In a 2015 interview with Rice and Bread Magazine, James Alex of Beach Slang discussed his love for the Mats and for PTMM: Beach Slang’s James Alex still inspired by The Replacements’ Pleased to Meet Me
Beach Slang‘s James Alex says one of his most influential albums comes from a band his own group has been compared to countless times, The Replacements. The ‘Mats’ 1987 album, Pleased to Meet Me, not only gave Alex the songwriting push he needed to take Beach Slang to the next step, it also features one of his all-time favourite songs. But maybe not the one you’d think?
James Alex: “This is shooting from the hip, and I could answer right now and probably change my mind in 10 minutes, but in this moment in time that we’re talking right now, I could definitely hit you with a favourite record. Pleased to Meet Me by The Replacements has always been really huge for me. I like everything by them since the beginning, but something about when they got to this album and [guitarist/vocalist Paul] Westerberg’s songwriting started to go into a place I’m more drawn to as a songwriter. Stink and Sorry Ma had that really punk attack, and I subscribe to the spirit of that, and I love the songs on those albums, and those records mean so much to me, but as a songwriter I really dig on the direction they went with Pleased to Meet Me. A song like “Never Mind” has always meant so much to me. I just got asked by someone about my favourite song of all time, and while that’s totally impossible to answer, I can think of the one that really lifted me up as a writer for the Beach Slang stuff, and that’s “Never Mind” on this record. Then there’s “Alex Chilton” and “The Ledge,” and they cut the album in Memphis with [producer] Jim Dickinson, and with all of the Big Star interconnectivity on the album, so it just felt like it all came together on that record. All the cool things they were thinking and believing in, it just sort of all hit perfectly on this record.”
Last weekend at The Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, Beach Slang played PTMM in its entirety, as part of a fundraiser for the Sweet Relief Musicians Fund. Craig Finn joined them for a rousing “Can’t Hardly Wait”.