The New Yorker review: “Trouble Boys”

There’s an excellent piece by David Cantwell in The New Yorker entitled “Why Rock Criticism Was Essential to the Replacements”. It’s a review of the book that focuses on (as the title says) the importance and influence of rock criticism on the band, or more specifically on Paul.

“I was weaned on critics. I read every issue of Creem, Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy!,” Westerberg tells Mehr, adding, later, “I started to get a sense of what critics think is cool.” He also got a sense of what a certain type of critic did not think was cool. Critics, Westerberg explains, taught him that Top Forty singles and album-oriented-rock tracks were corny and hackneyed, and that punk rock—Johnny Thunders and the New York Dolls especially—was the way to go. Happily, the lessons young Paul Westerberg learned from all those critics freed him to explore new sounds. And, just as happily, he and the other Replacements followed those lessons only intermittently, mixing uncool bubblegum, A.O.R., and singer-songwriter balladry in with the punk—and whatever else was needed.


Photograph by Robert Matheu / Camera Press / Redux


“Trouble Boys”: Upcoming Events

trouble boys

Bob Mehr with Paul and Tommy

Here’s the full list of Bob Mehr’s upcoming rock and reading for “Trouble Boys”, including appearances with Dave Minehan and Josh Freese. Some details still to come for the West Coast dates.

May 31 – Boston @ 7PM | Cafe 939 (Berklee)
A conversation with Dave Minehan and Bob Mehr. The event is free but you do need to reserve tickets.

June 3 – Philadelphia @ 7PM | Main Street Music
Discussion and Q&A, plus music from Dave Hause (The Loved Ones) and Frank Brown (Travel Lanes). Also a celebration of the release of the vinyl box set “The Sire Years.”

June 4 – Hoboken @ 8PM | Little City Books
This one features Bob in conversation with Replacements A&R man Michael Hill PLUS’Mats music from Freedy Johnston (with Dave Schramm), Glenn Morrow’s Cry for Help, The Dead Wicks, Jennifer O’Connor, and more.

June 8 – NYC @ 7PM | Strand Books
Jon Wurster is joing Bob Mehr for this event. Visit the Strand’s event page for admission details.

June 11 – Long Beach @ 4PM | Fingerprints
A discussion with Josh Freese. There will also be live music (artists TBA), plus raffles and giveaways from Rhino to celebrate the recent ‘Mats box set “The Sire Years.”

June 12 – L.A. @ 4PM | Book Soup
Discussion and Q&A, more details to come.

July 16 – Phoenix| Changing Hands Bookstore
Discussion and Q&A, more details to come.

July 20 – Seattle | KEXP Performance Space
Discussion and Q&A, musical guests TBA. More details to come.

July 24 – Portland | Powell’s Books
Bob will be joined in conversation by Scott McCaughey of The Young Fresh Fellows.


Prince Rogers Nelson 1958-2016

A day later and it’s still impossible to believe that Prince is gone.

From Rolling Stone: Paul Westerberg Remembers Prince: ‘I Can’t Think of Anyone Better’

People like to paint him as a reclusive this or that; I think he was genuinely truly, truly shy. But one thing says a lot about him: I was there (Paisley Park) making a solo record a few years later, and I got a message that said that my friend had just died. I was truly rattled, and the next time I went back into the studio, he had filled it up with balloons. Now I’m gonna cry.

I’ve spent more time with Bob Dylan, and I’ve got to say that I was more in awe of Prince. I can’t think of anyone better – an all-around composer, musician, guitarist, star, showman, the whole package, anyone better. If Elvis wrote all of his songs and played guitar, it still wouldn’t quite be there. He’d play Jimi Hendrix-style, between his legs and behind his back. And then he’d do the splits. He could put the guitar down, and Jimi would become James Brown. He could hold the crowd like Mick Jagger, but could Mick Jagger play the piano like that? And then, lyrically, there’s something like, “When Doves Cry.” There’s obviously more going on there than meets the booty.

When I got word today, I was trying to write a song. I put it down. I found myself walking up to the store, and I bought myself a handful of colorful clothes. I was just drawn to do something that he would have done.

Paul was also interviewed by MNN’s Scott Peterson.

Obituary: Prince was a diminutive giant who revolutionized pop
By Chris Riemenschneider and Jon Bream

Prince not only filmed “Purple Rain” at First Avenue, he recorded songs for the soundtrack in concert and often hung out there. His last time at the club was in February for a performance by locally rooted women’s R&B trio King.

“There’s not a day that goes by where we don’t hear a band playing one of his songs during sound check or someone asks for a tour because of Prince, or wants to come take a picture with his star on the wall,” said First Avenue General Manager Nate Kranz. “We cannot overstate what he means to this club.”

Fellow Minneapolis music vet Paul Westerberg of the Replacements told the Minnesota News Network that Prince “was a ray of light in a sometimes dour and cloudy place.” Compared to other local musicians, he said, “We were playing with toy trucks, and he was like Mario Andretti.”



The Replacements – ‘The Sire Years’ Vinyl Box Set Out on 3/29

From Rhino:

In conjunction with Record Store Day’s “Vinyl Tuesday” initiative, THE SIRE YEARS will be available on Tuesday, March 29 for a suggested list price of $74.98. Production of the set will be limited to 8,700 numbered copies. As a special promotion – a number of fans who pre-order the collection from select independent stores will also receive an exclusive 7″ featuring “Can’t Hardly Wait (The Tim Version)” b/w “Portland,” both previously unreleased on vinyl – while supplies last.

If you’re in the L.A. area, there’s a release party on Monday 3/28:

Come celebrate the release of The Replacements’ ‘The Sire Years’ box set! Join us for Happy Hour Monday, March 28th from 5:30-7:30pm at Resident in Downtown Los Angeles. There will be Mats music, cool giveaways, special drinks and Criminal Hygiene playing a live set of Replacements covers!

replacements sirereplacements the sire years


“Trouble Boys”: Events + Signings

The next “Trouble Boys” event is April 2 at Grimey’s Too/Howlin’ Books in Nashville. This event will also celebrate the release of Rhino’s new Replacements vinyl box set “The Sire Years.” They’ll be raffling away a nice prize pack and box sets, and handing out some cool swag. new Replacements vinyl box set “The Sire Years.” Special guests include Tommy Womack (see his tribute song, “The Replacements”), and Tom Littlefield and Jonathan Bright, who released a ukulele tribute to the Mats (“Treatment Bound: A Ukulele Tribute to The Replacements”) and will perform some Replacements songs.

Trouble Boys nashville

Bob found this YouTube clip from 1983 of a local TV station reporting on new wave and punk music in Nashville. The first band up is a bunch of young lads from Minneapolis: “The band is called the Replacements. Some call their music hard-core punk. I call it loud. In fact, their volume was so high it shut down our camera.”

Signing across the country will be announced soon but if there isn’t one near you, there’s still a way to get a signed copy of the book. Here’s the info from Bob:

If anyone wants signed, personally inscribed copies of “Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements” you can order them direct from The Booksellers at Laurelwood in Memphis – a fine indie store in my hometown, who’ve generously offered to facilitate this for those who want ’em signed for themselves or as gifts. All you need to do is call Macon Wilson at The Booksellers at Laurelwood at (901) 410-5175. You can put in your order with her (or leave a voicemail if she’s not there). She’ll process it, find out what you’d like inscribed and I will sign them and they’ll be sent out within days.

Follow @BobMehr on Twitter for the latest on all things “Trouble Boys”.