The word is finally out on who’s replacing the missing Replacements for the legendary Minneapolis band’s three-gig reunion run that starts next weekend in Toronto.
Omnipresent Los Angeles drummer Josh Freese (Vandals, Guns N’ Roses, Devo, A Perfect Circle) will round out the lineup along with Boston guitarist David Minehan (the Neighborhoods). Both of the musicians toured with Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg during his solo outings of the early-‘90s. Freese also performed with Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson in Guns N’ Roses, and he was featured on two “new” songs recorded for the 2006 ‘Mats compilation, “Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was?”
The lineup reveal ends just some of the speculation around the reunion run. Aside from a short interview Stinson did with Rolling Stone on the subject, both he and Westerberg have remained mum on their intentions.
Westerberg’s manager, Darren Hill – who also played on the same early-‘90s tours as his bassist -- confirmed the two musicians involvement in the reunion shows, but he offered no hint of what else might be in store. There are still no hints of the band playing a hometown show before or between the three RiotFest gigs. The fact that even First Avenue staffers are making plans to go to Toronto or Chicago to see the reunion is a pretty good clue clue on that front that nothing is being planned locally.
A sign of how much hoopla has been raised over the reunion, the band is now scheduled to headline each day it appears at the RiotFests, starting with Toronto (Aug. 25) -- where Iggy & the Stooges are opening for them! Many Twin Citians are headed to the RiotFest in Chicago, where they play the last of that event’s three days (Sept. 15; with the Pixies opening). Single-day tickets for Chicago are now on sale. They will finish it off in Denver on Sept. 21.
As for what comes after that, all Hill would say is, “There are no plans right now besides those three shows.”
Starting with the dates behind his first solo album, “14 Songs,” Westerberg’s early-‘90s outings with Freese and Minehan (and Hill) are rated by avid fans as some of his best outings. Here’s a not-too-terrible video clip below from that era, as well as another grainy, short, horribly shot yet still weirdly exciting clip that surfaced of the “new Replacements” recently rehearsing in a local studio. Freese came through town in July on tour with Sublime With Rome (told you the guy gets around).
As for the old Replacements, the latest in the series of “Songs for Slim” 7-inch singles went up for auction yesterday – benefitting latter-day ‘Mats guitarist Slim Dunlap’s medical costs -- and it’s a beaut. Patterson Hood of the Drive-by Truckers covers “Hate This Town” on one side, and the old gang in the Young Fresh Fellows let loose with “Loud Loud Loud Guitars” on the other. The first release in the series was a five-song Replacements EP, which is what originally brought Westerberg and Stinson back together under their old guise.