seen yr video
January 17, 2005 7:13 PM   Subscribe

Before they were nobodies. There are a few bands who never quite made it huge but influenced everyone who ever saw or heard them (the Velvet Underground, Capt Beefheart, Sonic Youth). The best were The Replacements. And recently from their defunct website comes a complete early show of theirs, broken up in bite sized chunks, via quicktime. (more inside)
posted by tsarfan (70 comments total)
 
Some may be too young for this type of music. You may not "get" it. My soul weeps for you. But you probably have a full head of hair and are therefore my enemy.

However I will invite you to witness one of rock's best lyricists at his most raw, writing his most punk rock songs.

May I suggest "Goddamn Job", "I Hate Music", Kids Wont Follow". and the Hank Sr. classic "Hey Good Lookin'".

And yes that's current G'N'R's bassist Tommy Stinson on the left being 17 year old and rocking harder than anyone from Good Charlotte ever has.
posted by tsarfan at 7:13 PM on January 17, 2005


ah crap, the post should read "from their defunct record label's website")
posted by tsarfan at 7:14 PM on January 17, 2005


Awesome! And what a sad day it is, that you must preface Tommy's name with "G'n'R's bassist"! Who would have ever thought we'd see that day?
posted by kittyb at 7:25 PM on January 17, 2005


Colin Meloy has a thing for The Replacements, so I've been meaning to check them out. Thanks.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:25 PM on January 17, 2005


The best was Zappa
posted by j.p. Hung at 7:26 PM on January 17, 2005


**begins salaaming helplessly**

The 'Mats. The last great prefix free rock and roll band. The first contribution I ever made to the intarweb was an entry on the Skyway Mats mailing list (I'm the first one in the "Intros" section. Thanks for the reminder, tsarfan.

Add to the list of influential yet unknown artists: the Sonics, the Creation, Billy Joe Shaver, Diamond Head, the Electric Flag, the Dictators, the Bluethings, ...and so many others.
posted by jonmc at 7:34 PM on January 17, 2005


Best. Friggin. FPP. Evar.

I had an older step-brother whom noticed I was listening to Rush, and he made a tape of Stink and Look Ma.

Changed my fucking life.

Husker Du is great, but they're like the Dosteyevsky (brilliant, but really really long and impenetrable) to my inner Tolstoy (just brilliant).

Jeez, they look far more sober than I expected....
posted by bardic at 7:39 PM on January 17, 2005


he made it, and farther than he shoulda. beefheart kills.

but glenn branca (oooooh...ok, the theoretical girls since we're talking 'bands') is the best of the bunch, being the unheralded true musical footing for S.Y.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 7:39 PM on January 17, 2005


mmm, the 'mats. i'm a total junkie. also, for the 'mats inclined, there's a woman who is trying to make a documentary about their fans.
posted by jodic at 7:42 PM on January 17, 2005


I thought the unheralded true musical footing of Sonic Youth was Neu!... anyway I think Sonic Youth are a little too well known to be described as not having made it.
posted by bobo123 at 7:43 PM on January 17, 2005


God, this is annoying metababble, but I just watched some of those videos again... So perfect. Let's hope nobody brings up a Fugazi link, cuz then I'm just gonna pore pure metasputum on everyone. God, I love this site.
posted by bardic at 7:43 PM on January 17, 2005


Oh, thanks so much for this. The Mats are one of those bands that, in retrospect, I should have discovered way earlier than I did. The first real band I was in had some serious mid-career Mats influences, despite me only having heard their last two records at the time.

And, yes, Tommy looks pre-pubescent.
posted by hamfisted at 7:43 PM on January 17, 2005


/mefi espcially, but tsarfan's link as well.
posted by bardic at 7:45 PM on January 17, 2005


bah, the best were the bunnymen.
posted by dorian at 7:46 PM on January 17, 2005


Gun's n Roses?

WTF, / in large, flaming letters sent up to heaven like the cows roasted in The Iliad.

WTF?
posted by bardic at 7:46 PM on January 17, 2005


Now that I've managed to download an entire clip ("Careless"), I gotta add: Bob is cool as f*** and Chris looks like Quasimodo. And Paul is... Paul.
posted by hamfisted at 7:48 PM on January 17, 2005


Bob was into Yes, which doesn't make any sense to me.
posted by bardic at 7:52 PM on January 17, 2005


Quit trying to make sense, bardic, just embrace. You and your folks, me and my folks...like that.
posted by jonmc at 7:56 PM on January 17, 2005


Huzzah for any post that mentions Sonic Youth!

Tommy supposedly wrote one or two songs during the GnR Chinese Democracy sessions. It will supposedly be out in February, after a slight delay in 2004. Err.. 2003. Um, actually 2002. Surely if it has been delayed this long, it must be good. Right?

Thx for the clip link BTW.
posted by dfx at 7:57 PM on January 17, 2005


bobo, you're right, they did make it...but in a totally different mode than their influential stuff. I guess Neu! became a s.y. influence. But the version of the band which DID NOT make it (long before the "wow, man," year punk broke & butch vig took over) was--as far as i know--just a refiguring of Branca.

Replacements? How 'bout the Residents.

OK OK. The Replacements are cool too.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 8:03 PM on January 17, 2005


/shuts down computer, lightes various candles, bows head to the mircale that is jonmc.

/But seriousy, Guns and Roses?

/BTW wish I'd lost my virginity to "Kiss Me on the Bus," but didn't. It was quiet and there was no stereo.
posted by bardic at 8:08 PM on January 17, 2005


bardic, it's gonna be ok. tommy released a not completely sucky album last year called Village Gorilla Head (you can hear bits of it here. but beware, the site starts singing to you right away) and it doesn't sound at all like Guns N' Roses. In fact, it reminds me of a lot of Paul's solo stuff, but I might be biased because I love Paul the best.
posted by jodic at 8:12 PM on January 17, 2005


I thought that mr. Chistopher Marr's stuff wasn't badd.

"Shat in my PJ's."

But I'm off to play Outlaw Golf 2.
posted by bardic at 8:15 PM on January 17, 2005


Didn't fully appreciate the splendor of the Replacements when they were at their peak. (When I should have appreciated them, which was when I was in college.) "I Will Dare" was the only tune I knew and I don't think I really knew it was them doing it. Then, many years later, too many to mention, I bought Let It Be. The brilliance of "Answering Machine": unsurpassed.

I'll probably have to duck now, but I also loved Don't Tell a Soul.
posted by blucevalo at 8:15 PM on January 17, 2005


Love the fact that Peter Buck played on that song. Made many great friends listening to the Mats. Probably lost a few as well.

And as much as I really want to like Westerburg solo, I frankly don't. Bob and Tim and Chris just made for the perfect musical shithole that can never be overcame. Husker Du, maybe, but they seemed to know what they were doing. To some extent.
posted by bardic at 8:28 PM on January 17, 2005


Those videos are great.

I'd like to point out, however, that Twin-Tone is not quite defunct: They will custom burn CDs of Twin-Tone releases, including the incredibly freaking awesome Big Hits of Mid-America Vol. 3. They'll also sell you some Replacements albums on vinyl.

On another issue, both Chris and Tommy have put out some great solo material. Chris's first two solo albums were great, and I can't give enough praise to the Tommy's album with Perfect (which was just released) or his live shows (including one at Mercury Lounge here in NYNY in a couple of weeks).
posted by subgenius at 8:29 PM on January 17, 2005


Site seems to be running a little slow now.

Might I just say, the first tape I ever purchased was a Replacements tape.
posted by jefbla at 8:37 PM on January 17, 2005


Okay, now that I realize I can watch the videos in Lo-Res (which seems more appropriate) I can get something to play.

This is good stuff. Good indeed. I'll have another whiskey.
posted by jefbla at 8:44 PM on January 17, 2005


seriously, i had no idea the replacements were overlooked. shows what i know about you people and your music.

/goes back to sachinag's joni mitchell and lena horne CDs.
posted by sachinag at 8:48 PM on January 17, 2005


seriously, i had no idea the replacements were overlooked.

Ask the guy who makes your morning coffee or your Uncle Bob if he's heard of the Replacements. Then ask him if he's heard of Led Zeppelin. The two groups (both of whom I enjoy immensley) have had roughly equal influence on modern music.

The answers will make our point.
posted by jonmc at 8:51 PM on January 17, 2005


A guy who was one of my best friends in college in 1985 (?) was from Mpls and turned me on to the Replacements and Husker Du. My first album from the 'Mats was Let It Be. Thanks for bringing back some good memories for this fellow oldster.
posted by matildaben at 9:06 PM on January 17, 2005


The Minutemen.
posted by billder at 9:17 PM on January 17, 2005


i've always wondered, how the hell do you go from "replacements" to "'mats" anyways, huh? that makes no sense to me.
posted by Igor XA at 9:38 PM on January 17, 2005


it's short for Place Mats

which makes sense to someone-- though not me
posted by tsarfan at 9:44 PM on January 17, 2005


...the Electric Flag... posted by jonmc
Man I've got to get me another turntable and unpack the vinyl. Had not thought of them in years.
posted by mss at 9:44 PM on January 17, 2005


Igor -- fans called 'em the "placemats" out of, well, homage to their style; gets shortened to "'mats."

Gang over at CT is going on about how Bowie is "almost as famous as Kurt Cobain...and Michael Stipe" and now this: as a kid who cut his teeth riding the No. 8 down to Northern Lights/7th St. Entry/First Ave in early 80s, this will never, ever make sense to me...

But there'll always be the music. Speaking of--anyone know where I can find a file of "Shit Hits the Fans?" Mine melted on the dash in about '86--damn, that's a great bootleg.

posted by minnesotaj at 9:49 PM on January 17, 2005


fans called 'em the "placemats" out of, well, homage to their style;

Really? I've always heard/understood that it was just a play on their name, which can sound like Replacemats, if said "properly."
posted by abiku at 9:54 PM on January 17, 2005


Bah. Bar rock.

I just don't get it.
posted by item at 10:01 PM on January 17, 2005


Huh? The Residents? Yeah, they're awesome. Didn't they make that record, "meet the beatles?" My favorite one was Paul. But he's dead, right?

But, seriously: the Replacements are hugely popular, and nearly everyone has heard of them. At least every band I listen to has. And every band you listen to. This is like that party I was at last week where I kept trying to explain to the kid that everybody who cares anymore thinks "Pinkerton" is genius. (Except me, I guess.) "No, no, you don't understand, see, everybody else hates it, but I think it's genius." Ech, get over it.

Doesn't matter. Anyway, cool means nothing: the 80's are dead, friends, our Gang of Four and Joy Division vinyl will no longer save us. Let's all buy something a little more worthwhile, like Bach or Respighi, eh?

(Non-hipster translation: I really do like things like the Replacements, the Fall, the Residents, and, well, yeah, rock music. But let's get past it, shall we? Isn't there a way to get beyond all this stuff? It's only music, and only rock. There are better things in the world. After a while, we all have to calm down and grow up, and those are two things rock just can't do.)
posted by koeselitz at 10:15 PM on January 17, 2005


Kyuss gets my vote for obscure but influential and truly transcendent band.
posted by euphorb at 10:18 PM on January 17, 2005


bardic, will these do? Scroll down to bottom of page on last link.
posted by cali at 10:28 PM on January 17, 2005


koeselitz: you know, i've tried putting all that music into perspective as well. but it's best to play along, like everyone else--stay on topic, like your favorite 'Re-' bands from the 80's who didn't go at least gold within 10 years.

we all know it's the past (and the ancient 'band' topic)we're talking about, and it's ok. it doesn't mean we're stuck there.

that said, the Replacements do not span the Most Influential Band topic very well. there are all kinds of bands from that time which influenced certain styles.

personally i'll go with throbbing gristle, the germs, early black flag, butthole surfers, early throwing muses. but don't mind my...

equally lame corpses...
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:41 PM on January 17, 2005


The Replacements slipped under my naive radar. I was too young at the time to get into them so I can't reminisce with y'all. Fortunately, I've finally caught up with Westerberg. His latest CD is playing for me right now. Comparing his new stuff to these vids - dare I say he's still got it?
posted by quadog at 10:59 PM on January 17, 2005


gorgor_balabala: you are right. Therefore, you are linked. I like your style.
posted by koeselitz at 10:59 PM on January 17, 2005


X
posted by milkman at 11:35 PM on January 17, 2005


the Replacements are hugely popular, and nearly everyone has heard of them.

Well, most lovers of the rock and roll, who are of a *cough* certain age (like many of us here) definitely have.

My sweet lord I drank a lot with the Replacements as my soundtrack back in the '80s.

Well, in the '90s too.


OK, yeah, in the '00s too. Here comes a regular.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:37 PM on January 17, 2005


Saw the 'mats twice back in the 80's... f-in' awsome shows! Even though Westerberg's intoxication caused him to forget a line or two, they completely rocked me. Got to talk to Paul after one show and convinced him to hang with us, until someone got off the bus and put him in check! Never trust an agent!

Thanks for the post.
posted by LouReedsSon at 12:00 AM on January 18, 2005


God damn, God damn, but I loved the Replacements. Saw them at Colby College in 1988 or 87 or something. It was one of their classic sober shows. Maybe the most excited I had ever been to see the band.

Damn. Loved the link. Thanks.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:06 AM on January 18, 2005


Saw Paul Westerberg in Portland last year. He walked not a foot in front of me and mrs. taco. Felt like I was 18 again.
posted by Tacodog at 12:53 AM on January 18, 2005


Not a band, but John Martyn gets my vote for "influential but obscure". I am now off to try some Replacements, thanks.
posted by Gamecat at 1:53 AM on January 18, 2005


The band invented the "mats" nickname; when they started to get popular they would sometimes play small shows in local bars billed as "Tommy and the Placemats".

This stuff brings back memories, but the real greatness of the Replacements live was when they would get so drunk that they could barely play, and start doing Kiss and Bad Company covers that would disintegrate halfway through. If you can track down a copy of this, you might understand. Today, they might sound like a bar band, but back then it was radical for a punk band to love classic rock and good songs.
posted by fuzz at 4:54 AM on January 18, 2005


These clips are great. I'd never seen Paul Westerberg singing live until these videos. He is an effortlessly great vocalist. But:

Some may be too young for this type of music. You may not "get" it.

I think the trouble is young people will "get" this sound all too well these days. You can't avoid it; it is utterly MOR. Their style welled up from the underground and became pretty much the default sound of mainstream rock music post-1992.

The other day, when I played the Pixies and Husker Du to a young person, I was embarrassed to realize that the unique sound I liked back then now seemed utterly prosaic and staid. It's kind of embarrassing really; the idea of scruffy verse chorus rock today has become stale, backward thinking, lethargic, and associated with earnest and drab career men.

Mind you, listening here to these vids, it strikes me that their punk genius was always a bit overstated; they sound best when they ditch punk for straight ahead rock; "Johnny's Gonna Die" has aged much better than throwaway juvenalia such like "I Hate Music". But their classic rock stuff stands up to Chuck Berry and the Stones, etc. The Replacements were always more classic rock than most post-punk indie bands, that's probably why they stand up better than most--less of their time and more classic.
posted by dydecker at 6:42 AM on January 18, 2005


Bah. Bar rock.

I just don't get it.


well, then you're not spending enough time in bars.

"Johnny's Gonna Die" has aged much better than throwaway juvenalia such like "I Hate Music".

And "Shiftless When Idle" has aged better than both. Although "Otto" is one of the chant-along doggerel songs ever.
posted by jonmc at 6:52 AM on January 18, 2005


It's kind of embarrassing really; the idea of scruffy verse chorus rock today has become stale, backward thinking, lethargic, and associated with earnest and drab career men.

I'm not quite sure what you mean. What can you point us to recently that's better than this? Granted the Pixies can kind of date themselves, but the Mats' "Favorite Thing" and The Huskers' "Celebrated Summer" still sound as fresh and exciting as anything I've heard, really since Nirvana. As much as I do like today's proto Gang of Four (Les Savy Fav) and Echo and the Bunnymen (Arcade Fire) bands, it's a different thing entirely.

As far as the Mats, go, don't mean to blaspheme (Tim and Let it Be are still among my all time faves), but I always thought they were a drunker, looser, sloppier version of the Buzzcocks, whom I found infinitely more interesting, and still sound fresh today.

Husker Du? Well, the are still the band that changed my life and remain my favorite.band.ever.
posted by psmealey at 7:28 AM on January 18, 2005


"The other day, when I played the Pixies and Husker Du to a young person, I was embarrassed to realize that the unique sound I liked back then now seemed utterly prosaic and staid. It's kind of embarrassing really; the idea of scruffy verse chorus rock today has become stale, backward thinking, lethargic, and associated with earnest and drab career men."

I dunno. I always inwardly referred to it as The Midwest Sound. I dug bands like The Mats, dbs, Thin White Rope, The Plimsouls, Translator, Husker Du, Tommy Keene...even though all those guys weren't from the midwest, it was something you could peg easily back then and it wasn't on "normal" rock radio. You can still hear it with guys like Josh Rouse.
I don't know how many times I tried to get my friends into that stuff, only to be told I liked "weird shit".
Anyway, "Swingin' Party" will be played at my wedding.
posted by black8 at 7:42 AM on January 18, 2005


Anyway, "Swingin' Party" will be played at my wedding.

Me too. Let's get married.
posted by jonmc at 7:44 AM on January 18, 2005


Btw, I still think the best band that no one has ever heard of is Pere Ubu.
posted by psmealey at 9:00 AM on January 18, 2005


I like Pere Ubu, but the Dictators are the great lost proto-punk band. They were the Ramones before the Ramones were.
posted by jonmc at 9:03 AM on January 18, 2005


Of all this punk-stuff everybody's mentioned, I'm suprised nobody has mentioned Brian Eno, possibly the biggest influence to modern music in the last 30 years. Everybody owns albums he produces (Talking Heads, U2, David Bowie), yet his own albums only sale a few thousands units. Everything in the realm of electronic music (esp. DIY recording-peoples) owes a huge debt of graditude to the cave of "studio-as-instrument" that Eno mined on his early albums from the 70's. Of cource, his music was influenced by Erik Satie and John Cage, whose music was influenced by......
posted by WC_Helmets at 9:20 AM on January 18, 2005


Circa 1980 there used to be a late night video show out of Minneapolis that was sponsored by a major classic rock station. I used to record it on the parents wonderful beta machine. One night they played a video of the Matts doing a couple songs in some studio. "Customer" and "Johnny's gonna die." I thought Customer was the coolest damn thing I'd ever heard. They were one the big reasons I moved to Minneapolis.

I wish wish wish I still had that tape.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 10:55 AM on January 18, 2005


As far as the Mats, go, don't mean to blaspheme ... but I always thought they were a drunker, looser, sloppier version of...

I second this. The Replacements have always sounded excruciatingly bland to me. I don't really understand all this love they are getting. Maybe it's because they weren't the soundtrack to my social flowering. I liked other bands, ones that showed cleverness, energy, musical skill, intellectualism, insanity, social commentary, something. Maybe I asked too much and couldn't appreciate a good honest mild entertainment.
posted by fleacircus at 10:58 AM on January 18, 2005


I liked other bands, ones that showed cleverness, energy, musical skill, intellectualism, insanity, social commentary, something.

The Matts lacked energy? Wow. You obviously never heard them.

Paul's lyrics were clever and you'll be hard pressed to find a better guitarists than Bob.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 11:05 AM on January 18, 2005


I liked other bands, ones that showed cleverness, energy, musical skill, intellectualism, insanity, social commentary, something.

There was cleverness, energy, and insanity aplenty in the 'Mats. As far as musical skill, intellectualism & social commentary go....

Well, that stuff is great in it's place but when it comes to rock and roll, throw that stuff into the equation and you enter a precarious balancing act. When the balance is perfect, the results are amazing, when it tilts too far, it ceases to be rock and roll anymore. That's why there will always be a place for unapologetically crude, rocking, loud and (most importantly) fun bands. Like the 'Mats.(not that the 'Mats couldn't embrace pathos, but they always maintained a sense of humor and a love of rocking out).

This essay by Gene Sculatti elucidates better than I can.
posted by jonmc at 11:29 AM on January 18, 2005


Many thanks for the link, man did that take me back. I saw many Replacements and Husker Du shows in Madison back in the 80s, those shows were all amazing. My ears are still ringing.
posted by Outlawyr at 12:40 PM on January 18, 2005


Maybe it's an age thing but I'm with WC_Helmets on Eno as underrated but overwhelmingly influential. I love Taking Tiger Mountain and the first couple of collaborations he released with Fripp. The other band I was thinking of while reading all the comments was Television, where would guitar players be today without Verlaine and Hell?
posted by billsaysthis at 4:15 PM on January 18, 2005


The other band I was thinking of while reading all the comments was Television, where would guitar players be today without Verlaine and Hell?

I think you mean Richard Lloyd (another one of my personal idols.) Richard Hell was only in Television for a cup of coffee, and did not appear on any of their recordings.

Doesn't the stuff that Eno did with U2 blast whatever punk-cred he might have had? ;-)
posted by psmealey at 6:27 PM on January 18, 2005


PSMealey, you're correct about the name switch but I will have to disagree about Eno, since his 'cred' has nothing to do with punk rock except in the sense of an amateur exploring music (though his skill spinned up pretty darn quick).
posted by billsaysthis at 7:59 PM on January 18, 2005


Billsaysthis, I was just busting balls. I think Eno has shown creative genius in his career, and was mesmerized by his collaborations with Fripp when I was in high school (uh, oh, progrock, there goes my own punk cred). My snark was just based on my own personal opinion that U2's first three records with Steve Lillywhite were transcendent, and they started become the bloated, awful band they would eventually become when they started working with Eno and Daniel Lanois. /OT
posted by psmealey at 5:10 AM on January 19, 2005


MY BALLS ARE NOT FOR BUSTING PSMEALEY!!!
posted by billsaysthis at 2:34 PM on January 19, 2005


As far as the Mats, go... I always thought they were a drunker, looser, sloppier version of the Buzzcocks, whom I found infinitely more interesting, and still sound fresh today.

psmealey -- there must be something to the 'Mats/Buzzcocks connection. After a couple minutes of reading through this thread, I had to put on some Buzzcocks. The Replacements, Husker Du and Buzzcocks are still my three favorite bands. I'm lucky to have seen them all live (only once for Husker Du, unfortunately, but many times for the others), and seen plenty of 'Mats & Du members' solo shows. (Outlawyr, we were probably at some of the same Madison shows.)

A few years ago I was on a roadtrip to some playoff games with two hockey buddies of mine. One was a recent midwestern transplant from Boston via Maine. He was subjected to many hours of 'Mats, Husker Du, etc. on that trip. About 3 hours into the drive, he turned to us and said, "Christ! What's wrong with you people in the midwest?? This music makes me want to drink!" Heh.
posted by aine42 at 1:55 PM on January 20, 2005


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