songwriting.

    My sister couldn’t go to the gig because she was 16 and was puked on the living room rug in front of my parents and I on the night before the gig from drinking cheap red wine (not on a Sunday).

  137. When I was in high school my older sister was a dj at her university radio station. She would send home cassettes of bands she thought I would like. Sorry Ma with Hootenanny on the B side and I was hooked.

  138. This guy I worked with gave me a mix tape in 86 or 87 that introduced me to the Replacements along with Husker Du, Big Star, Love Tractor, Tommy Keene and more. He put I will Dare and Sixteen Blue on the tape and they blew my mind. I went and got everything by the band up till that point and just fell in love. I wish I still have that tape.

  139. I first got interested in The Replacements in 1999 after reading an article about Paul Westerberg in Uncut Magazine when ‘Sucaine Gratification’ came out. I immediately made a trip to Glasgow and bought ‘Tim’ and ‘Pleased To Meet Me’….those records seemed to be the only ones still in print in the UK at the time. I have loved the band ever since!

  140. I first saw The Replacements on MTV I believe…or Night Flight.I was about 15 or 16 years old.I was always looking for the “real deal” when it came to music and not what was popular on the radio.I was only 15 or 16 but I’d discovered Bob Dylan and Lou Reed and The Doors.I saw the interview with the Replacements talking about The Ledge and it stuck in my mind.They seemed real to me I guess.Then I saw the video for I’ll Be You and I remembered that was the same band.There was also a Bill Holdship interview in a Music Express magazine that was a freebee at one of the chain record stores back in the day.I bought Pleased To Meet Me and Don’t Tell A Soul.I loved the albums.I loved that the band was from the Midwest.I introduced a buddy of mine to them and we both started buying different Replacements records so we could get their whole discography faster.They’ve been my favorite band ever since.

  141. Around 1994, as a teen, I read an article about Soul Asylum where those boys mentioned The Replacements. I tried but couldn’t find any music by them. Years later, I went to a CD store and found a reissue of Sorry Ma. And that was that.

  142. I first heard the Replacements when I was home sick from school in the spring of 1989. I was watching cable television when the video for “I’ll Be You” came on, and it is hard to imagine today (aside from MTV actually playing videos) what it was like to hear a song that was a straight up rock song on MTV amid the L.A. hair metal and synth pop gloss and soundtrack ballads that dominated the FM and video airwaves at the time. The song was great – a guitar anthem that was reminiscent of the 70’s rock and power pop that had disappeared, but it was the video that caught my attention the most, with the band screwing around, laughing, switching instruments, and smashing not a guitar but a cherry red Fender Precision bass.

    All at once, in 3 minutes, the band summed up everything I loved about rock music, and began a lifelong love affair that changed my life like no other band, including running a mailing list since 1992. I listen to other bands, but if I had to pick only one on the planet that sums up rock music for me, this is it.

  143. I first heard The Replacements in 1987 my first year at Kansas State University. A high school buddy of mine who was a huge fan played “Pleased To Meet Me” for us. I soon delved back through the catalog. Me and this same high school buddy would soon go on to form our own band, Truck Stop Love, who would emulate the ‘Mats in every way right on down to the debauchery.

  144. Kid I hung out w/had me drive him to record shop in ’87. Bought cassette of PTTM day it was released. Boom. Never loomed at bands in the same light, again.

  145. My favorite band!

    I was at a crazy show in the basement of a friend’s house and, in between bands, they started playing Sorry Ma. I lost my damn mind and immediately became a huge Mats fan.

  146. In 1984 during my first Semester of College at UW in Madison I read a review of a two night stint of the Mats at O’Cayz Corral (RIP). The shows sounded like a glorious mess. The next show they played there was a don’t miss. Some details are blurry as I was almost as drunk as the band but I’ve been hooked ever since. I still have the red 8×11 with Bob making kissy face flyer I took off a kiosk after the show.

  147. My stepfather played me Sorry Ma, Forgot to take out the Trash when I was ten or eleven. I would play takin a ride over and over again , until my stepfather gave me his copy of the album:)… The Mats have consistently been my favourites since then

  148. I read something about them in the early 90s and decided to check them out. Bought “Let It Be” and was absolutely f’ing FLOORED. I’d finally found music that spoke to me and my life instead of being some kind of fantasy. I’d never been pissed at the queen or whatever, but I knew exactly what it was like to be an awkward Midwestern fuckup romantic hiding behind as much booze as I could drink.

  149. I remember reading about Bob’s death & being confused about why I’d never heard of The Replacements. Little did I know I’d been hearing plenty of their songs on Rev105, but just never put the dots together. I remember buying Let it Be and thinking “Oh, I know this” two bars into I Will Dare. That led to Sorry Ma, Stink, & Hootenany in quick succession.

  150. 1989, the guy living down the hall from me was playing “Please to Meet Me” a lot. He let me borrow the CD. He never got it back.

  151. I heard I Will Dare on WLIR here on Long Island when Let It Be came out and that wast it they are one of my all time favorite bands

  152. I was a graduate students in Plant Biology at the University of Illinois in the Fall of 1984 when I heard a song on the Independent Radio Station in town, WEFT. It was “Color Me Impressed.” After suffering through the early 80’s, this song cut through it all. I went to Record Swap, the local Indy record store and the scary dude behind the counter gave me the complete history of the band. I bought Hootenany and haven’t looked back. In the spring of 1986, The Replacements played at Mabel’s, the local club, and just shredded. They were so loud and tight. Just blew me away. And they made fun of the opening band, a local group from Urbana!

  153. I was taking a flight a small airport out in San Francisco with my androgynous friends Tommy, Tim and Gary, who were raised in the city. The kids didn’t follow, they were hangin’ downtown after they played at the talent show. Don’t ask why, but all of the waitresses in the sky called out Gary’s name; I think it had something to do with him being a regular. When they did, Tim told me “don’t tell a soul, but Gary’s got a boner.” As it turned out, our seats were not together, they were back to back. We were all unsatisfied and bent out of shape, but I figured “I will dare” to meet the people next to me – the replacements. I found them to be sadly beautiful and have been all shook down ever since!

  154. I was taking a flight from a small airport out in San Francisco with my androgynous friends Tommy, Tim and Gary, who were raised in the city. The kids didn’t follow, they were hangin’ downtown after they played at the talent show. Don’t ask why, but all of the waitresses in the sky called out Gary’s name; I think it had something to do with him being a regular. When they did, Tim told me “don’t tell a soul, but Gary’s got a boner.” As it turned out, our seats were not together, they were back to back. We were all unsatisfied and bent out of shape, but I figured “I will dare” to meet the people next to me – the replacements. I found them to be sadly beautiful and have been all shook down ever since!

  155. I walked into my favorite record store, maybe 8th grade or 9th. At the entry I saw a giant framed concert photo of the band. Bob was wearing a tu-tu type thing and running across the stage. Tommy and Paul were yelling in unison, clearly rocking and not giving a fuck. I immediately went to the counter, found out who the band was, and the store owner fronted me credit so I could buy both Let It Be and Tim. I never looked back.

  156. I heard them sometime in the late ’80s on 99.1 WHFS…the greatest radio station ever!

  157. It was 1984, I was 15, and I was going to this older girls house to listen to some punk albums with her and her friends. She had “Stink” (I mean the album not the body odor), I loved it. The next weekend I got a ride to the record store to get it but they didn’t have it. However, they had the new Replacements album: Let It Be. I got it and I’ve been a fan ever since.

  158. It was 1988, and I was visiting my dad in Minnesota. I had recently discovered Soul Asylum, and The Gear Daddies…but then I hit the mother lode when a record store clerk told me to check out The Replacements and Husker Du. Done and done. Huge Mats fan ever since.

  159. They’re really not on the musical radar, or at least they weren’t when I discovered them 14 years ago, of people in Ireland so I was pretty fortunate that an older, much cooler guy I worked with in Virgin Megastores at the time turned me on to them by lending me a taped cassette copy of ‘Let it Be’. From the first second, that was it, I was hooked. They are the best rock band of all time, by a country mile.

  160. Had vaguely heard of them but first really read about them in Our Band Could Be Your Life. Out of all the bands in that book, their music connected with me most. Timeless.

  161. The first time I saw the Replacements was at a club called Duffy’s in Minneapolis, located on 26th and 26th. There was no cover charge, and I believe the opening band was the Skammets. I believe it was 1981 or 1982. Crazy, crazy show with the Mats doing a very drunk set of Hank Williams songs.

  162. Let it Be, my freshman year in college. I was a huge Beatles fan at the time and decided to check out this band that had the balls to steal the name of their last album. Soon discovered that I liked The Replacements just as much, if not more.

    Tried to see them live but didn’t have success until the reunion. Check out my blog entry and photos on that here –

  163. I was in high school in Canada and read the glowing reviews of the just released Let it Be. A friend of mine was going to Minneapolis on a band trip, so I asked me to pick up the vinyl. He brought it back and promptly showed me the song list on the back of the jacket, including “Gary’s got a Boner.” Needless to say he shouted that out anytime he saw me for the next few weeks. Love the band, love the book…

  164. I was in high school in Canada and read the glowing reviews of the just released Let it Be. A friend of mine was going to Minneapolis on a band trip, so I asked him to pick up the vinyl. He brought it back and promptly showed me the song list on the back of the jacket, including “Gary’s got a Boner.” Needless to say he shouted that out anytime he saw me for the next few weeks. Love the band, love the book…

  165. I told a friend I was sick of mainstream music about 10 years ago. He started sharing his library with me. The 2nd cd he let me borrow was All Shook Down. I listened to every song at least 3 times before moving on to the next song. Couldn’t get enough and still haven’t. No other band even comes close for me.

  166. The Replacements were so popular so fast it blew my mind at the record store and radio station I worked at. We had constant calls for their music. And there was a time in the 80’s they were everybody’s fav band. I first heard them at the record store and was impressed with the ‘punk’ mentality but the rock n roll songs. No one was doing this at the time and it was a refreshing change from bands trying to invent a new sound or latch onto a trendsetter a time when everything seemed to sound like Joy Division.

  167. The teen movie Can’t Hardly Wait came out my Senior year of High School, and though I loved the movie, their song on the soundtrack always stood above and beyond it, a reference whose expectations the movie couldn’t really meet.

  168. The first time I came across The Replacements was when I was a very, very dedicated Beatles fan at about the age of 14. I came across The Replacements album Let It Be, felt insulted by their audacity, and I wrote a ridiculous, uninformed, scathing review on iTunes. I walked away feeling quite chuffed with the whole thing.

    Years later, I was listening to music on YouTube when I came across “Bastards of Young,” and my head snapped up in attention. After listening to that multiple times a day, I decided to listen to “Kiss Me on the Bus,” which I also immediately loved. It reminded me of an old favorite, Alex Chilton. I’ve since bought their albums, the book by Bob Mehr, and am just a big fan in general.

  169. I first heard the mats on some obscure college radio station in the early 80s….I will dare.i was instantly hooked and bought the let it be lp. It took no time for me to get anything else they had recorded .I was also fortunate to see them live in NYC I think it was the Irving plaza green on red opened for them…Bob Stimson came out,.took off his pants and put a dress on and then what can only be described as an incredible beer soaked rowdy as hell show broke out,,with green on red joining them for a few songs on stage.paul broke his finger stage diving at the show.afterwards we hung out as the rest of the crowd filed out,.and out came Bob Stimson tripping over my friends feet.we wound up chatting with him for a few minutes before Tommy came out and dragged him backstage.bob was extremely nice,.no snobby rock star holier than thou attitude just real down to earth…perhaps Mick Jones of the clash could’ve learned something from him,.Mick Jones was one of those rock snobs too good for his fans as I’ve found out.needless to say the replacements have been my number 1 favorite band since then…at a time when lots of British bands dominated the rock scene,the mats were the bulldozer that paved the way for American bands to rise up and dominate,..I for one as a song writer have been heavily influenced by them.i also have every Paul w solo stuff,..the replacements are the soundtrack of my life.RIP BOB STINSON,..GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN.

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