Another Happy Birthday to Paul, from Bob Mehr (with bonus story)!

Happy birthday to Paul Harold Westerberg – born 58 years ago on a particularly frigid New Year’s Eve in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Replacements co-founder, revered solo artist, *the* singer-songwriter of his generation. The Johnson to my Boswell, as well as the only person to ever mail me a body part (a molar – it’s a long story). Here’s a footnote about his arrival into the world, coming in the final hours of 1959, that was cut from my Replacements bio “Trouble Boys.” —In later years Westerberg would concoct an elaborate fantasy scenario about the night of his birth. He imagined Hal rushing a contracting Mary Lou down to the University of Minnesota hospital located on the West Bank, near a student section called Dinkytown. His father would slam on his brakes and honk the horn at a scruffy looking boho ambling through a crosswalk. The chubby cheeked kid was wearing a shabby coat and guitar on his back. It was Robert Zimmerman, soon to become Bob Dylan. The native son of Hibbing, Minnesota was living in Dinkytown when Paul came mewling into the world. He would imagine their kinship — Dylan on the cusp of greatness, him just being born – as some kind of omen, and write a blues number about it in 2004 called “MPLS”: “On the Mississippi River, I was born in ’59/Down in Dinkytown, old Bob Dylan freezing his behind.” #paulwesterberg #thereplacements #troubleboys

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On the Mississippi River, I was born in ’59
Mississippi River, I was born in ’59
Down in Dinkytown, old Bob Dylan freezin’ his behind

Go down to the shore, drink us some wine
Well we tumble down to the shore, drinkin’ some wine
I only did it one time

Took a whole lot of girls, then went down to the shore
Took a whole lot of girls there, then went down to the shore
Took a boy down once, played the blues, and he ain’t here no more

Well it’s MPLS
The place that I like best
Well it’s MPLS
The place that I like best
Don’t call, don’t call, no St. Paul
MPLS, yes yes

Happy Birthday, Paul!

Happy Birthday, Paul!

And Happy New Year to all!

Here’s wishing you the bluest sky
And hoping something better comes tomorrow
Hoping all the verses rhyme
And the very best of choruses to
Follow all the doubt and sadness
I know that better things are on the way.

I know you’ve got a lot of good things happening up ahead
The past is gone it’s all been said
So here’s to what the future brings
I know tomorrow you’ll find better things

Own The Original “14 Songs” Cover Photo, Inscribed by Paul

original 14 songs

click image for hi-res version

Here’s an amazing opportunity to own something that is literally one-of-a kind, and to help out Slim Dunlap and his family. I’m posting this message on behalf of Jim Sullivan, who worked with the Mats on their merchandising.

This photo is the original 8×10 print that Paul chose for the cover of “14 Songs” and he inscribed it: “This, with the hands is a record cover. Whole shot”

If there’s a Mats fan out there willing to spread some Christmas love to Slim and family by contributing $1,000 to this FundRazr: Appeal for Mr. Bob “Slim” Dunlap, I would be thrilled to send you this print, along with a couple other great Mats prints by the great Paul Natkin.

Life is short. Keep those you hold dearly in your heart.

The details: First come, first serve! If you want it, you can email me and I’ll pass your info along to Jim. He’ll take if from there and you two can work out the details.

14 songs envelope

Tommy Keene (1958 – 2017)

Such terrible and sad news to report. Legendary power pop singer-songwriter Tommy Keene has died. From his website:

Power-pop legend, acclaimed singer-songwriter, and venerated guitarist Tommy Keene has died.

The 59 year-old Keene passed away unexpectedly, but peacefully, in his sleep at his Los Angeles area home on Wednesday. Keene – who recorded for Geffen, Matador Records, and Second Motion, among others – built an impressive and acclaimed catalog over the course of his nearly 40-year career, spanning eleven full-lengths, four EPs, three compilations, and a live album.

Hailed by fans, critics and fellow musicians for the moving and consistently high quality of his pop songcraft, he was also consummate rock and roller. Over the course of his career, Keene worked with a range of artists who admired his work, including The Replacements’ Paul Westerberg, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Guided by Voices’ Robert Pollard, the Goo Goo Dolls, and the Gin Blossoms, among others.

Keene is survived by his longtime partner, Michael Lundsgaard, his father Robert Keene, step-mother Dorothy Keene, brother Bobby Keene, nephews Hunter and Jason Keene, and his beloved dog, Coco.

Deepest sympathy to his partner and family, and to his many, many friends – there is such an outpouring of love for him on Facebook and Twitter.

tommy keene

Here are Paul, Tommy, Ken Chastain and Josh Freese performning “Ain’t Got Me” on The Tonight Show.

And Paul and Tommy doing “Love Untold” on Letterman, with Paul Schaffer and the house band.

This is the title track from Tommy’s 1984 EP “Places That Are Gone”, which was voted EP of The Year in the Village Voice Pazz & Jop.

Musicians and fans react to the death of power pop singer-songwriter Tommy Keene – LA Times
Tommy Keene Dead at 59 – Billboard
Tommy Keene, dead at 59 (read tributes from Guided by Voices, Ted Leo & more) – Brooklyn Vegan