From 6/14/2013: This week I heard some news that made me cautiously optimistic about the state of music: the surviving members of the Replacements will perform together on stage for the first time since July 4, 1991. For those who don't know -- or, perhaps, don't remember -- The Replacements formed in Minneapolis in the late 70s. According to drummer Chris Mars, the band's name reflected their sense of a secondary status: "Like maybe the main act doesn't show, and instead the crowd has to settle for an earful of us dirtbags" [Azerrad, Michael. Our Band Could Be Your Life. 2001. p. 199]. They were never commercially successful, but they did receive critical accolades and have been cited as a major influence for many bands.
The Replacements (or, simply, The 'Mats to their fans) are probably my favorite of what I call the "sloppy" American rock & roll bands. Their sound was informed by a combination of the arena blues-rock of their collective youth and the post-punk that was in vogue when they took up their own instruments. Now, they never achieved a high level of proficiency as musicians during their time together, but they did evolve from garden variety garage band to a genuinely tight if oft-times shabby outfit. Their songs touched upon the pains of growing up, hating your job, and relationship issues, and they did so in their own loud but tuneful manner. I've chosen three songs from their 12+ year career. I hope they are among the setlist for Riot Fest Chicago. Read and hear more after the break. And if you're interested, you can download a copy of the Replacements' last show in Philadelphia, played July 28, 1987.