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Replacements Biography


Home > Music > R > Replacements > Biography


Birth Place: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Years Active: 1979–1991
Genres: Alternative Rock, Punk Rock, Jangle Pop


The Replacements were a punk-rock band that formed in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1979, when Paul Westerberg joined the Stinson brothers, Tommy and Bob, to form a band that would go on to be considered one of the most influential punk-rock bands in America. Westerberg took on vocals with Bob Stinson on guitar, Tommy Stinson on bass, and Chris Mars on drums. The foursome began playing around town and quickly garnered a reputation as drunks who put on a chaotic live show that was entertaining to a fault. The band developed a local following and put out their debut, “Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash” in 1981. The album predominately fell on deaf ears and failed to make an impression. However, when the band's second offering, “Hootenanny” appeared in 1983 the press and the public began to take notice. “Let It Be” followed a year later in 1984 to critical acclaim – finally the people were listening to what The Replacements had to say. And Sire Records answered with a record deal for the band in 1985.

Westerberg, somewhat of a perfectionist, was considered to be the driving force, and often the creative force, behind the band, however the relationship between the Stinton brothers added that touch of something special – the rock 'n' roll attitude that generated a buzz. The beginnings of The Replacements can be traced back to when big brother Bob, who was 19 at the time, gave little brother Tommy, who was eleven at the time, his first guitar in an effort to keep him off the streets and out of trouble. It worked. Tommy was hooked. Bob met Mars and the trio began to perform as “Dogbreath.” Westerberg, who was a janitor at the time, heard the band play and thought they had something that he wanted to be part of. Mars was friends with Westerberg at the time and invited him to check out the band. The band's music was influenced by artists such as The Rolling Stones, Faces, Big Star, Badfinger, and The Beatles, in addition to punk acts The Ramones, Johnny Thunders, Dead Boys and The Clash. The Replacements' music was able to capture a unique balance of pop music with heart-felt lyrics, backed up by the heavy guitar-driven sound of punk-rock.

After the success of their third album the band went back into the studio to record their fourth offering, and debut on a major, “Tim,” which Westerberg had hoped would be produced by his idol Alex Chilton of Big Star. Tommy Erdelyi of The Ramones took on the job of producer instead and the album met with rave reviews upon release in 1985. However, the band were good at sabotaging their own success and when Bob's alcohol and drug additions began to affect the band's ability to perform, he was fired. 1987 saw the release of “Please To Meet Me,” which again met with positive praise and did well commercially. The band hit the road in support of the album and hired Slim Dunlap to replace Bob on guitar. 1989 saw the band attempt to cross over to the mainstream markets and appeal to both pop and rock fans with the release of “Don't tell a Soul.” The album displayed a more radio-friendly sound; less punk-rock angst and more commercial mainstream music. The album spawned the single, “I'll Be You,” which crossed over to pop audiences. Despite their efforts the band was unable to attain a mainstream following.

The band's final album, 1990’s “All Shook Down,” personified a band falling apart at the steams. Mars left the band once the album was completed, with Westerberg carrying the entire album squarely on his shoulders. The band went on tour despite no longer feeling like a band and more of a Westerberg one man show. Steve Foley replaced Mars for the tour, and a year later the band finally disbanded and went their separate ways. Tommy went on to form a new band, Bob died four years later of a drug overdose, and Westerberg embarked on a successful solo career