Replacements Members Consider Reuniting

Stinson: 'The only reason we would ever do it would be to get paid'

replacements tommy stinson
Paul Natkin/WireImage
The Replacements in their rehearsal space in Minneapolis, Minnesota, January 1989.
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Ever since the Replacements broke up in the summer of 1991, fans have been praying for some kind of reunion. In an exclusive interview with Rolling Stone, Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg admits that he has mixed feelings about the possibility of reforming the group. "I don't know, man," he says. "You catch me on one day and I think, 'Oh hell, why not?' Tommy [Stinson] has never stopped. He's a performer. I'm more of a writer-artist, though I perform as well – or at least I used to. But, God . . . I don't know."

Replacements guitarist Bob Stinson died in 1995 and drummer Chris Mars now devotes his life to art and hasn't played drums in years – which raises a logical question. "Who are the Replacements?" asks Westerberg. "Me, Chris and Tommy? Chris wouldn't do it. He might get together in a room and sit around and shoot the shit and if there were instruments, might play. I don't know more than that. I don't think Chris would ever go out and tour. I met with him last year a couple of times just for fun. Tommy is a little more aggressive towards it, because I think he needs a gig."

Unsurprisingly, Tommy Stinson – who currently plays bass in Guns N' Roses and Soul Asylum – doesn't agree with Westerberg's assessment of the situation. "He thinks I need a gig?" Stinson says. "That's funny. I got fucking three or four gigs going at any one time. Paul likes to sit home and record in his basement, and that works for him. I like to perform. But you never know. I'm more like, if a reunion happens, it happens. If the planets align and the oceans don't swallow up the earth first."

Stinson does share some of Weterberg's reservations about a possible reunion. "Why would we do it?" he asks. "The only reason we would ever do it would be to get paid. We're not going to recapture anything. I think I could probably have fun with it though. It'd probably be a short-lived moment of having fun with it, but I ultimately think it might not be very good to try and go back."

In 2006, Westerberg and Stinson reunited the Replacements to record two new songs for a compilation LP. Session drummer Josh Freese played drums, though Mars did contribute background vocals. "From time to time we'll get together and jam just for fun," says Stinson. "We do it without any sort of expectations or anything. We didn't break up in any sort of a nasty fashion. There was no dispute or anything. We just kind of walked way from it. I'm not so sure if there's any point in really revisiting it necessarily."

While a reunion may be unlikely in the near future, Westerberg has spent a lot of time recently combing through his past for a planned box set. "On a whim I got to dig through some old tapes," he says. "I found one song I never put on anything for people to hear. Then I dug deeper and found the original 'Good Day' [from his 1996 solo LP Eventually]. That pretty much stunned me. I have to close this box set pretty soon because this could take the rest of my life just going through all these things and going, 'God, why was that there.'" 

Westerberg hasn't released any new material since his 2009 EP PW & The Ghost Gloves Cat Wing Joy Boys, and that's unlikely to change anytime soon. "I write stuff, but I haven't written much lately," he says. "I played a little saxophone last year, more or less just for something else to do. I wouldn't say I'm working on a record. I have enough stuff to release one tomorrow, but why bother? In this day and age, my thought is to make a song everyday and erase it as a sort of Dadaist protest."

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