The Replacements

The Replacements' Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash

By John Saleeby
Jan 1, 2007

Acid Logic readers should have caught on by now that I'm a windy old bastard and, if keeping these articles down to proper length has always been a problem, doing one about My Favorite Band The Replacements without going on and on like your Poor Ol' Grandpappy harpin' on hittin' Omaha Beach on D-Day has proven damn near impossible. At least he got to march in a Ticker Tape Parade. All The Replacements have to show for their struggles is a "Best Of" compilation CD on Rhino Records. Shit! But there's a healthy precedent for attempting a Replacements article here. A few years ago I wrote an Interesting Motherfuckers about Bob and Tommy Stinson that had so many Replacements fans sending friendly e mails that if I had any sense at all I would have gotten a Wife out of it (I was holding out for any chicks that wrote in about my Interesting Motherfuckers about David Lee Roth or Inoshira Honda. I know better now).

But am I really the only Replacements fan who thinks "Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash", their first album, is one of their very Best? I bet there are a lot of Replacements fans who've never even heard "Sorry Ma". If you are a Replacements fan and getting a little bored with "Let It Be", "Tim", or "Pleased To Meet Me" (It's been more than TWENTY YEARS, for God's Sake!), give "Sorry Ma" a chance before you do something rash like buying a Fall Out Boy CD. And if you've never heard The Replacements before I'd say that "Sorry Ma" is a damn good place to start. Although, if you've never heard The Replacements after all these years you're such a retard that you'll probably like "Don't Tell A Soul"! Haw haw haw!! That's a little "Replacements Fan Humor" for you. Well, we're funnier than those Husker Du mopes!

The Party Line on "Sorry Ma" is that it's just a lotta stupid Punk Rock bullshit they slopped together before somebody played Paul Westerberg an Alex Chilton record and they finally got their act together. This is not Kosher! Saying The Replacements started off lame and then got better is as backward as picking "Rock The Casbah" as your Favorite Clash Song. The Truth is that The Replacements were Fantastic from Day One, stayed Fantastic for quite a while, and then turned to crap as suddenly as the Dinosaurs disappeared. Did Minneapolis get hit by a Giant Meteor or something? Somebody look that up.

Uh, one question from a guy who's never been to Minnesota and wouldn't go there if Apollonia's Teenage Daughter promised me a piece of ass - Did all the girls Westerberg was always writing songs about talk like those "Fargo" bitches? Cause if they did I would have been too busy shoving chicks into wood chippers to write any songs or start any bands. Damn, no wonder them Husker Du dudes are homos.

Not even The Replacements like "Sorry Ma"! I saw them play three times and they didn't do a single song off of it! The first two times I was having too much fun listening to them play songs off of "Let It Be", "Tim", and "Pleased To Meet Me" to get bummed out over it but the third time was on the "Don't Tell A Soul" Tour and listening to them plod through songs on that Great Big Piece O' Nothin' gave me plenty of time to sulk "Shoot! 'Don't Ask Why' or 'Careless' or 'More Cigarettes' would be better to listen to than this!" I would have  started yelling "'Downtown'!!" or "'Takin' A Ride'!!!" but was too busy hollering "'FREEBIRD'!!!" instead. Hey, it was The Eighties! That was still funny!

Did they ever play those songs live? "Sorry Ma" is from the days when The Replacements were known more for playing funny cover versions of "Iron Man" and "I Will Follow" than anything they had written. Hell, not only did they not play any songs from "Sorry Ma" when I saw The Replacements but they didn't even play "Iron Man" or "I Will Follow"! I coulda went to see Tracey Chapman and had more opportunities to throw chairs at people. I turned my nose up at Speed Metal for this? Was Westerberg reluctant to play these songs because they were written when he was just a doofus High School Drop Out in a crummy band with three other losers and it would be at least two years until people were writing magazine articles about what a Hifalootin' Artistic Genius he was? But I don't like to talk to people about Songwriting because they always come up with crazy names like Randy Newman or Warren Zevon and then I start throwing chairs and wind up flat on my back in a puddle of my own blood while they 're singing "The Kingfish" or "Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner" in my face. Just once I'm going to win the fight and get to sing "Tie Your Mother Down" or "I Want You To Want Me" in some imbecile's face - Just ONCE!!

I bet every one of the songs on "Sorry Ma" is at least as good as the ones Westerberg wrote for that Big Hit Animated Motion Picture that just came out. Hey, now that he's a Hollywood Big Shit Westerberg ought to make an animated movie entitled "Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take out The Trash". Nobody but John Saleeby has heard any of the songs on the album so everybody will think he just wrote em. It'll be great! It's My Idea so I get to write the script and make jokes about Randy Newman and Warren Zevon on the DVD commentary track. 

So forget about the songs, let's really defy Replacements Article Tradition and talk about Bob Stinson's guitar playing - "Sorry Ma" showcases Bob At His Best! Yeah, it's all based on Ted Nugent and Ace Frehley, but Bob took off from there and made something totally new and original - Five years before anybody ever heard about Slash! Ha!

Speaking of Guns N' Roses (Which I always like to do because it makes R.E.M. fans roll their eyes, cross their arms, and stamp their feet), seems to me that any of the songs on "Sorry Ma" would have sounded one heck of a lot better on "The Spaghetti Incident" than "Hair Of The Dog" or that stupid Soundgarden "I'm gonna FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK - FUCK YOU!!!" thing. I bet that's why Izzy quit. Okay, now even I am sick of the Guns N' Roses stuff. But it sure beats Yoko Ono jokes!

But getting back to Bob, "Sorry Ma" came out in 1982 and the presence of First Rate Electric Guitar Solos on the record may have been regarded as a negative by many of those wacky College Rock people. I am trying so hard to keep from making a Peter Buck joke right now I will probably be constipated for a month. But it's not hard to imagine those snoots listening to "Sorry Ma" and making bitchy little remarks like "Oh, what are we supposed to do now? Play AIR GUITAR!?!" or "Okay, so you practiced three hours a day for two years while everybody else was reading William Burroughs, watching Andy Warhol movies, and hanging out in the Bus Station Men's Room - YOU'RE STILL A FAT STRAIGHT WHITE GUY FROM MINNESOTA!!!" Wow, should I have been a writer for "Wil And Grace" or what?

   Oh, in addition to competent guitar solos, "Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash" has another decidedly Metal aspect which may have been unfashionable in the Early Eighties - Testosterone. At a time when The Hippest Man In Alternative Rock was David "Look Ma, No Nuts" Byrne, Westerberg is threatening "Gonna kick, kick your door down . . . Keep on knockin' . . . Keep on poundin' . . . " and you can just picture The Talking Heads smashing up their furniture to nail  over the doors and windows. This kind of blatant aggression was strictly verboten in Eighties College Rock and . . . and . . . (Saleeby runs out to the store, buys six bags of ice, dumps em into the bath tub, and sits in it for an hour to keep from writing another fourteen pages of R.E.M. jokes. Hmmm, is R.E.M. the New Yoko?) Unfortunately for The Replacements just a few years later the song would be all about how SAD Westerberg is that someone won't open their door him. He's so lonesome standing on the front porch. Alone. In the rain. With a bouquet of flowers in his hand. Wilting. With some metaphor about stray dogs. If a band with the kind of guys who liked Aerosmith and would just as soon knock the shit out of you as look at you (A couple of years ago Westerberg jumped into the audience to duke it out with a heckler and the kind of NPR Candy Asses who attend his solo audiences couldn't have been more horrified if it was King Kong busting out of his chains to climb up the Empire State Building) was going to accepted by that crowd they would have to wander onstage so loaded that they could barely stand up, much less play music. Then it would be "Cute" and "Ironic". You know, like how we used to make Black people go onstage with black paint all over their faces. I would like to think that Bob had to be talked out of doing that more than once.

Fuck, if "Sorry Ma, Forgot To take Out The Trash" had been marketed to the Hard Rock crowd it would have kicked Def Leppard and John Cougar's asses. But I'm getting carried away. No, literally. I'm getting evicted from my apartment for playing "Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take out The Trash" over and over again for the past three weeks and the Sheriff is carrying me out into the parking lot. What are you saying, Sheriff? Oh, you're taking the trash out right now. Yeah, that's pretty cute.

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, 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 -

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