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2020.02.26 - Free Time - Former Replacements Bassist Tommy Stinson Looks Forward, Not Back

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2020.02.26 - Free Time - Former Replacements Bassist Tommy Stinson Looks Forward, Not Back  Empty 2020.02.26 - Free Time - Former Replacements Bassist Tommy Stinson Looks Forward, Not Back

Post by Soulmonster on Wed Feb 26, 2020 1:30 pm

Former Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson looks forward, not back

Let it be
By Vincent Harris

Tommy Stinson played bass for two of the most influential bands of the ’80s: The Replacements and Guns N’ Roses. Admittedly, he didn’t actually play for GnR during the ’80s. That gig came later, in the 2000s after singer Axl Rose reformed the band without any of its original members.

In the actual ’80s, Stinson was too busy being the youngest member of an alternative band that never quite made the big time, playing lovable, drunken, ragged, punk-inspired rock on beloved albums like Tim, Pleased to Meet Me and Don’t Tell a Soul.

Despite the critical acclaim and industry buzz that the band got throughout the decade, The Replacements never mustered a single gold record, much less a hit single, but thanks to singer-songwriter Paul Westerberg’s brilliant, wounded songs, they influenced a host of artists who sold far more albums than they did.

Artists like the Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day, The Gaslight Anthem, and even Lorde have paid homage to The Replacements, and when they briefly reunited in 2015 for the first time since their acrimonious early-’90s breakup, they seemed to have more fans than ever.

“I think we left a good mark,” Stinson tells Free Times. “And we made some great records. That’s really all you can ask for out of something like this — that people like you and that you left some kind of a mark somewhere in the annals of music. You have to respect that. Not everyone gets so lucky.”

In fact, it doesn’t even bother Stinson that the general public didn’t seem to care much about The Replacements until after they’d broken up.

“That happens to all bands when they break up after they’ve achieved any kind of notoriety,” he says. “When they get back together, suddenly a whole lot more people want to see them because they never saw you back in the day. You get that rush of excitement from new people who have only heard the stories.”

For his part, Stinson actually moved on pretty quickly from The Replacements, and barring that one reunion, he hasn’t really looked back, morphing from bassist to singer/songwriter/guitarist and diving into all sorts of projects.

He founded a melodic garage rock band called Bash & Pop, formed a rollicking guitar duo called Cowboys in the Campfire with his friend Chip Roberts, served stints in both Guns N’ Roses and Soul Asylum, and released two albums, the stylistic grab-bags Village Gorilla Head and One Man Mutiny, under his own name.

That’s a lot of different projects for a guy who was once simply the bass player.

“It was kind of a natural progression,” he says of his evolution from sideman to frontman. “I do it so many different ways because I have such a short attention span that I don’t want to do just one thing for too long.”

Stinson is currently occupying himself with a rare solo acoustic tour, which will bring him to Columbia this week.

“It’s just me stripped down, playing songs,” Stinson offers. “It’s easier for me to tour between records while still getting out there. And it helps to switch it up every once in a while and get different experiences. These are mostly intimate shows, and I get to rub elbows with people a little more. It just makes it a special experience.

“When you’re on your own, you’re pretty much naked up there, and that has rewards in its own way.”

But just because he’s playing unplugged doesn’t mean that the punk-inspired rocker has become an introspective singer-songwriter.

“I make a lot of racket with the acoustic guitar, I’ll put it that way,” he quips. “I don’t play acoustic quietly; I beat on it. I’m a bass player, so I want to play acoustic guitar as good as I can bang on a bass, you know?”

As for the setlist, Stinson says you can expect a mix of his solo songs, pared-down versions of Bash & Pop tunes both old and new, and the occasional cover.

But there are also some things you should not expect.

“I don’t play GnR or Replacements songs. I play my own s#!t,” he declares. “Every once in a while, people will ask for something [by The Replacements] and I’ll say, ‘Yeah, you’re dreaming.’ I’ll mess with them some way or another so that they know that that’s not going to happen.”  

What: Tommy Stinson
Where: Cola Town Bike Collective, 711 Elmwood Dr.
When: Friday, Feb. 28, 7 p.m.
With: Dashdown
Price: $25 ($100 with meet and greet)
More: 803-216-5106,

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