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Westerberg's Back..."Eventually"

June 7, 1996 -- The Replacements may be a part of punk-pop history by now, but band-leader Paul Westerberg is back on the scene with his second solo album, called "Eventually" -- which is out exactly 3 years after his first solo album, "14 Songs." Alison Stewart welcomed him back.

STEWART: Drifting away from his garage guitar past, Paul Westerberg has returned, looking dapper and daring to release a pretty pop record called "Eventually.

PAUL WESTERBERG: I think I would have liked this record when I was in my teens but I would have been afraid to tell everyone that I liked it. But it has that quality of, like, old Carly Simon records or something that... I've always loved that stuff but I had to pretend for a good ten years that that wasn't cool. It was like, ah no. Those records went way to the back of your collection.

ALISON STEWART: So many people describe pop songs. They always put the word "little" or "silly.

WESTERBERG: A silly little pop song.

STEWART: Why be so dismissive of the pop song?

WESTERBERG: It depends where you are. I think in England they have a better perception of what pop is. To me, pop embodies it all. You know, rock and roll is part of pop. I think people are afraid to make a catchy tune.

STEWART: What are the elements of a catchy tune?

WESTERBERG: For me, it gives me goose bumps. I mean, that's how I know if I've got something that's good, and you want to hear it again as soon as it's over. I mean, you ever bought records like that? You listen to one song and its like bang, bang, bang, again and again and again.

STEWART: The Replacements, Westerberg's former band, wrote many of those kind of songs and often played them stoned drunk -- but now at thirty six, Paul's left both the band and booze behind. (To Westerberg) May I ask you about your sobriety?

WESTERBERG: Sure.

STEWART: Did it change the way you wrote?

WESTERBERG: No, but it changed... I was

able to tell if I wrote a piece of crap really quick. When you're drunk, you can't tell. You think it's good and you might be drunk the next day when you hear it again, and you might be drunk every day when you record it, and then one day you sober up and six years later... and it's like, "That's no good.

STEWART: Unfortunately, founding member of The Replacements, Bob Stinson never sobered up and died last year of substance abuse. He is remembered in Westerberg's ballad "Good Day." (To Westerberg) Is "Good Day" written about Bob?

WESTERBERG: Well it... Bob helped me finish it. Let's just leave it at that.

STEWART: "Eventually" is Paul Westerberg's best work yet. That according to Paul Westerberg who makes this offer to those listeners who might not agree with him.

WESTERBERG: You're gonna like it. You know, if you like it now, great. If you don't, hang on to it, in five years play it again. It' s like, ya know, if you don't like it by then, I'll come and

give you your money back.