Replacements — Well, Some Of Them — Reunite For New Songs

Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson team up for two new tracks.

The Pixies have buried the hatchet, and now it seems that another 1980s band no one thought would ever reunite has apparently done just that — well, some members, anyway. Legendary ’80s Minneapolis rockers the Replacements have recorded two new songs for an upcoming greatest hits album, Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was?: The Best of the Replacements, which is due out June 13.

In addition to songs selected from every one of the band’s seven albums and their 1982 Stink EP, the 20-track compilation features two new songs recorded in December by singer/guitarist Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson accompanied by session drummer Josh Freese, according to a Rhino press release. The first new songs from the band in 16 years are “Message to the Boys” and “Pool & Dive,” which Westerberg wrote specifically for inclusion on the compilation.

Former guitarist Slim Dunlap — who replaced original guitarist Bob Stinson, who died of a drug overdose in 1995 — did not participate in the sessions, although former drummer Chris Mars chimed in with backing vocals.

Known for their DIY ethic, notoriously unhinged live shows and huge influence on the 1980s alt-rock scene, the ‘Mats never achieved significant commercial success. But many of the beloved tales of rumpled dead-enders and never-been’ers that fans fell in love with, such as “Color Me Impressed,” “I Will Dare,” “Unsatisfied” and “Here Comes the Regular” show up on Don’t You Know. A 2-CD set entitled All for Nothing … Nothing for All featuring several of those songs plus rarities and outtakes was released in 1997.

According to a recent Rhinocast podcast interview with Tommy Stinson, still in the works is a comprehensive box set that will feature all of the band’s albums along with bonus tracks and “things that have been in the vault for a while.”

Stinson said both he and Westerberg have been listening to tapes and outtakes to find material to include in the set, which is also slated to include a DVD with a number of the band’s live performances from “Saturday Night Live” to England’s “Old Grey Whistle Test” music show. A series of expanded reissues of the band’s albums is also in the works, but not yet scheduled.

Though rumors have floated for years that the Replacements might get back together, animosities and divergent career paths have frequently scuttled the reunion. Since the band’s breakup in 1991, Mars has increasingly focused on his painting, Westerberg has toggled between writing his signature earnest, singer/songwriter pop tunes and grittier, bluesy albums under the name Grandpa Boy, while Stinson has fronted a series of power pop outfits (Bash & Pop, Perfect) and has been a member of Guns N’ Roses for the past eight years. Dunlap has recorded a pair of solo CDs since the Replacements’ acrimonious split.

Stinson said in the Rhinocast interview that the thaw in his relationship with Westerberg began when the former Replacements singer called Stinson in to play bass on the soundtrack to the animated film “Open Season,” which Westerberg is scoring. Stinson said that gig led to him being asked to score the upcoming Jennifer Garner romantic comedy “Catch and Release.” There was no word at press time whether the new songs would lead to any other new recordings or live appearances.

The full track list for Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was?

  • “Takin a Ride”

  • “Shiftless When Idle”

  • “Kids Don’t Follow”

  • “Color Me Impressed”

  • “Within Your Reach”

  • “I Will Dare”

  • “Answering Machine”

  • “Unsatisfied”

  • “Here Comes a Regular”

  • “Kiss Me on the Bus”

  • “Bastards of Young”

  • “Left of the Dial”

  • “Alex Chilton”

  • “Skyway”

  • “Can’t Hardly Wait”

  • “Achin’ To Be”

  • “I’ll Be You”

  • “Merry Go Round”

  • “Message to the Boys”

  • “Pool & Dive”

Often guilty, never convicted. 15 years behind bars at MTV News.