The Replacements circa 1987 at First Avenue. / Brian Peterson, Star Tribune file

The Replacements circa 1987 at First Avenue. / Brian Peterson, Star Tribune file

Paul Westerberg has always hinted that if and when the Replacements ever got back together, it would be in some arcane and unpredictable fashion, and that’s exactly what happened last week. Something no one would have foreseen, though, it was for a noble cause.

Per the scoop at, the band’s frontman reunited in the studio last week with its bassist, Tommy Stinson, to record a limited-edition covers EP that will be sold to help with the medical expenses of one of their former bandmates, Slim Dunlap. The group’s only other living member, drummer Chris Mars, opted not to take part in the proceedings, so local go-to guy Peter Anderson (Polara, Honeydogs, Alison Scott) was recruited to back them in the one-day session, which took place in Minneapolis at Ed Ackerson’s Flowers Studio. Kevin Bowe, who played on guitar on Westerberg's last solo tour (2004), also took part in the sessions. Flowers is also the place where Stinson and Westerberg last recorded together – that time with Mars – to craft two “new” songs for a 2006 compilation album.

This time, the gents didn’t play anything original. Per Rolling Stone, they recorded one of Dunlap’s songs, “Busted Up” – a highlight from Slim’s 1993 album “The Old New Me” – plus Hank Williams’ “Lost Highway” and two surprising (but not really) choices: "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from the Broadway musical "Gypsy," and Gordon Lightfoot's "I'm Not Sayin'."

"Tommy and I strapped on guitars, not a word was said, and bang," Westerberg told the Rolling Stone reporter. "We still rock like murder."

The EP will be packaged on 10-inch vinyl, and allegedly there will only be 250 copies made – which will all be auctioned off to maximize the payoff. Stay tune for when and where. Dunlap is still recuperating from a severe stroke he suffered in February. Local musicians have pitched in on several benefits for him, and Stinson has reportedly been working with L.A. music guru Joe Henry and former Replacements manager and New West Records vice-president Peter Jesperson on a full benefit/tribute album. As for Mars, he released his first song in 16 years over the summer as a tribute to Dunlap. 

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