As far as Minneapolis rock lore goes, dreams of the Replacements one day reuniting are nestled into our hope chest alongside our desire that Prince will return to First Avenue to play Purple Rain from start to finish or that Bob Dylan will finally admitting that he kinda likes his homestate of Minnesota after all.
So it was with great skepticism that I read this new report from Rolling Stone, in which Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg says that not only has he reunited with founding member Tommy Stinson to record an EP to honor ailing guitarist Slim Dunlap, but that the likelihood of a new Replacements album is, for the first time in over two decades, “Possible.”
“After playing with Tommy last week, I was thinking, ‘All right, let’s crank it up and knock out a record like this,'” Westerberg told Rolling Stone. “I’m closer to it now than I was two years ago, let’s say that.”
Be still our jaded, cynical, yet still lightly palpitating hearts.
This is a huge development for ‘Mats fans, and the timing of it is even more synchronic: Dunlap, who joined the Replacements in 1987 after Bob Stinson left the group, has been making a long, slow recovery this year after suffering a stroke this past February. The new benefit EP, which features a cover of Dunlap’s “Busted Up, Broadway tune “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” Gordon Lightfoot’s “I’m Not Sayin’,” and Hank Williams’ “Lost Highway,” will be pressed onto a limited run of 250 10″ vinyl albums and auctioned off online.
Westerberg says Replacements drummer Chris Mars declined to participate (“I was not surprised, but I was a little disappointed,” Westerberg told the magazine), and so he recruited drummer Peter Anderson and guitarist Kevin Bowe to help flesh out the songs in the studio.
He also says it was because of encouragement from Dunlap that he and Stinson decided to finally reunite for the project. “[Slim]’s in rough shape. He’s sort of paralyzed, he can move his leg a little bit,” he said. “When I mentioned this, it seemed like something he really wanted to happen. ‘You guys get together,’ he said in a whisper. ‘Go play a song.'”