When I was in high school, there was this group of older kids I used to run with who called themselves “The Posse”. They were a strange variety of guys, something akin to a 1989 version of the crew from Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, but without the hippies. I worked with a few of them at the local UA Multiplex.
Being that I was a grade below them, I caught my fair share of torture from these guys (oh, the stories I can tell). But on the same token, these cats were the first ones I got drunk with (on St. Pauli Girl and Moosehead Lager, no less, while most 16-year-olds were downing cheap cases of Milwaukee’s Best). And, understandably, these were also the guys who introduced me to the music of the Replacements.
Getting turned onto music back in the early ‘90s was not quite as accessible as it is in this age of instant access to anything and everything (unless, of course, you had a car where you could drive to the nearest indie record shop while listening to the local college radio station en route to your destination, but I didn’t have a car at the time.) So having a group of friends who listened obsessively to the likes of Let It Be and Stink helped my music education quite considerably, not to mention how it helped me survie survive the perils of 10th, 11th and 12fth grade and its groundswell of backwards authority figures and girls who will never love you the way you loved them (a few of whom were ‘Mats fans themselves, even). And whenever I would let the bastards grind me down, Paul Westerberg’s lyrics spoke to my dorky, weathered heart in a way few songwriters outside of The Beatles ever have. Especially Don’t Tell A Soul, which may not be as cool as hailing Hootenany as your favorite ‘Mats platter, but for a good year and change remained in constant rotation on my cassette deck upon its arrival from Columbia House all those years ago.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because this book, so lovingly compiled by author and longtime ‘Mats associate Jim Walsh, in the intrepid oral history style of Legs McNeil’s Please Kill Me, is so chockfull of great stories surrounding the legacy of Minneapolis’ favorite sons that you’re inspired to share your own, regardless of how trite or uninteresting it may be. And my little missive quite certainly pales in comparison to the dearth of firsthand accounts of this band’s mythically inebriated history, amounting to a veritable talking book of everything you wanted to know about the Replacements but were afraid to ask.
Sure, Walsh has received his fair share of criticism for having to utilize transcripts of old magazine interviews with Westerberg, Chris Mars and Tommy Stinson, both of whom apparently refused to participate in this book (though he did manage to score quotes from second-tier members Slim Dunlap and Steve Foley). But what All Over but the Shouting may lack in its failure to acquire of any kind of new input by the story’s two most primary players, it more than makes up for in gaining the collective perspectives of those who witnessed the ‘Mats in both the best and the worst of times.
If you are a fan of the Replacements, you are well aware of some of the stories that have been passed down through word of mouth about the band’s drunken antics both on-stage and in the studio. And if you are a proud owner of the much-cherished 1984 bootleg The Shit Hits The Fans, you have most certainly have proof that at least some of what is said is the total truth. But with All Over but the Shouting, which takes its title from a verse in the song “Nevermind” off their 1987 Sire classic Pleased to Meet Me, the folklore becomes fact thanks to a diverse variety of pundits from all corners of the Replacements’ career, including Twin/Tone co-founder and ex-Mats manager Peter Jesperson, band muse Alex Chilton, Roseanne Cash, legendary record producer and longtime Westerberg rival Steve Albini, R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, Bob Mould and Grant Hart of the late Hüsker Dü, Dave Pirner and Dan Murphy of Soul Asylum, veteran rock critics Jim DeRogatis, Charles Aaron, Jack Rabid, Robert Christgau and Greil Marcus, Craig Finn of the Hold Steady, Joe Henry and a whole host of other friends, family members, ex-girlfriends, hangers-on and comrades crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s throughout the book’s 300-odd pages.
And some of the yarns these folks weave have to be read to be believed; whether its DeRogatis’ recount of his first time seeing the ‘Mats at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey, where they invited a group of mohawked punkers who heckled the band throughout their whole set, to take over for them. Or Babes In Toyland drummer’s memory of the time when the Replacements opened up for the Plasmatics back in the early days, and how she had to protect a then 14-year-old Tommy Stinson from Wendy O. Williams, who was trying to molest him. Or Minneapolis rock journo P.D. Larson’s hilarious story about the time when Paul Westerberg and Peter Buck got into a brawl at a Minneapolis White Castle. Or Slim’s harrowing revelations of Westerberg’s famously megalomaniacal methods in the recording studio. Or the author’s own touching, humorous eulogy that he gave at founding guitarist Bob Stinson’s funeral in 1995. And while you are reading all of these great tales, there is a wealth of visual treats, including vintage concert flyers, publicity photos and hot action shots to help guide you along the way.
If you are any kind of fan of the Replacements, be it one of the lucky few who caught them in a dive bar back in 1981 and quickly ran to your local record emporium to pick up Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash or a youngster curious as to what those guys in the Hold Steady keep raving about or a Goo Goo Dolls fan looking to find out what their favorite band would’ve sounded like if they had an actual pair of balls, All Over but the Shouting is an essential rock ‘n’ roll read. One that is best read with a copy of your favorite ‘Mats album blasting loudly in the background.
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