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Reviews of 'One Man Mutiny', Tommy's new solo record

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Reviews of 'One Man Mutiny', Tommy's new solo record

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Sep 01, 2011 3:37 am

Tommy Stinson: One Man Mutiny
By Zachary Houle 1 September 2011
All for a Good Cause

I learned the hard way that debating the merits of the former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson’s songwriting work can lead to much awkwardness. Case in point: It was 1998, I was just finishing journalism school in Ottawa, Canada, and managed to snag a meeting with the editor-in-chief of The Ottawa Xpress, which is the city’s alternative weekly, to discuss story ideas I had for the paper. I met this individual in his dimly lit, almost broom closet-sized backroom office one weekday morning, and before I got around to making some pitches, we made small talk, yapping about various bands or musicians that we liked and admired.

I don’t know how we got onto the legendary Replacements, one of the pre-eminent bands of the ‘80s college rock revolution, but we did and I brought up that I really liked the teenaged Stinson’s contribution to the band. He had a song called “Satellite” that I had fallen for on the, at the time, fairly recently released All for Nothing, Nothing for All compilation of album cuts and rarities spanning the group’s tenure on Sire Records. (“Satellite” was, of course, relegated to the B-sides disc as it never saw the light of day on any Replacements album.) Well, there was a pregnant pause in the room before the editor-in-chief casually remarked, “Eh, that song’s just okay. But what can you expect from the band’s bassist? Bassists never contribute worthwhile songs”. And that was that. I did go on to write a few articles for the indie paper before landing a dream gig on the arts desk of the major broadsheet newspaper in town for an incredible summer not long after that, but I have to wonder if I shot down my chances for a regular gig at the indie journalist level by swearing by my affinity for all things Tommy Stinson.

While the bassist played second fiddle in the Replacements to the godlike talent of front man Paul Westerberg, Stinson’s career didn’t exactly implode after the break-up of that band in 1991—not counting a reported stint as a telemarketer in the ‘90s during one particularly lean period. He went on to form the bluesy Bash & Pop in the early ‘90s—stepping out to be singer and guitarist—and then, when that group folded, he formed another, more straight-ahead rock band called Perfect, which lasted the better part of the decade. What Stinson is best known for though, at least post-Replacements, is for being the bassist in the current iteration of Guns N’ Roses. What’s more, aside from being a gun for hire in that band (ha!), Stinson has gone on to replace the late Karl Mueller as bassist in fellow Minnesota rockers Soul Asylum as well. Add a solo effort released in 2004 entitled Village Gorilla Head, and what you have is a guy who is certainly in demand—or whom at least likes to work a lot. Now, Stinson is unleashing his follow-up solo album, One Man Mutiny, released on his own Done to Death Music label, which feels like a distillation of all that he’s learned at the right hands of both Axl Rose and Westerberg. Sometimes, that distillation of the two seemingly disparate sources comes right in the same song.

That tendency rears itself only two tracks in, on the bluesy swagger of “It’s a Drag”, which bristles against the sonic touchstone of the Replacements’ infatuation with swampy Small Faces early-styled rock and roll. There’s meat and muscle to be found in the song, and even though it rambles into Stones territory, it’s not very far from the metallic hustle that Guns N’ Roses would lay down. In fact, the opening two salvos, “Don’t Deserve You” and “It’s a Drag”, show Stinson infatuated with the garage revival of the likes of the Black Keys. The riffs are loose and smothered in Southern grease, and Stinson’s voice—which was helium-like on “Satellite”—is now deeper, fuller and much more worn for wear.

As a whole, the songs aren’t bad, but they actually are the most incongruous things to be found on the record, because by the time you get to the third track, “Meant to Be”, Stinson shifts gears noticeably, and moves squarely into Westerbergian homage for the remainder of the 10 cuts to be found on One Man Mutiny. As far as the first two items go, the name of the record label seems a bit ironic: indeed, this style of gritty rock and roll has been, quite literally, done to death. The opening is a bit strange considering the more poppy track Stinson takes with the rest of the material. It’s as though Stinson wanted to prove his mettle to the meatheads in the crowd who lap up his Guns work. It’s not an embarrassing way to begin an album, but it does feel a little rote.

By the time you get to “Meant to Be”, the tone shifts dramatically into Replacements style jangle rock. This, too, is not a bad thing as the song is agreeable enough with a hummable melody, but it is interchangeable with anything either Westerberg or Whiskeytown-era Ryan Adams has penned: basic Americana heartland rock with a hint of pop peppered into the mix. “All This Way for Nothing”, which is up next on the playlist, is essentially more of the same, though there’s the presence of a slide guitar that you can wipe your brow with just to change things up very slightly, which conversely references back to the double opening shot of songs. “Come to Hide” is an acoustic guitar ballad of the sort that would snuggle in quite nicely on the Replacements’ languid swan song All Shook Down.

The rest of One Man Mutiny basically follows a similar pattern: you’d swear that some of these tracks were pulled from the ‘Mats songbook, though the album gets progressively countrified as it goes along. “Zero to Stupid”, in particular, feels like an empty bottle re-write of “If Only You Were Lonely”. The final cut and title track is an off-the-cuff acoustic jangle that reaches back to the feel of “Treatment Bound” with its delayed count-in intro, broken up by Stinson’s fits of laughter trying to keep a straight face while starting the song. It was actually recorded with Guns N’ Roses members Dizzy Reed and Richard Fortus in the Conrad Hotel’s restaurant in Brussels, Belgium, during a day off from the Guns’ 2010 world tour. Closer to home, Stinson manages to convince his fiancée Emily Roberts to duet with him on “Destroy Me”, which is another cookie-cutter Westerberg sound-a-like. Overall, originality isn’t really Stinson’s strong suit.

One Man Mutiny is, then, a showcase for Stinson’s skills mining disparate genres of music, from the blues to jangle pop to country. As a result, it is a lumpy concoction that doesn’t quite form into something that feels thematically or musically connected as a whole. Still, it is a generally solid collection of songs for those who forlornly wait for that full-fledged Replacements reunion that will probably never happen. Plus, there’s a charitable reason to buy this album: a portion of the net proceeds from the album’s sales will go towards funding the Timkatec Schools in Haiti, which house and provide skilled trade education for abandoned and orphaned youths in Port-au-Prince. Given the utter catastrophe that befell the city and country following last year’s earthquake, this is a particularly worthy cause that Stinson has wound up supporting. Therefore, buy One Man Mutiny if you want a dose of music while donating to something noble and great. But also buy the record if you need any further proof that there was more than one talent in the Replacements. While One Man Mutiny doesn’t aspire to reach the heights of the Holy Trinity of Let It Be, Tim or Pleased to Meet Me, the album makes a case for Stinson’s songwriting prowess, even if it does feel a bit borrowed throughout his sophomore release. Despite its familiarity, One Man Mutiny makes a case that sometimes bassists do have something worthwhile to contribute musically. Just don’t say that out loud to any indie paper editor-in-chiefs.

Source: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/146646-tommy-stinson-one-man-mutiny/
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Re: Reviews of 'One Man Mutiny', Tommy's new solo record

Post by Soulmonster on Fri Sep 02, 2011 5:57 am



TOMMY STINSON, bassist for scrappy American rock institution the Replacements and low-end holder for Guns ’N’ Roses and Soul Asylum, takes AP through One Man Mutiny, his new solo album, released on his own label, Done To Death Music.

“Don't Deserve You”
As I sat down to write and demo this song, I knew it was going to be the first song on the record. I had already written a few of the others, but this one jumped out at me like an old man waiting at the bar for a drink while growing extremely impatient.

“It's A Drag”
I started this one at Uncle Chip's weekend getaway at the Chesapeake. I thought about the kids in the back seat of the car listening to their parents argue while on the once-a-year vacation. Isn't that how they all start?

“Meant To Be”
A song about the many woes of hanging out with someone you shouldn't be hanging out with. To be continued…

“All This Way For Nothing”
A song about traveling all the way to the end of the earth looking for something you think you are missing or you need, only to wake up still stuck with the person you see in the mirror.”

“Come To Hide”
This is a 10-year-old fucking song about a group of friends dispersing into adulthood. This was originally made for [Stinson’s first solo album, 2004’s] Village Gorilla Head, but I already had enough songs in the key of bummer on that one, already.

“Seize The Moment”
If you are one of those people forever trying to force your will on the world—or trying to be something you are not—this is the song for you.

“Zero To Stupid”
We wrote this song in Great Uncle Albert’s backyard while cooking organ meats—gizzards, pancreases, etc. It’s [guitarist] Chip Roberts vernacular coming to true life: “Zero to stupid” is a regular [phrase] in his/our vocabulary. By the time we got home to Philly from Hudson, the song was written.

“Match Made In Hell”
[Replacements frontman] Paul Westerberg wrote the countermelody in the chorus, recorded it and sent it back to me. But he recorded it in a format I couldn’t use, so I had to re-cut the vocal myself.

“Destroy Me”
This is my first duet. Whoever thinks they’re going to write a fucking duet is strange to me, but this just happened, and I love it. I miss my girl [Emily Roberts, Stinson’s fiancée] right now: She’s sitting upstairs, and I’m sitting here talking about bullshit.

“One Man Mutiny”
This song spawned from an inner-bus dispute on the Guns ’N’ Roses tour in Europe. Somebody tried to drag me into it, and I said, “Keep me out of your mess. I’ve got my own problems—I’m a one-man mutiny.” I wrote it in one sitting and recorded it in the restaurant of the Conrad Hotel in Brussels with Dizzy Reed and Richard Fortus [from GNR], mainly because they had a really nice piano in there.

Source: http://www.altpress.com/features/entry/track_by_track_tommy_stinson?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=altpress
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Re: Reviews of 'One Man Mutiny', Tommy's new solo record

Post by Soulmonster on Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:20 pm

Tommy Stinson, One Man Mutiny. Really and truly, this one-time Replacements bassist should have replaced Bill Wyman in the Rolling Stones. Nothing against the Brits choosing Daryl Jones to take that position, but they really missed the boat. Because if ever someone could have been a Stone, it was Stinson. He joined the 'Mats when he was only 12, and lived for rock and roll like only a few ever get to. Plus the rocker had the real attitude. He may be a generation or two behind Keith Richards, but no one ever came close to matching that swagger and soul like Tommy Stinson did. And lucky for us, he still does.

There are songs here for every occasion, from the Stoneseque knockabout of "It's a Drag" to the crushing ballad "Come to Hide." No one is writing or playing better rock right now than Tommy Stinson, and while he was never the frontperson in the Replacements, he kept the fires burning probably knowing it was only a matter of time before he'd have his chance. After his Bash & Pop and Perfect bands, One Man Mutiny puts him smack dab in the middle of the action, and he doesn't waste a moment.

It is said that we will all have our moments if we are patient and put in the time. Stinson never backed off, and no doubt had his dedication tested over and over. But that's rock 'n' roll for you: quitters need not apply to the profession. It's a life that chooses you, not the other way around. Minneapolis might be buried in snow when the young boy had to carry a bass taller than himself through it to practice in freezing basements; the light shined down on him and showed the way. The beauty of this new music proves that light never goes out if you believe. Tommy Stinson is a believer.

Source: http://www.themortonreport.com/entertainment/music/bentleys-bandstand-hugh-laurie-tommy-stinson-bob-seger/
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Re: Reviews of 'One Man Mutiny', Tommy's new solo record

Post by Soulmonster on Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:33 pm

Tommy Stinson

One Man Mutiny

(Done To Death Music)

Rating: ★★★½☆

With a new-found focus and confidence in his songwriting, Tommy Stinson, Mr. ex-Replacement, has released One Man Mutiny , probably the most consistent record quality-wise of his solo career (aside from Bash & Pop’s classic debut, Friday Night is Killing Me, of course, still a high point.)

Never one to sit still, Stinson has been doubling down as the bass player for both Guns and Roses and Soul Asylum now for years. Early on, he occasionally released records under the guise of his own bands, Bash & Pop and Perfect. This is his second solo record, but the first to be on his own label, Done to Death Music. Tommy is donating record proceeds to Haitian refugees after visiting the earthquake-torn country last year.

So many soused tall tales and shaggy-dog stories have been ginned up about the post-punk pioneers through the years that there’s no need to rehash the raw magnificence of the Replacements. Maybe it’s enough to say this: Tommy was thirteen when he joined the Minneapolis wrecking crew, and twenty-four when the band broke up in 1991. Behind their seven seismic records and one of a kind, volcanic live shows, the foursome became legends in their own time—not a minor feat for a cast of scrawny, suburban punks with a blonde, teenage bass player holding a fake ID amongst them.

One Man Mutiny does a great job of balancing Stinson’s pop-punk sheen with a bittersweet dose of aching ballads. From the punchy, bright rhythms of the should-be, first single, “Meant to Be”, to the chiming anthem, “All This Way for Nothing”, Tommy’s new songs flow into each other with little drop-off in quality. He even offers up his first duet on “Destroy Me” with his fiancee, Emily Roberts, whose uncle, Chip Roberts, shades a few songs like “Zero to Stupid” with plaintive pedal steel guitar to give them a countryfied lilt.

Like his ex-bandmate, Paul Westerberg, Stinson soaks his songs in yearning–but uses lighter, less melancholy tones. His engaging, hyperactive yelp of a voice propels him through the set, and though he might lack Paul’s raspy presence, Tommy shares his old friend’s gift for melody and a similar rascal’s charm. Both traits serve him well here on this mid-tempo, spiky round of rockers set in major keys.

It’s worth remembering that Jim Dickinson, the legendary Memphis musician who produced the Mats’ Pleased to Meet Me as well as Big Star and also played with the Stones, once said, “Some people say that Keith Richards is the embodiment of rock ‘n roll. Well, I know ‘em both, and I say it’s Tommy Stinson. Keith is a cowboy, he goes back to Gene Autry. Tommy—he goes back to Johnny Thunders. Tommy Stinson is rock ‘n roll.”

Tommy recorded the title track in a Belgian hotel on an off-night while he toured with Guns and Roses. It’s an acoustic stunner, a late night lament full of road-dog fumes and regret, a Stinson primer.

What becomes more obvious with every new Stinson release is that Westerberg never solely owned the blueprint patent on the Replacements’ sound. Their classic brand of ragged but right, guitar driven rock echoes thru Tommy’s music as much as it does through Paul’s—a lucky blessing for us.

Source: http://www.americansongwriter.com/2011/09/tommy-stinson-one-man-mutiny/
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