An individual exhibiting such uniqueness or individuality that he or she will cause a roomful of bar cronies to exclaim, "That's one interesting motherfucker!" Actual sexual relations with one's mother are not required.
One of science fiction's hoariest premises is the well intentioned time traveler who journeys into the past to correct some mistake of history - like the birth of Streisand - and warps reality horribly out of shape. It is my belief that the nightmare we find ourselves enduring today is the result of some fan of the Eighties College Rock Scene who discovered the secret of time travel and went back to 1985 to ensure that The Replacements were signed to Sire Records. It wasn't meant to happen! But it did and just look at how messed up our world is now - Bob Dole never got to be President, Jay Leno has Johnny Carson's show, we still haven't used thermonuclear weapons against the Columbian drug lords, and I'm not Katie Couric's new boyfriend! Damn you, Eighties College Rock Scene Fan Time Traveler! God damn your black soul!
you may have noticed from the big black letters at the top of the page
- What those of us in the writing game call the "title" - this is a Replacements
article about Bob and Tommy Stinson, neither one of whom are Paul Westerberg.
The typical Replacements article is ninety eight percent Paul The Sensitive
Lil' Artist and then a little bit about Bob and Tommy the crazy drunks
who were always falling down and breaking things. When will we as a society
move on from our narrow minded prejudice against crazy drunks who are
always falling down and breaking things - When, Lord, When!? Yes, Mister
Westerberg writes very nice lyrics and when he raises his voice in song
The Nightingales lower their heads in shame ( The Nightingales were a
punk band from Oklahoma who forever live in shame that they can't even
sing as well as Paul Westerberg ), but if good songwriting and singing
meant anything there would never have been any need to invent rock and
roll in the first place. Or to use his own words against him - We don't
care what you say, not tomorrow, not todaaayyy! Pretty good rhythm guitar
player, though. Bob and Tommy, however, were The Ultimate Masters Of Fast
Funny Noisy Punk Rock Guitar Playin'. There are plenty of really good
Heavy Metal, Blues, Jazz, etc. lead and bass guitarists but everybody
knows Punk Rock is better than all that garbage. Metal is cool and had
circumstances been just a little different that's what Bob and Tommy would
have been happy to play. And if circumstances had been just a little bit
different Bob would still be . . . ( Saleeby turns to the camera real
dramatic like the dude on "America's Most Wanted" ) . . . ALIVE!!! ( Ominous
chords. Naw, Bob ain't here to play em, so screw it. )
Bob ( 1959 - 1995 ) and Tommy ( 1966 - 2147 ), Butthead Bluesmen Of The Wrong End Of The Mississippi, were born in Minnesota just like Bob Dylan, Prince, and some other eighties punk bands we Replacements fans refuse to acknowledge the existance of. Ma Stinson, a bartender in a Minneapolis rock club, was one of those Single Mom's we're all supposed to have so much goddam admiration for and, just to prove Hillary Clinton right, it wasn't long before The Village packed Bob off to The Big Home For Bad Boys where he learned how to drink, do drugs, and play guitar. Speaking in behalf of Punk Rock fans everywhere: Thank you, Minnesota Tax Payers, Thank You! ( That almost makes up for that creepy Paul Wellstone. And Walter Mondale. Oh yeah, and Hubert Humphrey,too. And that Jesse Ventura jack ass. Boy, Minnesota - You sure are one wacky place! ) Once released to the custody of big dirty empty house, Bob found that little brother Tommy had turned out to be quite the hooligan himself and figured that if he had to cut Tommy in on the booze and the drugs, the little creep could at least learn to play the bass to earn his keep. "Gee, maybe if we learn to play really, really good maybe one day we'll have a really cool band and maybe . . . just maybe . . . maybe Mom will pay attention to us." This would have been pretty depressing if Bob and Tommy hadn't turned out to be so talented. If you don't appreciate such musical greats as Ace Frehley, Ted Nugent, Joe Perry and whoever played bass for Ace Frehley, Ted Nugent, and Joe Perry you probably haven't been able to make it through this sentence long enough to get to the part about Bob and Tommy but here it is anyway - They were brilliant. Any band they would have played together in would have been magnificent regardless of who was singing or writing the songs. Sometimes I think they would have been better off if they had hooked up with some dime a dozen, screaming meemie acrobat and called themselves Van Stinson. The Replacements came together in 1979 when Bob and Tommy were in the garage getting loaded and playing with their band Dogbreath which specialized in playing their favorite tunes by Ted Nugent and Yes reallyreallyreally fast and featured another teenage alcoholic high school drop out named Chris Mars on the drums. A very talented guitarist, singer, and writer as well as drummer, Chris would have one day been widely recognized for his rare creativity if only one night Dogbreath had not been visited by yet another teenage alcoholic high school drop out (A big round of applause for the Minneapolis Public School system, everybody! ) named Paul Westerberg. Today Chris is a nationally respected painter and sculptor. No, really! Not like when they say the guy who played bass in The Clash is now a respected painter and we just pretend to take it seriously because he's a nice guy. The Clash - They were sooooo nice!
Along with R.E.M., ( Hey! Am I allowed to follow a period with a comma?) The Replacements were the leading stars of what became known as "College Rock" which became known as "Alternative Rock" which is now known as "Shit Kids Listen To That I Don't Want To Know About". But it was pretty cool for a while there, The Replacements were the greatest and, believe it or not, in those days you could listen to R.E.M. without wanting to make a fertilizer bomb and blowing up an art gallery.
But crazy, funny, fucked up bands like The New York Dolls, The Sex Pistols, and The Replacements can only go on so long before something terrible happens like a drug overdose, a car crash, or a reggae song. So if The Replacements hadn't signed that big money contract with Sire, they probably would have just fallen apart and gotten a chance to do whatever the guys from Drivin' N' Cryin' are up to these days. Bob's heroic insistence on playing nothing but bad ass punk music didn't fit into the Corporate Office's plans for turning Westerberg into Peter Frampton and Bob was fired. Official Reason - Drugs. Well, if that ain't the Pot callin' the Parsely green! After dumping Bob, The Replacements made one great album and two more which should have convinced all of us that Mom and Dad were right about booze and drugs making you stupid. Guess it's not as easy as Cheap Trick made it look, huh?
Meanwhile . . . "Attention! Attention! Bob Stinson is attacking the city of Minneapolis! The city of Minneapolis must be evacuated immediately!! Attention! Attention! Bob Stinson is tearing down the power lines and it sounds like the guitar solo on 'Take Me Down To The Hospital' Danger! Danger!" Having been thrown out by his wife as well as his band ( The couple had a son who had been born severely handicapped because he had a chemical disposal plant for a father. Yeah, kids - Drugs are GREAT!! ) Bob spent the final days of his life wandering the streets of Minneapolis asking total strangers "Hi, I'm Bob from The Replacements! Wanna buy me a beer?" This apparently worked and to this day there are guys roaming the mid west bumming drinks, meals, and fresh laundry with the ol' "Hi, I'm Bob from The Replacements" trick. Poor ol' Bob's Final Words - "Bury me next to a radio, I don't want to miss Dr. Laura. How different the lives of Tommy and I might have been if only the timeless wisdom she espouses had not fallen out of favor in the soulless times we were so unfortunate as to have been born!" No, really. Look it up.
If Bob's death wasn't much a surprise to anybody, Tommy's current position as bass player in Axl Rose's new Guns N' Roses line up has most Replacements fans carrying on as if he was new band leader on the Jerry Springer Show. Hey, if those people really care so much about Tommy Stinson why didn't more of 'em go to the record store to buy the record he made with his band, Bash N' Pop? I bought it and I say, "If Tommy wants to be in a really big popular band he's earned it." You don't have his Bash N' Pop album in your collection? Shut the fuck up awready. Nobody in the entire history of rock music has earned the right to a gigantic L.A. mansion and a collection of European sports cars the way Tommy Stinson has. If your silly little teen idol Kurt Cobain had recorded eight Nirvana albums that never sold more than a hundred thousand copies, then recorded another great album with another great band that nobody bought you bet you ass he'd be thrilled to be playing guitar in Guns N' Roses. That, of course, ignores the fact that he wasn't good enough to play in Guns N' Roses, but he'd sure be beggin' for an audition. One thing's for sure - Bob would be thrilled to see Tommy playing in Guns N' Roses. Maybe if he was still alive Axl would have asked Bob to join up, too. Hey! What if, instead of being in The Replacements, the Dogbreath Boys had done the traditional teenage alcoholic high school drop out thing and run away to Los Angeles around the same time Axl Rose and Izzy Stradlin came in from Indiana? Now, THAT would be something worth traveling into the past to set up!
There! And I got all the way through it without mentioning Alex Chilton even once!
John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines Schmuck.com, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
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