Like the Velvet Underground before them, whose influence has grown
and grown exponentially the longer they've been gone, the cult of the
Replacements continues to grow beyond anything they experienced while the band
So, if you missed the shambling Minneapolis rockers the
first time around, when they wrote the kinds of bootstrap punk rock songs ("I
Will Dare," "Takin' a Ride," "Unsatisfied") that, like the Velvets best,
launched a thousand other bands, Reprise Records is preparing a cheat
sheet of the bands' best and most sought-after work from their years on the
Still in the working stages, two seperate CDs (October
21), which Reprise Associate Director of A&R Michael Hill referred to jokingly
as "Misses" and "Worst Misses" in a nod to the band's poor sales
at the time and the recently-released Joni Mitchell CD collections (Hits
and Misses), will be broken up into a sampler of their better-known
songs from the four Reprise albums and another CD or rarities and outtakes.
"The first one will be 16 tracks, four each from the Reprise albums," said
Hill, describing them as a sort of "sampler" to introduce new fans to the
'Mats' quartet of major-label albums, Tim, Pleased to Meet Me,
Don't Tell a Soul and their 1990 swan song, All Shook Down. "For
the uninitiated, it's the best way to get into that period of the Replacements'
career," said Hill, who hoped that the 16-song taster might get fence-sitters
and new fans interested enough to seek out the full albums.
reluctant to divulge which songs will be on the first disc, Hill did say that
Reprise President Howie Klein took to the 'Net a few months ago to solicit
ideas from 'Mats' hardcores and that a "lot of the usual suspects" will crop up
on the first collection.
The second CD is the one Hill says will contain
the songs fans have been asking for for years. Scheduled to be included are
rarities such as "Let's Go To Church" (the b-side to "I'll Be You"), and
selections from the promo-only EP Don't Buy or Sell, It's Crap,
hard-to-find songs including "Election Day" and "Jungle Rock" from the
Pleased to Meet Me sessions, and some unreleased and European-only
single b-sides that fans are familiar with (and have probably paid big bucks
for) such as "Beer for Breakfast," "Birthday Gal," "Portland" and "Wake Up."
Hill says another revelation on some of the tracks being considered is the
more humorous side of the band that never made it onto their Reprise efforts.
Those songs include the Bob Dylan homage "Like a Rollin' Pin," "Kissin' In
Action," "All He Wants To Do Is Fish," by drummer Chris Mars and a version of
"Cool, Cool Water" (a Sons of the Pioneers cover) that was the b-side to their
Big Star tribute "Alex Chilton." Another rare track being tossed around for
inclusion is a Tommy Stinson-penned and sung tune from the Don't Buy EP
Although currently only singer Paul Westerberg is
involved in compiling tracks...
Although currently only singer Paul Westerberg is involved
in compiling tracks and approving selections, Hill says 'Mat-mate Stinson "has
been made aware" of the project and will likely contribute some input, but that
former drummer Chris Mars, who was booted from the band before their demise,
was not yet contacted and isn't involved for now. Hill does hope to solicit
commentary and anecdotes from a number of people involved with the band over
the years for the CD booklet, including producers, managers, roadies, club
owners and maybe even some folks at their previous label, Minneapolis'
Twin/Tone, for which they recorded their first four records from 1981 to
Speaking of Twin/Tone, that label's co-founder, Peter Jesperson, who
discovered the band in May of 1980 and later managed and produced their first
four albums, says he was pretty surprised that Reprise was planning a
retrospective that didn't include some of the band's seminal early work for
Twin/Tone. "They (Reprise) contacted me and asked for my two cents," Jesperson
said, "but it's interesting that they never broached the idea of doing a
Considering the band recorded what most fans consider
to be their magnum opus for Twin/Tone, 1984's Let It Be, in addition to
their 1981 debut, Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash as well as
The Replacements Stink and Hootenanny, Jesperson said that in
some ways he's "kind of glad" Reprise has left him out of the loop. "Dealing
with all the corporateness of it all would be a big pain in the butt," he said.
"When we compile the Twin/Tone stuff it will be a lot of fun. We've got a lot
more stuff than Warner's (Reprise's parent company) does."
Included in the
estimated 100-plus tapes Jesperson is sitting on are basement rehearsal tapes,
live tracks, studio outtakes, interviews and alternate versions, most of which
have never seen the light of day. "We haven't even discussed it," Jesperson
said, of a possible Twin/Tone compilation. "And, frankly, I was also surprised
Reprise was doing this because not even ten years have gone by since the band
broke up and they're already being anthologized. I thought it would happen
eventually... but not now, not yet. I never thought Paul (Westerberg) would
agree to it."
If, and when Twin/Tone does decide to open its vaults,
Jesperson suspects the contents will depend on what "the boys" want to include,
although he fully expects to be the one who will (gladly) listen to the tapes.
"Some of that stuff none of us even remember. It would be a real trip down
memory lane to listen to all that stuff. I imagine we'd even shed some tears
going back and remembering that stuff, since it was such an intense time for
everybody, especially for Tommy who was so young at the time."
Jesperson said that while the Reprise compilations should satisfy some fans, he
added it will leave a "gaping hole" in the story of the Replacements.