The Replacements: 1979-1991
Proto-typical drunken thrash-pop gods of the 1980s Amerindie scene. Hailing from Minneapolis, they formed when Bob Stinson's mother wanted him to give his delinquent half-brother Tommy something to dü other than throw rocks at garage windows. Bob played guitar, and he convinced Tommy to learn bass. They then recruited Chris Mars, a neighborhood friend and drummer, and a singer.
Enter Paul Westerberg, a Catholic-school dropout who knew about the band that practiced in the Stinson's basement; he would eavesdrop at the window. 19, a janitor, sometimes songwriter, and (according to Chris Mars in a mid-1990s interview) a glasses-wearing geek, he wormed his way into the band by telling the singer that they hated the way he sang. From there, they began playing half-way houses and small clubs, opening for bands like Hüsker Dü and getting thrown out of places for their drunken antics. Paul eventually gave Peter Jesperson, the head of indie label Twin/Tone Records, a demo tape, consisting of four songs: "Don't Pass Me By," "Shape Up," "Shut Up," and "Raised in the City." Jesperson signed them after one listening of the tape. They released four albums and an ep on the label, including what is arguably their best record, Let It Be.
By 1985, they (and hometown rivals Hüsker Dü) had garnered enough of a following that the Replacements became one of the first underground bands to be signed to a major label since the days of the Ramones and Pattie Smith; this is the year they released Tim. This was also about the time that Bob was dropped from the group for his excessive drug-use. Given the amount of drugs the band was doing, it came as a shock that they would take such a move. (In later years, it would be discovered that Stinson suffered from severe manic depression.) The group continued as a three-peice, releasing the classic Pleased to Meet Me, and then recruiting Slim Dunlap, a local session-player, to play lead guitar. Two albums followed--the relatively lackluster Don't Tell a Soul, and the more mature All Shook Down.
In 1991, the group disbanded due to exhaustion. Chris Mars had left the year before, angry with the direction that Westerberg was taking towards more solo material. The final album--All Shook Down--was intended as Paul's first solo, but the lable demanded that "The Replacements" be slapped on it.
Their last show was on July 4, 1991.
Reportedly, there are plans for a boxed set of the Twin/Tone years, but that has been stalled for years.