Remembering Ross (Roscoe) Shoemaker

Ross Shoemaker, known by his friends as Roscoe, was killed in a car accident in Broken Arrow, OK last night.

Roscoe was the manager of the Bowery in Oklahoma City in November 1984 and he taped the now infamous show that became “The Shit Hits the Fans”. From Rolling Stone, which place TSHF as #50 on its list of the 50 Greatest Live Albums of All Time:

A pre-sobriety Paul Westerberg, Chris Mars and Bob and Tommy Stinson alternate between the best and worst bar band of all time on Twin/Tone’s cassette-only The Shit Hits the Fans. Recorded with two hanging mics at Oklahoma City’s converted church venue the Bowery in 1984, these 24 songs (19 of which are covers) are a lubricated mix of blues, metal, soul and spilled-beer wankery. “I asked Paul or somebody if he minded that I record the show,” Bowery manager and DJ Roscoe Shoemaker recalled in the Replacements oral history All Over But the Shouting. “‘Why? We suck.’ Typical Westy response.”

This is a lovely piece by Michael Corcoran called “RIP Roscoe: Death of a Fan” that celebrates Roscoe and his love of music.

If you can live a life like Ross Shoemaker did, so full of love and enthusiasm, you will have a great one. It will be a real life of ups and downs, deep sorrows and bursts of euphoria. A life that touches many.

“Alex Chilton” is a song about being a fan. I’m playing it for Roscoe now and it’s never sounded sadder. This is gonna take some time.

Deepest sympathy to Roscoe’s friends and family on their loss.


The Guardian Interview | The Replacements: ‘God almighty, what were we trying to prove?’

The London shows (June 2 and 3) are fast-approaching and The Guardian has a great piece on the band that includes interviews with Paul and Tommy.

replacements 1988

The Replacements in New York in 1988. Photograph: Ebet Roberts

The Replacements: ‘God almighty, what were we trying to prove?’
They wound up audiences, were often too drunk to play and got banned from late-night TV. Thirty years later, the rock’n’roll antagonists have, they say, finally learned to behave.

The Current has already picked their nine best quotes from the Replacements’ interview with the Guardian, here are a few of mine:

“I’d been to jail three times already, for fucking just being a little fuck-up” – Tommy talking about himself at 11, when he was given a bass guitar by Bob in an effort to keep him out of trouble.

“There was a game that had to be played that had nothing to do with music and everything to do with stroking someone else and fucking doing the whole song and dance that was completely foreign and, quite frankly, illegal to us,” Stinson says of their attitude to career management. “It was reprehensible some of the things they wanted us to do that were supposed to make our career bigger and ultimately make them the money. I swear to God we tried several times to get in line with that and we just couldn’t do it. Our personalities would not allow us to do that thing.”

“I admit there’s a lack of dignity,” says the Replacements’ singer, songwriter and rhythm guitarist, Paul Westerberg. “But that’s part of what being the band is. You have to go out on a limb and take a chance. Falling on your face when you’re young and good looking is one thing, but when you’re an old man it can be quite humiliating.”

“I knew that was a good little song” – Paul on “Skyway”, which The Guardian describes as “the perfect acoustic miniature”.

We had a metal maniac guitar player and an artist for a drummer. And me, a closet folkie. It made for a nice mix of unpredictablility. I think you’re hard pressed to find another group that had as many facets to them as we did, and going through the songs now there’s an unlimited variety of everything from quasi showtunes to fake speed metal. God almighty, what were we trying to prove?” – Paul on what enabled the band to have such a diverse sound.

“Our nemesis was the Cult – they were on the same label, and all of our records were pushed back or held because the Cult had a new record out,” he says. “So they’d hire someone to throw in a bunch of compression and reverb to make it sound like it would work on the radio and that kind of funny business. But it didn’t sound right, it didn’t look right. We were just…Midwestern.” – Paul on being Midwestern, not putting up with any funny business and having to compete with long-haired guys from England.

“Since starting up with the band again it’s kind of shaken every cobweb out of my head and got me rattled in a way – probably in a good way. I can’t relax any more. I can’t sit down and watch the television. I’m torn between the world of being a father, a homeowner and a creative artist and a rock’n’roll singer. I was doing the crossword puzzle waiting for you to call, and that’s about as relaxing as I get.” – Paul

It’s a long article that covers the band’s history and my only quibble is the mention of Paul’s “quietly dignified solo career”. I think Grandpaboy might have a quibble as well with being labeled “quietly dignified”.
neither quiet no dignified

Also check out this feature The Guardian ran in April, “The Replacements: 10 of the best” , with their picks from some of the greatest Replacements songs. It expands on the praise for “Skyway” (and rightly so):

9. Skyway
I interviewed Westerberg last week for a forthcoming Guardian feature and he told me, half joking, that Skyway was the first good song he’d written. It’s not true: he’d written plenty already by that time. But it might be the most perfect song he’s ever written. It’s nothing more than a simple acoustic love song, but it’s rooted perfectly in place – in the skyways of Minneapolis, the enclosed passages between buildings so the locals don’t have to venture into the winter snows (Minnesota is the coldest of the lower 48 states). A man keeps seeing a woman, he wonders if they’ll meet, and when he gets his chance “there wasn’t a damn thing I could do or say”. That’s all there is to it. It’s sad and true and heartfelt.


Pittsburgh + Columbus Shows Canceled

Sorry to pass along this disappointing news posted on The Replacements Facebook page tonight:

The Replacements regret to inform our friends in Pittsburgh and Columbus that the shows that were originally scheduled for May 5 & 6 will have to be canceled. We’ve explored every possibility to reschedule these shows within the window of opportunity but prior commitments and conflicts have prevented us from doing so.

All tickets purchased for these shows will be refunded at the point of purchase. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and hope that we can come back in the future and make it up to you.



Bits + Pieces: Dad Rock on The Replacements; You Am I; Win Stuff!

This week’s episode of USA Today’s Dad Rock (ugh, that term) podcast focused on The Replacements:

In 1989, Musician magazine (then a fairly important tastemaker) declared the Replacements “the last, best band of the 80s.” (Color them impressed.) That cover piece reportedly prompted Jon Bon Jovi to write the publication in protest: “How can the Replacements be the best band of the 80s when I’ve never even heard of them?”

The arena rocker wasn’t alone. Though the Replacements recorded seven full-length albums and an EP over the course of a decade, none of those records went gold. But the band’s combination of raw emotion, wry humor and ragged bar-band power generated a dedicated cult following and influenced numerous musicians who went on to greater commercial success. (And singer/songwriter Paul Westerberg’s clever wordplay made him an icon of the alternative rock scene.)

Among those who consider the Replacements their favorite thing are Jim Lenahan and Patrick Foster, hosts of USA TODAY’s Dad Rock podcast. In this episode, they talk about the reunited Replacements (Lenahan just went to their concert in Washington, D.C.) and look back at their incredible, and varied, output of sadly beautiful music. Take a listen; you won’t be unsatisfied.

• You Am I will be the opening act for both shows in London. They are long-time fans of The Replacements and contributed a track (“White & Lazy”) to the Australian Replacements tribute CD, “I’m in Love…With That Song: 23 Australian Bands Pay Tribute to the Genius of the Replacements”.

You Am I
Hard to believe there are still tickets for the June 3 show, last night = best night, you’ll be sorry when you miss it…

Enter to Win a Shitload of Replacements Stuff from Rhino!
If you missed seeing The Replacements on their recent tour (silly, silly you), quit your cryin’! We’re gonna make it all better by offering you the chance to win THE COMPLETE STUDIO ALBUMS 1981-1990 boxed set, a copy of the best-selling, sold-out, and deleted Alex Chilton Record Store Day 10″, AND a copy of the 33 1/3 book, written by The Decemberists’ Colin Meloy, on the band’s classic LET IT BE album. Contest ends May 27, 2105.

Found on Instagram, creepy or cool? Or both?

Paul Westerberg mask. #thereplacements ✂️

A photo posted by Thom U (@wonderpulp) on



Festival Pier, Philadelphia, PA | May 9, 2015

Replacements Festival Pier

Photo by The Festival Pier at Penn’s Landing

A beautiful setting for the final* show of the Back By Unpopular Demand Tour, on the river by the Ben Franklin Bridge, do click on the photo above to see the full-size image.
(*final regularly-scheduled show; the Pittsburgh and Columbus shows are still awaiting make-up dates).

Philadelphia set list

Photo by Brad Searles

Set List

Takin a Ride | Favorite Thing | I Don’t Know/Buck Hill/I Don’t Know | Tommy Gets His Tonsils Out/Third Stone From the Sun | Kissin’ in Action | I’m in Trouble | Election Day (1/2 song) | Little Mascara | Hold My Life | Valentine | Nobody | Kiss Me on the Bus | Androgynous/Seen Your Video | Seen Your Video | I Will Dare | Wake Up | Borstal Breakout | Within Your Reach | Can’t Hardly Wait | Bastards of Young | My Boy Lollipop | Never Mind
Left of the Dial | Alex Chilton
Encore 2:

“Borstal Breakout” finally gets played – and on a night when it didn’t appear on the printed set list.  This show may have had the most divergence from printed set list to actual set list, if for no other reason than they played half of “Election Day”.  I don’t think anyone had that one in their office set list pool.  Asked to pick between “Seen Yer Video” and “Androgynous”, the audience predictably opted for both; the band unpredictably tried to play them both at the same time. “Hold My Life” was an audience request, with Paul saying to someone right up front in the crowd “You’ve been asking for that for 4 days in a row…We don’t know it, but we’ll fucking try it.” And so they did.

Nice review from Welcome Back, ‘Mats: The Replacements at Festival Pier

The band’s capacity to create chaos and then reel it back in was best exemplified when Westerberg, who had earlier name checked the ‘80s Philadelphia after hours club the Black Banana, honor requests for both “Seen Your Video” and “Androgynous” by having two members play each song simultaneously. It sounded horrible. But whereas the old ‘Mats would have left it at that, the new followed with “Seen” in it entirety, its raspy voiced expression of refusal of mainstream banality as applicable in 2015 as in 1984: “Seen you video / Your phony rock and roll / We don’t want to know!”

Just as the Replacements were falling apart in the early ‘90s, another band that explored themes of frightening self-doubt called Nirvana were exploding with a ferocity that would tragically destroy them. In comparison, the Replacements were torch carriers who didn’t even go down in flames but simply faded away.

But all those songs that were never added to alt-rock radio playlists – like the superbly sketched domestic drama “Little Mascara” (“All you ever wanted, was someone to take care of ya / All you’re ever losing is a little mascara”) sounded remarkably fresh under the stars at Penn’s Landing. Raucous rock and roll about yearning for authentic human experience never goes out of style, and it helps enormously when an expert band is finally taking its music as seriously as it deserves to be. Welcome back, ‘Mats. Long may you rock.

Shirt Watch Day 15 (to be continued in Europe)
paul's shirt #15

Front message: I HAVE ALWAYS LOVE
Back message: NOW I MUST WHORE MY