It always amazes me how often Westerberg and The Replacements pop up in books. Here in a few-post series, I will share with you the literary ink.
From The Replacements’ Let it Be (33 1/3) by Colin Meloy (43):
What I knew of Minnesota I had gleaned from my parents’ much beloved Prairie Home Companion on NPR. NPR was ubiquitous in my mother’s house particularly, where the stereo receiver dial seemed permanently affixed to Missoula’s public radio station, and Garrison Keillor seemed to be its main spokesman. I envisioned a Minnesota very similar to Montana — small-town mentality, community minded individuals, and plenty of snow in the winter. In mind’s eye, I imagined the Replacements, the for miscreants from the cover of “Let it Be,” practicing in a garage while the variegated characters from Lake Wobegon spouted time-honored Midwestern Lutheran wisdom in kitchens and cafes beyond. And somehow the two seemed to meet.
The fact that the Replacements had to endure that sort of environment while trying to keep up a hard case punk-rock image really appealed to my predicament. They had to live through 40 below winters and frozen pipes, while surrounded by what I perceived as being a wholesome cultural backwater, the Replacements closer to me. . .
From Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto by Anneli Rufus (35-36):
Releasing a solo record in 2002 after years spent in seclusion at his Minneapolis home, The Replacements’ Paul Westerberg told the San Francisco Examiner that he had written his new songs “to entertain myself. After four years holed up in my house, I didn’t want to watch TV anymore and I was sick of reading books. So I just sat down at home and begin playing.” To the reporter, who called him “an avowed recluse,” the influential songwriter explained his own loner philosophy: “Nobody thinks so, but I actually do love the people who care about me, and if I’m in a room with them I feel very protective. If it’s a room full of chowderheads, though,” Westerberg said he will simply “walk out.”
From Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo by Andy Greenwald (73-74):
It was the busted-lip and bruised-heart blue-collar romanticism of Minneapolis’ the Replacements that made him a music fan again during his first years at L.A.’s Loyola Marymount University. Here was music that took what he liked best from punk — its snarl, its swagger, its unpretentious intelligence — but none of the its holier-than-thou smirk. The song that blew his mind and, in many ways, defined his label was the Replacements’ classic “Unsatisfied.” The song is little more than a fiercely ragged electric guitar and Paul Westerberg’s throaty howl rasping out, again and again, “I’m so unsatisfied.” There’s nothing cool about the song. It was merely undeniable. “It’s the most heartbreaking, amazing song,” raves Egan. . .
I’ve been hooked on Marc Spitz’s books lately, and from what I’ve picked up, he’s quite the ‘Mats fan.
From Too Much Too Late (306):
Sometimes I think I hear her say, Sandy, what happened to the kit? Or Sandy, you guys were almost as good as the Replacements.
Sadly, the book doesn’t have an index and I’m too damn lazy (and white) to look for the other few references.
From Nobody Likes You (70 & 95):
To paraphrase Billie Joe’s beloved Replacements, color him sort of permanently impressed.
“Seventeen and strung out on confusion…” Armstrong sings in his best Paul Westerberg-esque tone. It’s the band’s most overt homage to the Replacements.
How is Let it Be 33 1/2, anyways? I’ve heard mixed reviews of it and wanted some true ‘Mats fans’ opinions.
good spitz shout-out up there. i did a book report on spitz’s “we got the neutron bomb” when i was a freshman in high school. when my teacher graded it, she didn’t have much to say, ha ha. spitz’s stuff is fun to read, like chuck klosterman’s.
I’ll be writing about Klosterman in Wrapped up in Books, Part II which will come at some point that is not today.
As for the 33 1/3 book, er, um. I really, really wanted to like it. But Colin Meloy is a much better song writer than he is storyteller. It is, however, a really short quick read which makes it tolerable.