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 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.
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.
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.”
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!
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.
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”.
“Trouble Boys,” Bob Mehr’s thoroughly researched and eminently readable biography of The Replacements, is the type of book any band (or any artist of any kind, for that matter) would kill for. Assembled over a decade from some 230 interviews, it gives the ragged Minneapolis rockers a fairer shake than even they themselves might’ve thought they deserved. It’s a monumental tribute to a group that never quite made it. The reasons for that is the central question and subject of this book.
With anthems of failure and frustration like “Unsatisfied,” The Replacements were one of the great could’ve-beens in rock history. But by asking all the conceivable questions of anyone involved, Mehr paints a more complex picture than that of a band that just didn’t live up to expectations. When he was a kid, Westerberg scoured the library for books about show biz. He was especially taken by the story of P.T. Barnum. So when it was his turn in the limelight, he made sure it was a circus. The fact that it made some of the crowd happy and some of it horrified was all part of the show.
Equal parts Greek Tragedy, J.D. Salinger short story and John Updike novel, Mehr gets out of the way and allows the principals to tell their own tales and then seamlessly stitches all the pieces together in 520 pages to show how any other outcome than what transpired was unthinkable as well as impossible. But still, reading accounts of Bob Stinson’s harrowing abuse at the hands of his stepfather, you hope for a different outcome, even knowing full well the facts of the story. When Bob finally succumbs to a life of hard living at the age of 35, it’s like a foregone conclusion.
In the excellent epilogue, Trouble Boys takes us all the way through the band’s 2013 successful but ultimately turbulent reunion, inspired initially when Westerberg and Stinson got to together to record an EP to pay for Dunlap’s medical bills after he suffered a series of strokes. While they balked at first, Dunlap insisted from his hospital bed in a strong, unslurred voice that his former bandmates “go play.”
But the story doesn’t end there. Mehr takes us through Westerberg’s hard won sobriety, his two divorces and six solo albums as well as becoming a card-carrying member of the Sandwich Generation; caring for his young son and dying father.
Mehr injects a searing humanity into the rather unlovable character that emerged in the earlier chapters of Trouble Boys. He does similar justice to Stinson’s, Dunlap’s and Mars’ lives; wrapping up all the loose ends and histories, showing how they all fared post-Replacements. In the end, Mehr’s book is as much mystery novel as it is rock biography with an O. Henry ending, like Westerberg’s best solo songs. Which is really no ending at all.
Bob did an interview with Mary Lucia on the Current and you watch it on Facebook (I have thrown in the towel on figuring out how to make embedding Facebook video work on this site).
Interview Part 1 | Part 2
And there’s a promo video for the book: “In this short film – filled with new, vintage and unseen footage — Mehr discusses the challenges and journey of writing the book, and telling the Replacements’ story in full for the first time.”