Replacements – Bastards Of Young

This is my sixth song pick for Hanspostcard’s song draft. The Replacements Bastards Of Young.

I was really happy when I saw Mike’s choice of the Replacements song Can’t Hardly Wait in the draft. I had that one in the back of my mind but had this one ready to go later. I decided to go ahead and get this one in.

I could have picked a more instantly likable song like Skyway, Here Comes a Regular, or Alex Chilton but this song…was a great anthem that kicks you in the shins when it starts. It was recorded in the eighties but it has no giant production…it’s raw and honest about youthful uncertainty and alienation.

I recently visited Aphoristic’s site and he had his top ten songs of the 1980’s.  I thought about it and I included this song on my list in the comment section. In popularity would it be there? No… but this is a lost anthem of the eighties that should have been taken up by that generation. Just because a song isn’t heard and embraced by the masses doesn’t mean it isn’t great.

Westerberg’s songwriting in the 1980s rivaled any artist in that decade.

Everyone who knows me… knows I’m not a huge fan of the top 40 in the 1980s but alternative rock is a different story. In my opinion, the two best alternative rock bands to come out of the 80s were The Replacements and R.E.M.

R.E.M played the music business game much more than The Replacements. The Replacements didn’t play at all until the very end. That hurt them on not being heard on the radio or MTV. If it weren’t for their penchant for self-destruction they would have been known more by the masses.

This song was on their album “Tim” released in 1985. Why was the album called Tim? There was no reference to the name on the album. The band’s manager said that he asked Paul Westerberg what the name of the album would be. Paul told him “Tim” and the manager asked why? Paul said “because it’s such a nice name.”

“Tim” was placed 136th on Rolling Stone’s 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and 137 in a 2012 revised list. The album peaked at #186 in the Billboard Album Chart in 1986.

Paul Westerberg:  “To me, a part of that song is about my sister who felt the need … to be something by going somewhere else. It is sort of the Replacements feeling the same way … not knowing where we fit. It’s our way of reaching a hand out and saying, ‘We are right along with you. We are just as confused.'”

They also played this song on SNL and got banned for life for being drunk and a certain swear word slipping out….supposedly by accident. This is the only video I can find of it. Westerberg eventually appeared on SNL in the 90s as a solo artist. The studio version is the second video.

Bastards of Young

God, what a mess, on the ladder of success
Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung
Dreams unfulfilled, graduate unskilled
It beats pickin’ cotton and waitin’ to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The daughters and the sons

Clean your baby womb, trash that baby boom
Elvis in the ground, no waitin’ on beer tonight
Income tax deduction, what a hell of a function
It beats pickin’ cotton and waitin’ to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
Not the daughters and the sons

Unwillingness to claim us, ya got no war to name us

The ones who love us best are the ones we’ll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones who love us least are the ones we’ll die to please
If it’s any consolation, I don’t begin to understand them

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
Daughters and the sons

Young
Young
Young
Young
Young

Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours

Replacements – Answering Machine

This is raw, raw, and more raw. It didn’t fit in with the 80s mainstream and is one of the reasons I like it so much.

There are not as many answering machines anymore…although we still have one that is connected to our VOIP phone. We live in the middle of the country where cell phones are iffy sometimes.

Paul is the only Replacement on this song. He did the guitars, percussion, and vocals.

Westerberg liked a girl in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and would court her long-distance. Sometimes he’d call to talk her and get her answering machine instead. He said at the time that he wasn’t a modern person and that technology irritated him. If technology did in the 80s I can’t imagine what he feels today.

He poured that frustration into “Answering Machine.” He considers it one of the best songs he did with the Replacements. The song was on the album Let It Be released in 1984 and is considered one of their best albums. It was ranked number 241 on Rolling Stones list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

At the song’s conclusion, amid a wall of noise and effects, he would shout out Michigan’s 313 area code; he also threw out a couple others, including New York City’s 212, to cover his bases with a few other girls, just in case.

Paul Westerberg: “There was real passion, and there was a real person on the other end, and that made it all come to life.”

Answering Machine

Try and breathe some life into a letter
Losing hope, we’ll never be together
My courage is at its peak
You know what I mean
How do you say you’re okay
To an answering machine?
How do you say goodnight
To an answering machine?

Big time’s got its losers
Small town’s got its vices
A handful of friends
One needs a match, one needs some ice
Call-waiting phone in another time zone
How do you say I miss you
To an answering machine?
How do say good night
To an answering machine?

(If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again
If you need help, dial the number…)

I get enough of that

Try to free a slave of ignorance
Try and teach a whore about romance

How do you say I miss you
To an answering machine?
How do you say good night to
An answering machine?
How do you say I’m lonely to
An answering machine?
The message is very plain
Oh, I hate your answering machine
I hate your answering machine
I hate your answering machine…

(If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again…
If you need help…)

Replacements – Left Of The Dial ….80’s Underground Mondays

This is a perfect song to remember alternative radio with today. This  is Paul Westerberg’s tribute to college radio in the 1980s. Of all the bands I’ve covered on Mondays…this band is my favorite of them all. They were more straight rock and roll with some quirks thrown in for good measure.

Left of the Dial celebrates the spirit of the eighties American indie rock scene and was a tribute to the tiny watt college stations populating the far end of the FM radio band—many let the Replacements crash after shows at campuses. Westerberg had said that is where they got most of their airtime…“We ended up going to college in an odd kind of way.”

The song is also about Westerberg’s infatuation with Lynn Blakey, singer-guitarist for North Carolina’s Let’s Active. They’d met when the bands shared a bill at San Francisco’s I-Beam in the fall of 1983. “He followed me around and bummed cigarettes off me,” recalled Blakey. The following night, after a show in Berkeley, the two spent hours walking together. They would exchange calls and letters as Blakey moved to Athens, Georgia, where she joined Michael Stipe’s sister Lynda in the band Oh-OK.

Artist: Lynn Blakey | SecondHandSongs

“I figured the only way I’d hear her voice was with her band on the radio . . . on a college station,” said Westerberg. “And one night we were passing through a town somewhere, and she was doing an interview on the radio. I heard her voice for the first time in six months for about a minute. Then the station faded out.” The moment provided the song’s lyric “If I don’t see ya, in a long, long while / I’ll try to find you / Left of the dial.”

The song was on the album Tim and it was released in 1985.

Left of the Dial

Read about your band in some local page
Didn’t mention your name, didn’t mention your name
The sweet Georgia breezes, safe, cool and warm
I headed up north, you headed north

On and on and on and on
What side are you on?
On and on and on and on
What side are you on?

Weary voice that’s laughin’, on the radio once
We sounded drunk, never made it on
Passin’ through and it’s late, the station started to fade
Picked another one up in the very next state

On and on and on and on
What side are you on?
On and on and on and on and

Pretty girl keep growin’ up, playin’ make-up, wearin’ guitar
Growin’ old in a bar, ya grow old in a bar
Headed out to San Francisco, definitely not L.A.
Didn’t mention your name, didn’t mention your name

And if I don’t see ya, in a long, long while
I’ll try to find you
Left of the dial
Left of the dial
Left of the dial
Left of the dial
Left of the dial
Left of the dial
Left of the dial
Left of the dial

Replacements – Message to the Boys

Thanks to Aphoristical for pointing me to this song and album. At the end of 2005, years after the band had broken up…Warner Music Group ended up with rights to the Replacements’ Twin/Tone albums, and their entire catalog was finally placed under one roof. They offered Westerberg and Stinson a deal for the band to reunite and record. They wanted to package a “Best Of” album with a few new songs.

They had been feuding with each other off and on since the break up. Westerberg and Stinson ended their feud and agreed to do it. They did not invite Slim Dunlap to participate for some reason. They did however invite drummer Chris Mars to join them. They patched things up with Mars but he was an artist and doing it for a living and didn’t want to play. He did come to the sessions anyway. Drummer  Josh Freese had flown out to play drums. To show you how they operated…here is Westerberg’s thought on that.

“And Chris, he was still a Replacement…The first thing out of his mouth to Josh was something like, ‘Man, you almost played that really good.’ That’s what we missed. You don’t have to play the drums. You can just bring the attitude.”

The band recorded two songs Message to the Boys and Pool and Dive. They appeared on the album Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was? They didn’t end up touring at that time but offers came in year after year and the money offers got bigger.

Westerberg: “The fact that we came up short is the thing that’s kept us interesting. That is part of the attraction. We’ve retained this mystique.”

Paul and Tommy would later reunite again in 2012. Former guitar player Slim Dunlap had a major stroke and they contributed to a benefit album of Slim’s songs along with many artists. In 2013 they started to play live again and eventually toured until 2015 when it ended abruptly.

Paul Westerberg about the reunion in 2006 and missing former member Bob Stinson: “The answer to the million-dollar question is yes, when Bob died, something died in me and Tommy, and we’ve never been the same since,” said Westerberg. “And it’s always been awkward, and it’s always been unsaid and unsayable and strange and weird between us.”

This concludes taking a song off of each album from the Replacements… thanks for following here every Monday. I’ll still post some Replacements here and there.

Message To The Boys

Well I met her in a bar
Like I always say
She was digging Tommy’s cute
Way down in FLA

Wearing that vest with nothing underneath
Looking her best in the Florida heat
Sent a message to the boys
She was wearing that vest with nothing underneath
She be looking her best in the Florida heat, yeah
Sent a message to the boys

Well, she couldn’t cut loose
With her mommy around
So she packed her pretty bags
Went to the run-away town

Used to call me late at night
Said she missed her little maid
I never asked twice how the bills got paid
She sent a message to the boys
Used to call me every night
Said she missed her little maid
Never ever asked twice how the bills got paid
Sent the message to the boys

She sent a message to the boys
She’s gonna be there, if you need her
I can’t forget her and her voice
And her voice

Was a lady to the end
Now to this I can attest
She knew how to move
Yeah, when she rock’n’rolled this

She sent a message to the boys
She’s gonna be there, if you need her
I can’t forget her and her voice

She sent a message to the boys
She sent a message to the boys
God, I miss her and her voice
She sent a message to the boys
She sent a message to the boys
Oh god, I miss her and her voice

Replacements – Merry Go Around

This one is off of their last studio album All Shook Down. I was going to conclude with this one having one off of their studio albums but there is one more coming next week.

This is not my favorite off the album but it did have a commercial sound for that time and it’s something that I thought would have charted in the Billboard 100. Merry Go Round did peak at #1 on the alternative charts. The album peaked at #69 in the Billboard Album Chart in 1990.

“Merry Go Round” was written about the  lives of Westerberg and his sister Mary (“They ignored me with a smile, you as a child”).

The band went to Los Angeles to make a video for Merry Go Round. With Westerberg’s okay, Warner Bros. hired Bob Dylan’s twenty-three-year-old son Jesse Dylan, who was just starting to direct.

It was shot in black and white and later edited to include some colorful inserts. From the opening moments, with a stone-faced Westerberg staring blankly into the camera, the video lacked the fun that had marked some of  their other clips. Paul and Tommy managed a few smiles, and Slim played along gamely. The drummer Chris Mars, miming to Charley Drayton’s drum track, was understandably less than enthused.

Merry Go Round

Hush was the first word you were taught
And they watched you wear
The clothes they claimed that they bought
They brought you down
To watch the merry-go around

In fall, you knew how much it cost
A trouble doll
Around your neck when you lost
You wouldn’t make a sound
But I could hear your little heart pound
And I watched your feet slip off the ground

Merry go round in dreams
Writes ’em down, it seems
When she sleeps, she’s free
Merry go round in dreams

You wake to another day and find
The wind’s blowing out of key with your sky
Only you can see
And the rain dancing in the night
Everybody stands around in delight

Merry go round in dreams
Writes ’em down, it seems
When she sleeps, she’s free
Merry go round in dreams

And everybody thinks she’s sick
She’s got two worlds she can pick
And she’s sad

Hush is the only word you know
And I stopped listening long ago
They ignored me with a smile
You as a child
But the trouble doll hears your heart pound
And your feet they say goodbye to the ground

Merry go round in dreams
Writes ’em down, it seems
When she sleeps, she’s free
Merry go round in dreams

Merry go round in dreams
Merry go round in me
Merry go round
Round and round in me
Merry go round
Round and round in me

Replacements – Talent Show

We apologize, here they are… The Replacements.” (see story at bottom)

I’m going to stick with the album Don’t Tell A Soul for one more song. The album has a bunch of good songs and this is around the time I stopped following them. I’ve picked the band back up with earnest but a box set was released with this album mixed how it was meant to be.

At the time it was mixed with a pop sheen that felt outdated by the end of the decade. The original mixes are great and this one is one of my favorites off the album…and the band.

They were invited to play the International Rock Awards show and they felt out of place in the star studded audience…then came the introduction…”We apologize, here they are… The Replacements.” You then hear Paul ask… “What the hell are we doing here?” before they start into the song.

Before the show the producers told Paul that they would have to bleep out the line “We’re feelin’ good from the pills we took.” and Westerberg suspiciously happily agreed. He wasn’t going to leave it at that though…they did silence out the line and he rolled his eyes. For the song’s closing “It’s too late to turn back” coda, Westerberg began to sing “It’s too late to take pills” instead—several times. The censors missed it completely and let it go out live on the air… ABC was not amused… the Replacements were ushered out of the building at the end and did not get to participate in on jam.

It seemed most in the audience were too busy looking for another star than actually listening to the music…except Matt Dillion at the end.

Here is the live clip of the event

Talent Show

In my waxed up hair and my painted shoes
Got an offer that you might refuse
Tonight, tonight, we’re gonna take a stab
Come on along, we’ll grab a cab

We ain’t much to look at so
Close your eyes, here we go
We’re playin’ at the talent show
Playin’ at the talent show
Come on along, here we go
Playin’ at the talent show
Check us out, here we go
Playin’ at the talent show

Well we got our guitars and we got thumb picks
And we go on after some lip-synch chicks
We’re feelin’ good from the pills we took
Oh, baby, don’t gimme that look

We ain’t much to look at so
Close your eyes, here we go
We’re playin’ at the talent show
Playin’ at the talent show
Come on along, here we go
Playin’ at the talent show
Hop a ride, here we go
Playin’ at the talent show

Well it’s the biggest thing in my life I guess
Look at us all, we’re nervous wrecks
Hey, we go on next

Talent show
Talent show
Playin’ at the talent show
Playin’ at the talent show

Wish us luck if you can’t go
Playin’ at the talent show
An empty seat in the front row
We might even win this time, guys, you never know

It’s too late to turn back, here we go

Replacements – The Ledge

This song was one of the most pivotal songs in their career. MTV’s refusal to play it hurt the chances of the album Please To Meet Me… which The Replacements released in 1987. The album was critically praised as were most of their other albums. With no MTV or radio support, the single didn’t go anywhere.

This song had radio potential and their record company Sire was gearing up a campaign but the song is about suicide and MTV would not touch it. A month before the album was released, the Bergenfield Suicide Pact (4 New Jersey teens took part in a suicide pact) happened. It understandably got a lot of press. Paul Westerberg was not happy with the decision. “MTV feels the lyrics are detrimental to the youth of America,” said Westerberg  “But for them to play Mötley Crüe and not play our video … if it had a bunch of sexist bullshit, they would’ve played it. But if it’s something deeper, if it’s emotions, it’s taboo.”        

The song hinted at Paul Westerberg’s own teenage overdose attempt and the suicide of his high school friend John Zika. Sitting home in the fall of 1986, he wrote The Ledge in forty-five minutes, from the perspective of a jumper looking down at a gathering crowd below.

It was recorded in Memphis with Jim Dickinson producing. The band worked as a trio as Bob Stinson was let go by this time. After the album was finished they would get Bob “Slim” Dunlap on lead guitar.

Paul Westerberg:  It’s written not necessarily out of personal experience because I’m still here. It’s an observation. And if anyone wants to read anything into it other than that, then that’s their problem. And the lyrics, they just came. I didn’t have to sit, I didn’t have to think. It was just wham wham wham, I turned on the little tape recorder, I had it on an ironing board. And it was partially out of the way I had felt at certain times in my life. I figure if you’re gonna kill yourself, you kill yourself, but I had tried to commit suicide once I think when I was younger and I can still feel how I felt then. I mean not like now that I’m totally a-ok and the happiest guy in the world, I’m doing fine, but I can feel for people that feel totally lost and have no one to turn to. So it was written sort of half of my own experience and half of maybe me trying to feel how it is to be up there on the ledge. And it’s not written in any way to condone that kind of stuff. Obviously it’s bullshit, it’s wrong, but to someone who does it…

The Ledge

All eyes look up to me
High above the filthy streets
Heed no bullhorn when it calls
Watch me fly and die, watch me fall

I’m the boy they can’t ignore,
For the first time in my life, I’m sure
All the love sent up high to pledge
Won’t reach the ledge

Wind blows cold from the west
I smell coffee, I smell doughnuts for the press (on their breath?)
A girl that I knew once years ago
Is tryin’ to be reached on the phone

I’m the boy she can’t ignore,
For the first time in my life, I’m sure
All the love sent up high to pledge…

(Repeat)

Priest kneels silent, all is still
Policeman reaches from the sill
Watch him, watch him try his best
There’ll be no medal pinned to his chest

I’m the boy they couldn’t ignore,
For the first time in my life, I’m sure

(Repeat)

I’m the boy for the last time in my life

All the love that they pledge
For the last time will not reach the ledge…

Replacements – Swingin’ Party

Bring your own lampshade
Somewhere there’s a party

This song has just a slight early sixties vibe and shows their expanding repertoire.

Paul Westerberg has said Swingin Party drew on Sinatra’s version of Rodgers and Hart’s standard “Where or When” and The Springfield’s “Flying on the Ground Is Wrong.” It had a trace of Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s “Somethin’ Stupid” and Brian Hyland’s “The Joker Went Wild.” He said if you steal from everything nobody can put a finger on you.

The song’s oscillating rhythms and guitars provided a perfect backdrop for the lyrics.

This song was on their 4th studio album Tim. Yes, they named the album Tim which is pretty funny. It would be the last album founding member and lead guitarist Bob Stinson worked on.

Paul Westerberg: “We named it Tim for no reason at all”.This was the first time we named an album after it was done.We sat around a bar,we were gonna call it Whistler’s Mammy,Van Gogh’s Ear,or England Schmingland.”I think I said Tim and we sat and laughed for a few minutes and then we said,”Why not?”

Paul Westerberg: “One of the reasons we used to drink so much is that it was scary going up onstage. That’s one of the things ‘Swingin Party’ is all about” “The funny thing is, people think you must have all this confidence to get up onstage.”

New Zealand singer Lorde covered Swingin Party”= as the B-side to her second single, “Tennis Court.” The song peaked at #10 in the New Zealand singles chart in 2013.

Swingin’ Party

Bring your own lampshade
Somewhere there’s a party
Here it’s never ending
Can’t remember when it started
Pass around the lampshade
There’ll be plenty enough room in jail

If being alone’s a crime I’m serving forever
Being strong’s your kind
I need help here with this feather
If being afraid is a crime
We hang side by side
At the swingin’ party down the line

On the prairie pavement
Losing proposition
Quitting school and going to work
And never going fishing
Water all around
Never learn how to swim now

If being alone’s a crime I’m serving forever
Being strong’s your kind
Then I need help here with this feather
If being afraid is a crime
We hang side by side
At the swingin’ party down the line
At the swingin’ party down the line

Bring your own lampshade
Somewhere there’s a party
Here it’s never ending
Can’t remember when it started
Pass around the lampshade
There’ll be plenty of room in jail

If being alone’s a crime I’m serving forever
Being strong is what you want
Then I need help here with this feather
If being afraid is a crime
We hang side by side
At the swingin’ party down the line
At the swingin’ party down the line
Catchin’ time
At the swingin’ party down the line

Replacements – Unsatisfied

This is the Replacements 3rd album “Let It Be.” They named it that to joke with their manager who was an obsessed Beatles fan. The song to me sounds like an early Rod Stewart song in style.

While most of the popular music in the world at the time were playing New Wave or Heavy Metal…the Replacements were themselves. No special stage clothes just whatever they were wearing at the time. The word “alternative” was used for the Replacements in the 1980s. Only college stations would play them regularly. They were not good with compromises…and that part took a toll on their popularity…and one of the reasons they are not as well known today.

A band that had one of the best songwriters of the 80s could not get out of their own way and to the masses.

“Unsatisfied” may have been inspired by Westerberg’s developing interest in palmistry. Every palm reader he saw told him that the lines of his hand meant he was doomed to be unhappy forever. The song was a testament to the band’s ad-lib approach. Westerberg barely had any lyrics, save for the “I’m so unsatisfied” hook, and improvised as he sang.

Bob Stinson hadn’t even heard the song before cutting it. “We ran through it one time. Then Bob came in and played along for about half of it. Steve rolled the tape, and that was it,” said Westerberg. “That one was really nice because there was no time to think. He played real well on that—reserved, but with emotion.”

Later on when the Replacements opened up for Keith Richards this song was dedicated to Keith who wrote Satisfaction.

Unsatisfied

Look me in the eye
Then, tell me that I’m satisfied
Was you satisfied?
Look me in the eye
Then, tell me that I’m satisfied
Hey, are you satisfied?

And it goes so slowly on
Everything I’ve ever wanted
Tell me what’s wrong

Look me in the eye
And tell me that I’m satisfied
Were you satisfied?
Look me in the eye
Then, tell me I’m satisfied
And now are you satisfied?

Everything goes
Well, anything goes all of the time
Everything you dream of
Is right in front of you
And everything is a lie (or) And liberty is a lie

Look me in the eye
And tell me that I’m satisfed
Look me in the eye
Unsatisfied
I’m so, I’m so unsatisfied
I’m so dissatisfied
I’m so, I’m so unsatisfied
I’m so unsatisfied
Well, I’m-a
I’m so, I’m so unsatisfied
I’m so dissatis, dissattis…
I’m so

Jim Dickinson – Dixie Fried

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

He was born James Luther Dickinson but most people knew him as Jim Dickinson. It doesn’t get much more southern than this album and the title track.

He worked at Memphis Sun Records and Ardent Studios in the 1960s on, to sessions with the Rolling Stones (piano on Wild Horses at Muscle Shoals), Ry Cooder and Bob Dylan. He also played with his roots band Mud Boy & The Neutrons and the Dixie Flyers.

Dickinson produced recordings for performers as diverse as Willy DeVille, Green on Red, Mojo Nixon, Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, Toots and the Maytals and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.

In the 70s he produced Big Star’s 3rd Sisters/Lovers album and in the 80s The Replacements Please To Meet Me album in Memphis.

In 1971 he started to focus on production work, producing and appearing on Ry Cooder’s acclaimed Into The Purple Valley and Boomer’s Story albums. Atlantic offered him a chance to record a solo album, and his debut Dixie Fried came out in 1972. It gave him the chance to present his own off-beat take on southern roots music, resulting in an album full of R&B and country.

The song was written by Carl Perkins and Howard “Curley” Griffin.

So if you want… sit back and sip some Tennessee Straight Sour Mash Whiskey and get Dixie Fried.

Dixie Fried

On the outskirts of town, there’s a little night spot
Dan dropped in about five o’clock
Took off his jacket, said, the night is short
He reached in his pocket and he flashed a quart

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Well, Dan got happy and he started raving
He pulled out a razor, but he wasn’t shaving
And all the cats knew to jump and hop
‘Cause Dan was raised in a butcher shop

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Well, the cops heard Dan when he started to shout
They all ran in to see what it was about
And I heard him holler as they led him away
He turned his head and this is what he had to say

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you

Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Now, Dan was the bravest man that we ever saw
He let us all know, he wasn’t scared of the law
The black dog barked, but the boy didn’t flinch
He said, it ain’t my fault, hon, that I been pinched

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Now, Dan was the bravest man we ever saw
He let us all know he wasn’t scared of the law
And I heard him holler as they led him away
He turned his head and this was what he had to say

He hollered, rave on, children, I’m with you
Rave on, cats, he cried
It’s almost dawn, the cops are gone
Let’s all get Dixie fried

Yeah, it’s almost dawn, the cops ain’t gone
And I’ve been Dixie fried

Replacements – Johnny’s Gonna Die

Johnny always needs more than he takes
Forgets a couple of chords, forgets a couple of breaks
And everybody tells me that Johnny is hot
Johnny needs something, what he ain’t got

Almost anything off of a Replacements album is going to be an album cut. This one is off of their debut album Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash. The album was released on the small  Minneapolis, Minnesota label Twin Tone in 1981.

I listened to them in the mid 80s but lost touch until recently. I’m going through all of their albums so I will be post some from every album coming up. I never knew their first album too much but I like it a lot. It’s punkish, rock, raw,  with some great lyrics by Paul Westerberg. On this one Bob Stinson’s guitar playing feels like it may break down at anytime but stays on course and I love what he plays.

This song is about punk guitarist Johnny Thunders (John Anthony Genzale) who was a founding member of the New York Dolls. He also played with the punk band The Heartbreakers. He was in Minneapolis in 1980 with his  band Gang War playing in a bar. The Replacements desperately wanted to open, but were beat out for the gig by Hüsker Dü.

He was physically struggling through the show, while battling an audience hurling objects, Thunders had been rendered a prisoner of his own addictions and cult infamy.  Westerberg was in the audience and wrote this song about him.

You don’t see this happen everyday…I mean writing about “Johnny’s Gonna Die” when the guy is alive. Thunders did live a little longer…he died in 1991.

Paul Westerberg on watching Johnny Thunders: “He was frightening and beautiful and mean at the same time,” he said. “Like a child.”

“When Johnny was playing, it looked like he was walking dead, It was pitiful, like watching a guy in a cage.”

Johnny’s Gonna Die

Johnny always takes more than he needs
Knows a couple chords, knows a couple leads
Johnny always needs more than he takes
Forgets a couple of chords, forgets a couple of breaks
And everybody tells me Johnny is hot
Johnny needs something that he ain’t got

And Johnny’s gonna die
Johnny’s gonna die
Johnny’s gonna die

Everybody stares and everybody hoots
Johnny always needs more than he shoots
Standing by a beach and there ain’t no lake
He’s got friends without no guts, friends that never ache
In New York City, I guess it’s cool when it’s dark
There’s one sure way Johnny you can leave your mark

And Johnny’s gonna die
Johnny’s gonna die
Johnny’s gonna die

Replacements – Here Comes A Regular

Well a person can work up a mean mean thirst
after a hard day of nothin’ much at all

I can’t tell you how much I like this ballad by The Replacements. This song sounds so authentic that it hurts. I don’t normally try to interrupt songs. They mean different things to different people but this one hit home for me…I knew people like this and I spent my fair share of  time in bars playing to drinking customers.

The song is sad but an honest portrait. It’s a lonely life but a comfort to have people to be lonely with… but it also is a signal  that you could be spiraling slowly down. I have never been drinker but I did haunt some clubs (mostly playing music) in my earlier days nursing a drink into the night. I remember one night being at a club at 2am in the morning…thinking why the hell am I still here? That is when my days of being a regular stopped.

Tim is the fourth studio album by  The Replacements. It was released in October 1985 on Sire Records. It was their first major label release. Paul Westerberg wrote this song and played acoustic.

The Replacements - Tim cover.jpg

You’re like a picture on the fridge that’s never stocked with food
I used to live at home, now I stay at their house

Here Comes A Regular

Well a person can work up a mean mean thirst
after a hard day of nothin’ much at all
Summer’s passed, it’s too late to cut the grass
There ain’t much to rake anyway in the fall

And sometimes I just ain’t in the mood
to take my place in back with the loudmouths
You’re like a picture on the fridge that’s never stocked with food
I used to live at home, now I stay at the house

And everybody wants to be special here
They call your name out loud and clear
Here comes a regular
Call out your name
Here comes a regular
Am I the only one here today?

Well a drinkin’ buddy that’s bound to another town
Once the police made you go away
And even if you’re in the arms of someone’s baby now
I’ll take a great big whiskey to ya anyway

Everybody wants to be someone’s here
Someone’s gonna show up, never fear
’cause here comes a regular
Call out your name
Here comes a regular
Am I the only one who feels ashamed?

Kneeling alongside old Sad Eyes
He says opportunity knocks once then the door slams shut
All I know is I’m sick of everything that my money can buy
The fool who wastes his life, God rest his guts

First the lights, then the collar goes up, and the wind begins to blow
Turn your back on a pay-you-back, last call
First the glass, then the leaves that pass, then comes the snow
Ain’t much to rake anyway in the fall

Replacements – Bastards Of Young

The ones, love us best are the ones we’ll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones, love us least are the ones we’ll die to please
If it’s any consolation, I don’t begin to understand them

This song starts with a raw cool riff and a scream…how much more rock and roll can you get? The lyrics above is what got me into this song in the 80s.

The song was on the album Tim released in 1985. The album was produced by Tommy Ramone. Alex Chilton also helped out with the album.

Why was the album called Tim? There was no reference to the name on the album. The bands manager said that he asked Paul Westerberg what the name of the album would be. Paul told him “Tim” and the manager asked why? Paul said “because it’s such a nice name. “

Tim (The Replacements album) - Wikipedia

 It was placed 136th on Rolling Stone’s 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and 137 in a 2012 revised list. The album peaked at #186 in the Billboard Album Chart in 1986. 

“Bastards of Young” was used in the 2020 film The New Mutants during the “party” scene where they are relaxing even though they are still confined.

Paul Westerberg working on the album: “”Writing songs like ‘Androgynous’ and ‘Answering Machine’ wasn’t difficult – presenting them to the group was. I’d been tinkering with stuff like that early on… It was hard getting across the idea we should just put the best songs on the record, even if there wasn’t always a place for Bob to have a hot lead. Bob was the hard one to get to acquiesce. So [Tim] ended up putting the chink in the armor of the idea of us as a four-piece rock band.”


From Songfacts

Fitting with the rebellious nature of The Replacements, this song is about a lost generation. The references to “Elvis” and the “Baby Boom” imply their parents, who see them as nothing more than tax deductions. “Bastard” is a derogatory term for a child born out of wedlock.

Some have speculated that the chorus is actually, “We are the sons of Norway” (somewhat fitting, given the Minnesota birthplace of all members) but, (famously) as no lyric sheet was ever provided by the band, it remains speculation.

The video is a black-and-white, single shot of a stereo system playing the song. He see a guy enter the frame, lie on the couch and smoke a cigarette, but we never see his face. At the end of the clip, he kicks over a speaker and leaves.

Bastards of Young

God, what a mess, on the ladder of success
Where you take one step and miss the whole first rung
Dreams unfulfilled, graduate unskilled
It beats pickin’ cotton and waitin’ to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
The daughters and the sons

Clean your baby womb, trash that baby boom
Elvis in the ground, there’ll ain’t no beer tonight
Income tax deduction, what a hell of a function
It beats pickin’ cotton or waitin’ to be forgotten

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
Now the daughters and the sons

Unwillingness to claim us, ya got no war to name us

The ones, love us best are the ones we’ll lay to rest
And visit their graves on holidays at best
The ones, love us least are the ones we’ll die to please
If it’s any consolation, I don’t begin to understand them

We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
We are the sons of no one, bastards of young
Daughters and the sons

Young, young, young, young

Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours
Take it, it’s yours

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_(The_Replacements_album)#:~:text=Tim%20is%20the%20fourth%20studio,towards%20the%20end%20of%201986.

The Replacements – Alex Chilton —-Powerpop Friday

The Replacement’s tribute song about Big Star and Box Tops lead singer, Alex Chilton. The song was off the album Please To Meet Me.

The Replacements recorded Pleased To Meet Me in Memphis at Ardent Studios, the same studio as Big Star. The man behind the board was Jim Dickinson, who produced the storied third   Big Star album. Alex came into the studio a few times while the Replacements were working on the record (and laid down a guitar fill for “Can’t Hardly Wait”), but the band avoided the awkwardness of playing “Alex Chilton” whenever Chilton was around.

From Songfacts

This song is a tribute to former Box Tops/Big Star member Alex Chilton, credited by many as being the founder of Power Pop. He has produced several songs for The Replacements. The song is not only a tribute, but a reminder of Alex Chilton’s relative obscurity, as emphasized in the ironically hyperbolic chorus: “And children by the million sing for Alex Chilton/When he comes ’round/They sing, “I’m in love/What’s that song?/Yeah, I’m in love, with that song.” 

 In a 2008 interview with Rockband.com, the Replacements singer and guitar Paul Westerberg, who co-wrote the song with bandmates Chris Mars and Tommy Stinson, said that he couldn’t remember if Chilton played on the track: “He was there. I mean, uh…well, s–t did he play on it… I don’t know if we had actually played with him earlier or not but I don’t think we had the ‘Alex Chilton’ song when we he did that ‘Can’t Hardly Wait,’ that early thing.”

In the same interview, Westerberg described the songwriting process: “it’s one of those where melody and chord changes were there and the lyrics changed over the course of six months or so. By the time we were down in Memphis we had already met Alex and I steered it toward him. Of course it was as the legend goes ‘George from Outer Space’ was the first working title, but that just didn’t grab it quite as well. I just thought it would be fun to write a song about a living person and we’ve been through this, Al and I, and I sort of regret the albatross that it’s came with… I was certainly trying to like, I guess, hip the outside world on who this guy might be publicly, but he didn’t need that. It would kind of hurt if he was always known as Alex Chilton of that song.”

In a 1987 interview with Buzz magazine, asked how he felt about the song, Alex Chilton said: “Uh well, I didn’t feel any way about it. I mean I’m so used to having these kind of fawning, imbecilic fans you know. To have it take on some coherence is refreshing.”

Alex Chilton

If he was from Venus, would he feed us with a spoon?
If he was from Mars, wouldn’t that be cool?
Standing right on campus, would he stamp us in a file?
Hangin’ down in Memphis all the while.

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes ’round
They sing “I’m in love. What’s that song? I’m in love with that song.”

Cerebral rape and pillage in a village of his choice.
Invisible man who can sing in a visible voice.
Feeling like a hundred bucks, exchanging good lucks face to face.
Checkin’ his stash by the trash at St. Mark’s place.

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes ’round
They sing “I’m in love. What’s that song? I’m in love with that song.”

I never travel far, without a little Big Star

Runnin’ ’round the house, Mickey Mouse and the Tarot cards.
Falling asleep with a flop pop video on.
If he was from Venus, would he meet us on the moon?
If he died in Memphis, then that’d be cool, babe.

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes ’round
They sing “I’m in love. What’s that song? I’m in love with that song.”

“I’m in love. What’s that song? I’m in love with that song.”