Boston Groupie News: David Minehan Interview

Boston Groupie News posted a wide-ranging interview with David Minehan, including his work with Paul (solo) and with The Replacements. David has had a long and fascinating career (so far, it’s still going!) and it’s a great read, even without the PW-related stuff. That said….let’s get to some of the PW-related stuff :)

On the “final show” in Portugal:

David: Right, that last thing in Portugal, you know four weeks ago, was like “This is our last show”. I think the thing is Paul says all kinds of stuff on stage. Every night it’s just kind of a running banter. It’s a funny, half-cocked shit. But that said, I always think like every show could be the last show of the Replacements. That’s just the way it is. You know, there’s just kind of a perishable thing about this. And I’ve learned not to butt in on any of that and I think that’s why he appreciates me too.

It was ironic because before we went onstage that night, at the festival in Porto, Portugal, the grounds were just incredibly beautiful. Stages set in different parts of these rolling hills that you walk to, and it’s just stunning. And I’m looking around, we finished sound check, and I gave him a hug, and said “You know Paul, if this was the end of it now, this is a good one.” And then later that night like “This is our last show.” (everyone laughs)

B (Interviewer): I always had the impression that it was always Westerberg got you guys together, as The Replacements, but it was never his idea that it was going to keep going with you guys still at in 10 years, I mean..

David: No, exactly. He’s in a real…..I don’t wanna call it midlife crisis, but it’s like ‘what are the Replacements in 2015?’ ….Except that they are loved by millions, and I would say at least a third maybe half are kids weren’t even born when the band was originally playing. When they are out in the audience, and when we start a certain song and they almost start crying. It’s a really powerful visceral exchange that happens up there! But I do know Paul’s ideal would be “Let’s do a half a set of Replacements’ songs and half a set of Solo album songs.” Cuz his Solo Album songs are fucking amazing.

B: Yeah he doesn’t throw those in?

David: No, because it’s the Replacements. When I toured with him in ’92 on his first solo tour, we did do a third or more of Replacement songs then. But even Tommy’s got great songs too. So just for now, I think he’s just faced with…like, he said it in an interview, some years ago, “you know, I’ve been playing those Replacement songs all along anyway, it’s not like I left them completely.” You know he’d do his solo records and, but when he and I toured, he would love to hear certain songs. So I think it’s just a matter of like “I’m not going to become a nostalgia act.” The thing about that guy is that he never seem to care about money, because he lives frugally, he’s not wealthy, and the world has been trying to make him wealthy for 25 years!

B: You’ve played all these songs with Paul. But creatively do you ever interact with him?…like writing?

David: Yes, he comes in odd times, but a lot of the rehearsals leading up to this Replacement stuff would be an afternoon of not playing any Replacement songs. We’d be playing just fucked up shit, you know like covers…and jams, I mean not jamming you know, but just like reaching out into weird riffs that kind of rock. I think that’s his way of making sure that you can think on your feet a little or that there’s a ‘catching lightning in a bottle’ aspect of things available in some way

B: Now during those jams do you see any riffs that he later uses?

David: Yes, he was trying out a lot of new stuff with us. And then I’ve seen him just kind of stop and kind of think about something, so there is a little bit of that process going on too. I actually had those guys in here in a secret recording session a year and a half ago, and it was the hardest session I’ve ever done in my life. You know he’s an unorthodox character. You say white, he says black. You set up for one thing and he starts dismantling it and sets it up another way. So you have to anticipate that this is gonna be an inversion of what you think it’s gonna be.

B: So what do you attribute that too? Is he just a contrarian or is it creative process?

David: It is creative process…and he is a bit of a contrarian, but after all these years, those happy accidents have some consistency. That’s why you can’t point to any particular kind of thing about the Replacements. The records all sound different, the songs all kind of like take different steps, so chalk it up to a real artist who does not want it to be so repetitive.

Good stuff and there’s plenty more in the full interview.


Tuesday Aug. 11: Twin/Tone Vinyl Releases

If you’re in the Twin Cities area, you’re invited to celebrate the release of The Twin/Tone Years  – a limited-edition vinyl box set of the first four records – with a listening party at The Electric Fetus.

The Replacements Twin\Tone Years LP Box Set Listening Party

The details from their site:

Tuesday, August 11th – 6:00 p.m.
It’s a very special Vinyl Happy Hour!

Rhino Records, 89.3 The Current and The Electric Fetus invite you to a listening party (band not included) for the special release of The Replacements’ Twin\Tone LPs limited edition box set on its release day, Tuesday, August 11th at 6:00 p.m.

We’ll spin songs from the box set (which features Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash, Stink, Hootenanny and Let It Be).

We’ll have free pizza and pop and there are some cool giveaways with purchase that night…a poster, slipmat and buttons while supplies last.

It’s also vinyl happy hour, so you’ll get up to $5 off used LPs for every $20 you spend on most new LPs that whole day (the new ‘Mats box set included).

RSVP on Facebook

If you’re not local and you can’t buy the box set here in person, ORDER ONLINE HERE and we’ll send you a slipmat with your purchase while supplies last AFTER the listening party.

The slipmat is TOO good, you really need to get one (and pick up an extra one for me!).

replacments plaid

The poster’s not too shabby either!

replacements vinyl box set


#TBT: The Replacements Auto-Discography with The Bob

Today in “Stuff From the Vault”, here’s an excerpt of a PW interview with the magazine “The Bob” from June 1990, where Paul discussed his impressions of each Replacements album.

The Bob: “Would you mind doing an auto discography and talk about each one of the LPs?”
Paul: “Of our stuff?”

The Bob: “Yeah.”
Paul: “Don’t listen to it.”

The Bob: “You can either start from the earliest one or start from the new one.”
Paul: “Ask me a question on each one and I’ll try and give you a suitable lie.”

The Bob: “Well SORRY MA – I still listen to it and enjoy it. Do you ever listen to it, and if you do, do you still enjoy it?”
Paul: “I was at an all-ages show about 2 months ago. I went with my sister and they put it on. It was really loud and I didn’t know who it was until the second song. So that tells you how often I listen to that. And I was thinking ‘Who the FUCK is this playing this old-hat shit?’ You know, some crank band that thinks they’re playing rock and roll. And sure enough, it was me. And they couldn’t believe that I didn’t realize it was the Replacements. But I always do that. Whenever I turn on the radio and we’re on, I immediately don’t recognize us. I just think ‘This is familiar, who is this?’.”

The Bob: “The thing that set SORRY MA apart from other hard-core band of the times was the lyrics. I’ve always thought the Replacements’ strongest point were you your lyrics. A few albums ago in an interview you claimed you were illiterate. That seems so ironic because insightful lyrics are what make the Replacements stand out.”
Paul: “Well yeah I mean, Einstein was dyslexic [laughs]. But I think that’s what saved us on SORRY MA, because musically there’s nothing really going on there. I guess I was from a different school of thought at the time – everyone else was getting into whatever was hip at the time, which I guess was more politically-oriented things. And I had probably just met my first girl a week ago so I was obsessed with that.

The Bob: “The next record STINK was all-out, hard, hard-core.”
Paul: “Well, yeah, that one rang the falsest of them all. It’s funny that a lot of people still like that one the best. It was done in two nights. We recorded it on Saturday and mixed it on Sunday afternoon. That was kind of our way of making a demo tape to send out to the clubs to say: ‘See we can play this stuff too. Can we have a gig?’. And then we did like a full year of touring with Husker Du and Black Flag and Suicidal Tendencies, whoever. I think that was the short-lived period when we thought we were a hard-core band. And then we’d go back to the van and listen to Ted Nugent [laughter].

The Bob: “HOOTENANNY was a period of transition for you, because it started getting away from the hard-core and took a turn towards slower, more emotional songs like ‘Within Your Reach'”.

Paul: “Hmm-mm. I think each record is almost a reaction to the one before it. It was like a year or six months of touring and doing the STINK thing, and the last thing I wanted to do was really bash out another one. You could hear me or less trying to find my voice, or trying to find out where I fit in – ‘I don’t FEEL like a skinhead, I like pop songs, I like bubblegum stuff’. That was in a way trying to fuse what I had been listening to growing up into what was happening at the time.”

The Bob: “LET IT BE is the one that made people realize that, Hey this band is something else, this band is definitely not a hard-core band.”
Paul: “This band knows Pete Buck” [laughter]

The Bob: “The songs were kind of transcendent compared to your earlier stuff. That album has some of my favorite songs of all time like ‘I Will Dare’, ‘Answering Machine’ and ‘Unsatisfied’.”
Paul: “And every one of those three was written at a turbulent period of my life. I’m glad we recorded then – had it been 2 months later, it might have been different. I hate when I look at it that way, because then we’re back to the question of ‘Well, do you need that tension in your life to create great art?’ But it seems to come back to the fact that those songs that stay with you are the ones that were written at a hard time.”

The Bob: “And then TIM was the first major-label release.”
Paul: “That was right when we were splintering with Bob, Bob wasn’t on much of the record. And Tommy Ederlyi for all the help he gave us, did a pretty crappy-ass job of mixing the thing. I mean, he mixed it on head phones cause he was deaf from playing with the Ramones. So it didn’t help up a whole lot. But it’s got some great tunes on it.”

The Bob: “On PLEASED TO MEET ME, you played guitar by yourself and I think you did a great job.”
Paul: “Thank you. That one was coming out of TIM and not knowing what we were doing by getting rid of Bob. SO we looked to someone older and Dickinson was perfect because he sort of took us by the hand and said, like ‘Don’t worry boys, just put on the clown makeup one more time and make a punk rock record’. And it was like ‘Sure OK, we know how to do that.'”

The Bob: “Have you seen Bob recently?”
Paul: “Yeah just the other night Tommy and I were out and Bob came in and it was nice, ’cause we all sat down and it was like he had never left-within 2 minutes we were both insulting each other and had our arms around each other. There’s definitely alot of love there. I think any bad feelings are definitely water under the bridge.”

The Bob: “DON’T TELL A SOUL kinda shocked people by its mellowness. I liked the songs but I was disappointed by the ultra-heavy-sheen production.”
Paul: “Hmmmm. And I think that was the problem of having a third party in there – having a guy mix it who didn’t know the band, and wasn’t there for the recording, and more than anything didn’t listen to the words. He thought ‘I’m getting paid, this is my job to make it sound like Eddie Money, and that’s what I’m gonna do’. And us at the time, we were figuring, ‘Hey, it might work’. But it didn’t.”

The Bob: “Are you disappointed with it now?”
Paul: “Ummm, no. I mean, of all the songs, ‘Asking Me Lies’ I still listen to that a lot. And not so much for the lyrics, but I just kinda like the groove that Tommy and Chris were playing. I think DON’T TELL A SOUL is gonna be a sleeper like TIM was. A lot of people didn’t like TIM at first, and now I get all this: ‘Oh, there’s great songs on TIM’. I think that it’s the new TIM, it’ll be the one that people come back to later.”

The Bob: “And then there’s the new one, ALL SHOOK DOWN. Some of the best songs you’ve ever written and I think your best singing of all time.”
Paul: “Hell, if that’s an endorsement, then I’ll take it. Yeah, I agree. And it’s a reaction to the last record which was a little too slick so I made sure we pulled it in the other direction.”

The Bob: “I haven’t seen the album’s first single ‘Merry Go Round’ in the stores yet but I understand that Tommy does the song on the B-side.”
Paul: “Yeah that’s called ‘Satellite’. We just recorded that about 3 weeks ago. That was really kinda fun. That was the first thing we had done as a band in a long time. I sort of took the role as producer, and Tommy took the helm, playing the guitars and singing and playing bass. And Chris and Slim added their parts. It would have been nice to have done the new Replacements record that way. And it did open a new door that I guess we could work this way if we wanted to. But the album has to go top 40 before they’ll even press that up.”

The Bob: “On ‘My Little Problem’ you sing a duet with Johnette Napolitano. Was that song originally written as a duet?”
Paul: “Yeah it was. And it was kinda written with her in mind. She was one of my first choices, or I thought Joan Jett might be fun. But yeah, it was definitely written with a female vocalist in mind. And Johnette and I, were similar in alot of ways and I figured it would be a nice match. She blows me away. Actually I had a hard time keeping up with her [laughs]. She’s cool.

The Bob: “‘The Last’ could be taken in a lot of different ways. You could be singing about the last love, as in getting married. Or you could be singing about the last Replacements album, implying that this could be the last one-“
Paul: “Or of course the last drink.”

The Bob: “Exactly, that was my third….
Paul: “Yeah and it’s all three of those”.


AOL Chat: May 5, 1996

Paul’s one and only public foray into cyberspace was during the promotion for “Eventually” – an AOL Chat on May 5, 1996 sponsored by MuchMusic.
paul westerberg online chat

The first question is left out of the transcript but we’ll guess it was “Where did the name ‘Replacements’ come from?”.

PWestrbg: The impediments was our name of our 1st performance – which we were asked to leave b4 we played one note – and the owner threatened tpo blacklist us for being unruly …& intoxicated …. so we changed the name the next day.

Question: How old were you when you began playing guitar?
PWestrbg: 13.

Question: Did you write all the songs for the Replacements?
PWestrbg: pretty much, yes.

Question: Do you agree that “Let it Be” was a critical turning point in the Replacement’s career?
PWestrbg: it was our finest record with the original line up.

Question: What advice would you offer young people hoping for success in the music industry?

Question: How is “Eventually” doing?
PWestrbg: fine.

Question: Why did your music change? Was it due to natural maturing?
PWestrbg: I’m not sure that it has. just as I’ve changed my clothes today doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ve changed inside.

Question: What inspired the songs you wrote?
PWestrbg: women & nature.

Question: What type of guitar do you prefer?
PWestrbg: wooden.

Question: Did you make a video for “Eventually”?
PWestrbg: no, obviously not.

Question: How old are you. Are you married and do you have a family?
PWestrbg: 36, sorta but not really.

Question: Why are drugs so common in the music business?
PWestrbg: they’re common everywhere. it depends where your attention is focused…Sports, for instance.

Question: What do you think of the Goo Goo Dolls??? (I know, I know… you’ve been asked HOW MANY TIMES??)
PWestrbg: to quote my friend Steve Lillywhite…”I think they’re quite good.”

Question: Will you be traveling to promote your new album?
PWestrbg: no, I’m at home in my room now & I shant ever leave it.

AOLiveMC11: Paul Westerberg is answering YOUR questions!

Question: I haven’t heard new album yet? What are some of the songs and did
you write them?
PWestrbg: next.

Question: What station &show is Paul on right now?
PWestrbg: MuchMusic in Canada

Question: Dear Paul, You’ve always seemed rather ambivalent about success.
What are your feelings these days about the possibility of being a “big hit?”
PWestrbg: I’m a big hit with my mom.

Question: Will you be touring? Coming to Boston? If yes to both, who’s in
the band?
PWestrbg: yes i will, yes we will be coming…middle of the summer…..drummer will be Michael Bland, Ken is on bass….and still looking for that guitar person.

Question: What are “indie” bands?
PWestrbg: You’re asking ME?

PWestrbg: I don’t have one & don’t plan on getting one – ever.
PWestrbg: The computer affects my life & art in the same manner the radio affected Picasso.

Question: What influenced you to become a band member?
PWestrbg: inability to function in normal society.

Question: What other instruments can you play beside the gituar?
PWestrbg: i can play anything….poorly.

Question: Is it true that there are more stupid people in this world than there should be?
PWestrbg: Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh.

Question: I know Philadelphia isn’t exactly your favorite place, will you be doing any shows in this area?
PWestrbg: i have no probelm with philly at all. don’t believe what you read. Yes I will be playing shows there.

Question: it was probably out of your control, but why such a crowded release day for “Eventually”?
PWestrbg: I had nothing to do with the release date.

Question: Paul, did you ever call those guys who gave you the pack of cigarettes in Orlando a couple of years ago?
PWestrbg: probably.

Question: I heard you had producer problems with the new album can you tell us about that?
PWestrbg: Once I decided to produce it myself – there was NO PROBLEM.

Question: On the new album, you sing “I’m the last of a dying breed.” Can you explain what you meantby that, if anything.
PWestrbg: One day, perhaps.

Question: Did you guys ever really take lessons?
PWestrbg: no.

Question: What is the background of the song ‘Answering Machine?’
PWestrbg: Pots & pans & spoons.

Question: Tell us about the Tom Petty Replacements tour. Were you asked to leave the tour?
PWestrbg: no. we were asked to leave their wives alone.

Question: paul, did you ever smash pumpkins when you were a kid?
PWestrbg: i think so.

Question: Does it upset you when you are constantly asked about The Replacement?
PWestrbg: F*** NO!

Question: What’s your own favorite on Eventually?
PWestrbg: These are the days.

Question: is it any different scoring a movie (like singles) as writing a regular song?
PWestrbg: it’s the opposite of writing a song. the visual is already “written” and you’re not supposed to get in the way of anything.

Question: would you consider the Mats a punk band?
PWestrbg: we were a garage band.

Question: Paul, do you remember signing my Chicago Cubs hat about 3 yrs ago in Champaign, Il?
PWestrbg: But of course.

Question: What do you think of Bob Mould’s new LP?
PWestrbg: i haven’t heard it.

Question: will you be working with Tommy S. more?
PWestrbg: Playing perhaps. We’ve never worked a day in our lives.

Question: when are you going to play N.Y.C.
PWestrbg: Summer.

Question: What’s your favorite Mats tune? Least?
PWestrbg: Hootenanney Hootienannie

Question: What is the REAL dirt behind you and Brendan O’Brien?
PWestrbg: His hair was too long.

Question: How many fingers am I holding up?
PWestrbg: your middle one?

Question: i was going to see you on the 13 songs tour but the show got canceled… was in milwaukee what happened?
PWestrbg: i was hospitalized briefly with a bad back.

Question: how many tracks were left off the new record
PWestrbg: 7

Question: Who’s your pick to win the Stanley Cup this year?
PWestrbg: Detroit.

Question: What do you think of Oasis?
PWestrbg: cute.

Question: will there be any singles released with B-sides that did not make the album
PWestrbg: i think so.

Question: do you plan on doing any shows in l.a.?
PWestrbg: yes I do.

Question: Do you think in todays alternative music popularity that the mats would have achieved more popularity?
PWestrbg: If the replacements were around today.. I’m sure we’d be playing something…other than what masquerades as alternative music.

Question: When will tour dates be announced?
PWestrbg: June-ish.

Question: I found it interesting that you still play mat songs live why?
PWestrbg: I find it interesting that everyone but me considers them mats songs. To me their my songs.

AOLiveMC11: Unfortunately, we’re running out of time. We just have time for one more question….

Question: will you ever play Unsatisfied again?
PWestrbg: no.

AOLiveMC11: Thanks for joining us today, Paul Westerberg!!!
PWestrbg: later.

AOLiveMC11: Goodbye, everyone!

Floppy discs were neither floppy nor discs: Discuss

Floppy discs were neither floppy nor discs: Discuss