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2003.09.05 - The Boston Phoenix - For Stinson, Everything's Coming Up Roses

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2003.09.05 - The Boston Phoenix - For Stinson, Everything's Coming Up Roses Empty 2003.09.05 - The Boston Phoenix - For Stinson, Everything's Coming Up Roses

Post by Blackstar on Sat Sep 12, 2020 11:13 am

Tommy’s guns

For Stinson, everything’s coming up Roses

BY CARLY CARIOLI

Boston has always had a soft spot for the Replacements, and that affection has been reflected over the years in a tide of bands who’ve followed the ’Mats to the demilitarized zone where rabid pop and melodic punk collide. So it’s not surprising to find that Tommy Stinson, who joined his brother Bob in the Replacements at the tender age of 12, has a few Boston connections of his own. When Stinson — better known to kids these days as the bassist in Guns N’ Roses — shows up at the Middle East next Saturday, he’ll be playing some new songs as well as tunes from his ’90s outfits Perfect (whose never-issued 1998 album is being readied for a long-delayed release next spring on the Salem-based Rykodisc label) and Bash and Pop. And he’ll be backed by the Figgs (whose leader, Mike Gent, is an honorary local boy by virtue of his leadership of the Boston-based outfit the Gentlemen) in collusion with Somerville roots-rocker Jake Brennan.

"I’ve known the Figgs guys for 10 years," Stinson says, fighting a cough from a tour stop in Milwaukee. "I always kept in touch with Gent and wanted to do something with him, and when I decided to play a few shows before going back on the GNR clock, I called them up." The Figgs have served a similar backing-band role for Graham Parker, and though Stinson had seen that incarnation, "I knew what they could do way before that. They’re all great musicians."

The new songs in Stinson’s set are taken from an album that’s already in the can and that he hopes to release next February or March. The idea to record a solo album came "really by chance," he says. "My friend Dave Philips is the guitarist for Frank Black and the Catholics, and I’ve got friendly with Charles [Thompson, a/k/a Frank Black] over the years. When the Catholics went on their European tour last year, Charles let me use his home studio to make a record, as long as I took care of his engineer. So it was a great opportunity to record these songs that I’d been sitting on for a while, and I had fun with it. I don’t know that it’s terribly different from Bash and Pop or Perfect. It’s probably a little more experimental in places, a little more introverted, a little more eclectic. It’s all over the place, which is how I like records when I’m listening to them."

Guests on the album include Philips (who played guitar in Perfect before joining the Catholics) as well as current GNR members Josh Freese and Dizzy Reed. It’s the first music Stinson’s made for himself — that is, aside from his work on GNR and, in a cameo, on P-Diddy’s rock remix of "It’s All About the Benjamins" — since Perfect disbanded. When Restless balked at that band’s 1998 album (the still-untitled disc Ryko will reissue), Stinson had already been approached to join GNR. "I think the label got cold feet on how to promote it, and rather than get screwed, I realized the GNR thing was more what I wanted to do — I’d gotten beaten up with record-company bullshit and I just wanted to play in a band and pull myself together."

After next weekend’s Middle East gig — the tour’s last — Stinson rejoins Axl and company for what he says is the last bit of work on Chinese Democracy. "There’s definitely a record, and it’s definitely close to being done. And Axl’s been super supportive. So hopefully the GNR album will be out early in the new year, and my album will come out in February or March, and then I’ll have all this new music to promote. Y’know, I’m pretty lucky with all this."

Tommy Stinson, the Figgs, and Jake Brennan and the Confidence Men perform next Saturday, September 13, at the Middle East, 480 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square; call (617) 864-EAST.

https://web.archive.org/web/20170514152625/http://bostonphoenix.com/boston/events/future/documents/03129992.asp
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