#17 – “We’re The Replacements” (1987)

Don't Let's Start EP
L.K.: You have much stronger feelings about this song than I do; a much stronger love.
A.S.: This song rules. I honestly think it’s one of my absolute favorite TMBG tunes.  It’s always difficult to say as there are so many stellar songs, but this one will always inhabit a special place for me. After all, it’s my favorite band singing about another one of my favorite bands.  What’s not to love?
L.K.: This song didn’t really make much of an impression on me when I first heard it because I had no idea who The Replacements were… I basically missed the entire joke. The whole song has a double-meaning though in that it’s also just about the act of being a band on the road following some other band around the country at all the same clubs, night after night.
A.S.: A clever little point on Linnell’s part, although I feel like there are a lot of fans that think the song’s two main interpretations (being on the road vs. the band The Replacements) are mutually exclusive, which I think is odd.
L.K: Yeah, I mean there’s no reason one interpretation would cancel out the other. All the little bands back then were presumably playing the same grungy little clubs anyway.
A.S.: And boy were the Mats a little band playing grungy clubs – One of the definitive little bands playing grungy clubs. Even after getting their weird, minimalist videos on MTV, they still maintained that image.
L.K.: Speaking of The Replacements though… I’m guessing this song has something to do with the beginning of that ridiculous rumor that TMBG were their roadies for a time.
A.S.: The roadie thing is ridiculous considering The Replacements were from Minneapolis.
L.K.: Blame MTV for that, since they’re apparently the ones who started/spread it.
A.S.: I guess I could see the song being a bit unimpressive for those who aren’t in on the joke. It enticed me especially since I was getting into TMBG and The Replacements right around the same time in my life. Regardless however, I feel the uptempo power pop energy is a pretty irresistible feature of the song.
L.K.: This is a B-side from their first EP, right?
A.S.: Yes it is, which I’m just finding out now was released almost a year after the first LP, which seems odd
L.K.: If TMBW is to be believed, it also wasn’t played live until 1990 which also seems… odd.
A.S.: The Replacements were nearly broken up by then! Chris Mars and Bob Stinson weren’t even in the band!
L.K.: This song actually does make it to setlists fairly often though, even nowadays.
A.S.: Much to my pleasure at the Beachland last September.
L.K.: Actually, “The Famous Polka” does too… what is it with these ancient b-sides getting so much play?
A.S.: They’re just great, short, energetic live pieces.
L.K.: True enough.
A.S.: I love that scream in the middle too; a dead-on Paul Westerberg impersonation. And I love the reference to Tommy Stinson’s misadventures (explained wonderfully in Michael Azerrad’s Our Band Could Be Your Life, probably my favorite book about music). I don’t know what else to say about this one other than that it’s just a fantastic little nugget from the band’s early years, and I guess that I’d strongly encourage anyone reading who isn’t familiar to give The Replacements a listen.
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Comments
2 Responses to “#17 – “We’re The Replacements” (1987)”
  1. Lowell says:

    I was hypnotically watching this

    while listening to I Will Dare.

    And I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never really listened to The Replacements. That’ll be changing quite shortly, though!

    • Oh man, that otter is almost completely in sync with “I Will Dare”.

      Lowell, have you heard the rest of “Let It Be”? That’s always a great starting point, although really, I think anything from “Sorry Ma…” through “Pleased To Meet Me” is a good place to start in exploring the work of The Replacements.

      Also, check out these two compilation covers. Coincidence? Probably, but who knows…

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