“Trouble Boys”: Bob Mehr Interview + Book Excerpt

It’s still 2 weeks until the official release of “Trouble Boys” on March 1, but you can whet your appetite with an exclusive book excerpt rom Rolling Stone: Inside the Replacements’ Disastrous ‘Saturday Night Live’ Debut:

By that evening the band’s reputation as a handful was clear to everyone on the show’s staff. None of the Replacements realized they’d be trapped on the eighteenth-floor set from sound check till showtime. When Warner Bros. publicist Mary Melia arrived to look in on them, Tommy, Paul, and Chris were on a dressing room couch, watching uncomfortably as Bob paced like a caged animal. “He was out of his mind to leave,” said Melia. “Bob was scary.”

To soothe the band’s nerves, soundman Monty Lee Wilkes smuggled some alcohol into the studio in a little road case. As the ‘Mats began to dip in, the show’s host said hello. When “Harry Dean stuck his head in, we asked him to have a snort,” recalled Westerberg. “He slammed the door behind him and proceeded to gulp.” Word began to circulate that the host was getting drunk mere hours before the live show. Panic ensued until a production assistant dragged Stanton out of the band’s dressing room.

Sufficiently lubricated, the ‘Mats’ dress rehearsal set went off smoothly. Bob had wowed everyone by donning a striped lady’s unitard. The only hitch occurred during “Bastards of Young” — Bob was late coming in on the solo. Westerberg would make sure he didn’t miss his cue during the live broadcast. <more>

replacements snl 1985

Alan Singer/NBC/Getty

“Trouble Boys” author Bob Mehr was interviewed in The Washington Post: ‘He wrote the definitive bio of the Replacements and got Paul Westerberg’s tooth’.  Lots of good insights into the book and the band in the interview but I had to share the tooth story (and picture):

Paul Westerberg is one of rock’s great mystery men. How did you get him to talk?
First, I made a formal pitch to Paul. He was sort of into it. I had dinner with Tommy and he said, “I’ll do it if Paul will.” As it happened, Paul and I, sort of, we had had enough substantive conversations and he had enough of a good feeling about me that he agreed. Now, that doesn’t mean he trusted me immediately. Everybody’s kind of been surprised. Why did he agree to do this? I don’t know that I have an absolute answer. I would go interview him a couple times a year and then come back to him. I think over those years of working on the book, six years in total, he ultimately, developed a real trust. Because one day in the mail he had sent me some family photos and along with the family photos he sent a tooth. One of the teeth he had had removed. A childhood molar.

Paul Westerberg sent you his tooth?
He had recently had it removed. For what, I’m not sure. Maybe you’ve got a piece of me. Either playing with my head or trying to send a message.