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2004.09.02 - Rocky Mountain News - At Last, Tommy Stinson Gets His Strokes

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2004.09.02 - Rocky Mountain News - At Last, Tommy Stinson Gets His Strokes Empty 2004.09.02 - Rocky Mountain News - At Last, Tommy Stinson Gets His Strokes

Post by Blackstar on Wed Aug 26, 2020 1:09 pm


Mark Brown
Rocky Mountain News

Even the hardest-core fans of the '80s rock band The Replacements thought they knew how it all worked. Paul Westerberg was the creative genius behind the band. As good as bassist Tommy Stinson was, Westerberg was the heart and soul.

Except then Stinson's first album after the breakup, Friday Night is Killing Me, was released under the band name Bash & Pop. And then his next group, Perfect, was up. And now Stinson's first true solo album is here, Village Gorilla Head, and damned if they don't all recall the best of The Replacements' work.

Time for a little revising of history, but Stinson (who is at the Bluebird Theatre tonight with Alien Crime Syndicate) is having none of it. The belated appreciation doesn't interest him.

"I really don't ponder things like that," he says by phone from San Francisco. "I've gotten so far away from The Replacements thing in terms of years and in every aspect, I guess."

He finally decided to go out without a band name to hide him after a decade of getting ready to be a frontman, he says.

"The biggest difference . . . was just having it all weigh on me as opposed to hiding behind anyone else or having anything else to hide the nakedness of it," Stinson says.

Stinson has long been friends with Frank Black of the Pixies, who gave him a chance to quickly record the new album.

"Our paths have probably crossed several times over the years with the 'Mats and the Pixies crossing paths. A really good friend played in The Catholics (Black's back-up band). I did some sessions with them," Stinson says. "They went to Europe for their spring tour last year; they let me use all their stuff to make my recording."

Stinson had been gathering songs over the years for the album, and quickly took advantage of the studio time.

"The whole thing pretty much fell together on its own. I didn't really have a plan or try to make anything from nothing."

He didn't want to go out solo acoustic, so he hooked up with Alien Crime Syndicate to have a strong backing band in place.

"What I'm doing is I open up the show with a small acoustic set on my quieter stuff where I have those guys come up to join me. Then they continue on without me and do their rock show. Then I come back to join them to play some of my rock songs. We try to make it as seamless as possible."

Stinson's first big claim to fame was joining The Replacements at 13, but it was anything but a novelty. His bass playing is among the most stylized in alternative rock, with melodic lines bouncing around the melody.

"It's probably from listening to the Motown records or Paul McCartney. I think where he made his big turn in life on bass was Motown records as well, I suppose. The melody of the song is the vocal melody, then the bass melody," he says. "I've always tried to keep an open mind to different things that I haven't done yet. I'll throw a rag under the strings to make it sound like an upright."

His other big public work has been in Axl Roses' re-formed Guns N' Roses, which has released only one song and had a couple of aborted tours since Rose disbanded the original lineup more than a decade ago.
The long-delayed, well-over-budget album, Chinese Democracy, is almost out, Stinson swears.

"I'll probably be touring this record up till the end of the year. Then I'm thinking the GNR record will be coming out real soon after that. Then I'll be touring behind that record. I'm anticipating being on the road for the next year and a half, two years," he says.

Chinese Democracy "is almost done. Closer than it has ever been, for certain. I went and listened to some of the songs before I left L.A. to make sure my two cents were thrown in, so to speak. I was pretty stoked about it. I heard some really, really great stuff that I hadn't heard in a long time."



Tommy Stinson
* When and where: 9 p.m. today, Bluebird Theatre, 3317 E. Colfax Ave.
* Cost: $11
* Information: 866-468-7621 or

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