“As Westerberg sings in “Favorite Thing,” “I think big, once in a while.” The book captures the ‘Mats in these moments, when they’re at their best, thinking biggest—cheerfully disruptive, prodigiously talented.” - PasteMagazine.com
“…a feast for fan’s eyes” - Spin.com
“I think mystery is far, far better than to splash it out in front of ’em, and show ’em exactly what the band looks like.”
—Paul Westerberg, interview with Jim Walsh for SPIN, 1987
The Replacements could be the world’s best rock ’n’ roll band or a complete shambles. Their sets could reach otherworldly heights and plummet to extraordinarily ordinary lows, often in the course of the same gig. The always heartfelt, raw, and fevered ’Mats juxtaposed influences ranging from ’70s AM schlock to the unimpeachable giants of punk and pop. They surfed a wave of their own making that captured a moment in time and that still resonates with serious music lovers to this day.
Culled from the archives of photographers around the country, here are 150 rare photos (most previously unpublished) made for alt-weeklies, fanzines, glossies, record labels, and personal consumption during a pre-Internet age when music fans still discovered and learned about bands through hard work, good fortune, and cassette tapes with hand-scribbled labels. From the Replacements’ first photo shoot in 1980 with Greg Helgeson to their rooftop and elevator sessions with Daniel Corrigan to images created by rock-photo greats like Jay Blakesberg, Robert Matheu, Marty Perez, and Charles Peterson, this is the first book to showcase photography of the band onstage and off in Minneapolis and across the nation.
These shots are complemented by commentary from many of the contributing photographers, as well as images of gig flyers, ticket stubs, vinyl sleeves, and other ’Mats memorabilia—not to mention new essays in which Jim Walsh, longtime Minneapolis music journalist and frequent eyewitness to the shenanigans, reflects on the era and the band’s lasting hold on pop culture.
Never has such an unpredictable band earned such fierce loyalty from fans and critics alike. Here, finally, is the visual celebration the Replacements deserve . . . whether they want it or not.
Jim Walsh (www.jimwalshmpls.com) is the author of Voyageur Press’ The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History. From 1990 to 1993, he served as the music editor at Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages before joining the daily St. Paul Pioneer Press as pop music columnist. In 2002, he left to study at Stanford on a John S. Knight Fellowship. Currently, Jim is a creative writing instructor at the Loft Literary Center, a columnist at the Southwest Journal, and a regular contributor to MinnPost and the Star Tribune. He performs and records as his musical alter ego, the Mad Ripple, and since 2006 has served as organizer and instigator of the freewheeling songwriter collective the Mad Ripple Hootenanny. Jim lives in Minneapolis with his wife and two children.
Dennis Pernu is an editor and freelance writer. He and his wife live in Minneapolis with their two sons.