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An Open Letter to Paul Westerberg

Dear Paul Westerberg,

I know you probably get this all the time – everyone from record label execs to 8 year old kids must have told you what a genius you are, how the Replacements changed their lives, how much they liked that song from Singles, et cetera. I think all I can hope to do is add my voice to the chorus …

The thing is that listening to the Replacements and your solo stuff makes me feel like I’m fourteen again. That was the last time I remember listening to a band and loving them so much that I wanted to dress like them, style my hair like them, start a tribute band featuring their music, name my kids after their songs. You get the point. The first music I put on most mornings is yours. A first date? “Love Untold”. Second date? “Dyslexic Heart”. On tour with my band, away from my girl? “Answering Machine”. And if I could die having written only one song, it would hopefully sound a lot like “First Glimmer”.

I’m not sure I can explain myself clearly when I tell you how happy I am that you’ve written this music – how happy it makes me to know that you’re alive and walking around the same streets as everyone else. The fact that you’re a part of this era, right now, my time and not my parents’ time, that you haven’t checked out or burned up or given in, or walked into a river and drowned, is thrilling to me. Probably more thrilling to you though, I would imagine. I guess my point is that the music that you’re making, it’s not like Jimi Hendrix’s or Clapton’s, or Zeppelin or the Who – bands that I love, artists that I love, but ones that I could never feel any ownership in, any PRIDE in. Your music … I feel like it belongs to me and my friends, while Hendrix belongs to my parents. I can read my parents’ books and love them, but they’re not my books. Tim, Let It Be, 14 Songs, Eventually … THOSE are MY fucking books. I don’t know if I’m making myself perfectly clear; shit, I don’t know if that’s even possible when talking about music.

God damn, you know I was listening to “Baby Learns to Crawl” and I had this thought: “Wait. J-just … okay. Just hang on a SECOND. You mean … I bought this record, I have it RIGHT NOW, and I can listen to it whenever I want to? I don’t have to pay an admission fee or register my name with the state or pay sixty bucks for a bag of blow to fucking FEEL this way? All I have to do is listen to this music? Fuck you, there’s a catch.” There’s no catch. You’re that good. Thank you for what you do.


Philip Galitzine


  • pzp says:

    gorgeous letter, Phil. and i bet you nailed the sentiments of a whole bunch of us.

  • TC says:

    the ownership take is spot on – there are some bands you like, but they are not in your everday life. PW’s music from day one has been close to the vest of the common guy,everyday. In fact, it would seem slightly out of place in stadium, or at Monterey or Woodstock in front of thousands. It’s better realized coming out of shitty speakers in your used car, on the way to the job you hate or the girl you are trying to impress. And when all of that goes away, it’s waiting for you on your 15yr old stereo system accompanied by your fav. well brand and Coke mixer…
    side comment – the solo tour from a few yrs ago was the most pure music experience you can have. on the stage, on the couch, screwing up lyrics and starting over when needed. it’s too bad a generation wth no real alternative music media to turn them on and corp. radio with shit playlist will never know…