30 years ago, The Replacements released Don’t Tell A Soul and despite it becoming their best-selling album release, the band felt as though their original intentions were done an injustice.
Former Replacements’ bassist Tommy Stinson candidly shared his true feelings on the sonic rebirth of the album in the new boxset Dead Man’s Pop on The Rhino Podcast with producer and Replacements’ biographer Bob Mehr as well as Rhino A&R Director Jason Jones.
Who came up with the name of Dead Man’s Pop? Bob, did you come up with that?
Mehr: “No, that was Paul’s original idea. That was the original album title it was supposed to be. In fact, it was reported as such back in Spin and a couple magazines in the day.
But you know, at one point, he (Paul Westerberg) told me, or you (Stinson), were going to call it “Festical,” which was festival and testical…but cooler heads prevailed.”
It was the end of the 80’s … no idea what the 90’s were going to bring us. Do you remember what you and the gang were thinking about going in to recording this record - do you remember anything at all?
Stinson: “No, that was back in the 1900’s [laughs].
We were going to make a record like we made all the previous records. The only differentiating bit was that we started that record in Woodstock with Tony Berg. I think it was a good plan in someone’s mind, but went south real quick.
Putting the Replacements in little huts in the middle of Woodstock and have us play in a dry county. When you’re playing dodge-knife in a cabin in Woodstock, New York, things tend to get a little screwed up quick.”
It was said to be the album the band made and intended to release. So, the sound wasn’t the way you and Paul and the gang intended. Who got in the way and why?
Stinson: “In general, this was a record we made like the other ones, but suddenly someone put it, and I think more in Paul’s ears than mine, or Chris’, or even Slim’s, ‘This has to be a thing.’
There’s pressure...there’s always been a bit of a rub with Replacements, a little bit. We’re always fun, did our thing, did our bits, our whole mystique, or whatever.
I think the one thing that always set us apart from a lot of other bands - Paul is a great songwriter. As a songwriter, he was always looking ahead. You could always look up the Small Faces, and same thing with Steve Marriot. He got kind of tired with the Small Faces, like they weren’t keeping up where they were going with things. I think that happened with The Replacements.
I think the songs, that record, hands down to me, drop-dead gorgeous.”
When Tom Waits...did you drink first and go to the studio or go to the studio and drink first?
"We went to the Formosa and had ‘snacks.’
It was a sweet, very sweet moment in my memory about all of that. Cathleen, his wife was there, and she kind of let him with us, and that’s when things got interesting.
When she left, we put on the Mai Tai’s, he was telling stories, hanging out with us, it was a great, great moment.
Musically speaking, it took about a minute for Catherine to leave and us to go back to the studios and f*** around.”
Listen to the full podcast here: