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.