Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Making 'Pleased to Meet Me'

A couple months ago I mentioned 'All Over But the Shouting', a long overdue oral history and appreciation of my favorite band of all-time, The Replacements. Not surprisingly, the book was a bit of a disappointment. By not including interviews with key members of the band – especially Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson – the whole affair had a gossipy, secondhand feel to it.

While I loved the passages from guitarist Slim Dunlap, who replaced dismissed founder Bob Stinson after he won the distinct honor of being the most wasted member of the world's best most wasted band, Slim was only there for the latter portion of the band's grab at life outside indie rock stardom.

One of the things that I thought the book lacked most was insight into the recording of their albums and Westerberg's songwriting. Most disappointing, perhaps, was the section on the time around 'Pleased to Meet Me', arguably the band's best album. Tales from the making of the record are legend and it might have been interesting to read more from producer Jim Dickinson, who somehow harnessed the maelstrom that was The Replacements and did a pretty damn good job of preserving it for all to hear.

If you want that story, though, you'll have to read Torn and Frayed: The Story of The Replacements' 1987 Classic 'Pleased to Meet Me' by Ted Drozdowski over at the Gibson website. It's a great piece that shoots holes in some of the long-standing myths about the album's making and it does a damn fine job of capturing what made the band lovable then and now, warts and all.

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