Tag Archives: Paul Westerberg

Tommy Stinson, Paul Westerberg Messing Around

Tommy Stinson tells the Minneapolis StarTribune he had been in town in September to “mess around” with Paul Westerberg and drummer Michael Bland.

He sounded enthusiastic about the sessions and said, “It was a lot of fun.” When I asked if they did any recording, though, he answered, “Nah, that’s getting to first base. We’re sort of still in the dugout chewing gum.” As for the general state of the two former ‘Mats mates relationship, he said, “We’re good friends, and I’m sure we’re going to work together again.”

No word on whether or not Tommy’s made it to first with Paul since then. Let’s hope they go all the way!

The second batch of deluxe Replacements reissues were released on September 23.

Via Billboard.

Westerberg Tapes The Craft

Billboard: Paul Westerberg Returns To Action In Minneapolis for a taping of “The Craft,” a talk show for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

He played one new song,”Everyone’s Stupid,” and lots of oldies. He also dished some dirt:

• Producer Jim Dickinson added overdubs, including strings, on “Pleased To Meet Me” that Westerberg didn’t discover until he heard the album.

• Each of the three Replacements was in separate rooms for the recording; Westerberg was in the studio hallway. “I had ZZ Top in the next room,” he said. “It never leaked on to the tape but I could hear ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ in the next room.”

• On those sessions, “They sampled Chris’ [Mars] kick drum. That’s why it rocks,” he said. “Chris could play the hell out of snare and high hat.

Interviews in “The Craft” series can apparently be heard in their entirety at the Hall of Fame archives (whatever that means…) or in part online. The Westerberg interview is not up yet.

Paul Westerberg Saved My Life

FUCK YES, I AM UNSATISFIED TOO.I grew up a good ten years after The Replacements were at their height of recognition. I was thirteen years old when they broke up and just in the middle of passing from my New Kids On The Block phase into “grownup” music and they were still too sophisticated to cross my newbie radar. I don’t even remember how I got into them–it was probably that stupid Can’t Hardly Wait movie or something. The point is, however I started buying their albums, they made an indelible impression on my post-teenage soul.

Here was this guy singing in this scratchy as hell voice about girls and being drunk and being lost and misunderstood in the Midwest, and something in me reacted. Something in me wanted to feed Westerberg a sandwich and pet his hair and tell him everything was gonna be okay, but another part of me was screaming along with his every word, screaming “FUCK YES, I AM UNSATISFIED TOO.”

Continue reading Paul Westerberg Saved My Life

Paul Westerberg’s Guitar For Sale: Cheap!

Wow, this is pretty cool. You can buy Paul Westerberg’s guitar for only $160!

The Star Tribune has the story:

Boston-based six-string manufacturer First Act — whose $159 instruments caught Westerberg’s eye in a Wal-Mart a couple years ago — recently recruited the former Replacements frontman to design his own guitar for retail.

Featuring a slim body and “punk-rock plaid” pattern on its pick guard, the PW580 is already on sale at Amazon.com and will soon be available in Wal-Mart stores. Retail price: $159.

Westerberg wanted “…something not too heavy, that I could play quietly or full volume. It has a single pick-up, and it sort of snarls. It’s lean, clean, and mean, and it doesn’t have that big, overdriven, fuzzy sound. You can get that with an amp, but the guitar itself doesn’t put it out, and that’s what I was looking for. There’s a definite old-school thing—it belongs in a garage. It probably sounds best in a garage playing surf music or something like that.”

According to First Act: “The story goes that Westerberg was on tour somewhere in the middle of America, and he stopped into a mass retailer to buy shaving cream, and bought one of our crimson ME501 electric guitars on impulse, right off the shelf. He debuted the guitar onstage that night, and quickly brought it into heavy onstage rotation for the rest of the tour.”

Check out its specs. Has anybody out there actually heard a First Act guitar in action, or played one? How do they sound? Because this is a pretty cool thing. Although I’m not quite sure about that “punk rock plaid” pickguard…

Via the rope.

Paul Westerberg – Come Feel Me Tremble

Paul WesterbergCome Feel Me Tremble (Vagrant)

One thing Paul Westerberg should understand: repeating a chorus and a guitar lick for 3 minutes does not constitute a song. On Come Feel Me Tremble he does this far too much. Songs like “Hillbilly Junk,” “Soldier Of Misfortune” and “Making Me Go” barely make complete thoughts, let alone a song. Westerberg can usually get away with this, because his skewed viewpoint and spot-on guitar can override the repetitiousness. This time, he doesn’t always make it work. On some tracks, he either didn’t have enough to say or enough music to say it with. Lots of filler.

The irony is that Westerberg’s filler is pretty good stuff, and when he shines he can blow you away. “Knockin’ Em Back” is a standout, whipsaw-rock track and a perfect example of what Westerberg does best. Other strong tracks include the thoughtful “These Days” and “Dirty Diesel,” a Stone-sy blues rocker.

Bottom line? There’s a lot of inconsistency. But Westerberg’s off-kilter approach (and stumbling-but-catching-himself-at-the-last-minute execution) somehow makes it more than the sum of its parts. Even though you might skip a track or two.

Paul Westerberg – Stereo/Mono

Paul Westerberg/Grandpa BoyStereo/Mono (Vagrant)

Mr. Rabbit, Mr. Rabbit

Your coat is mighty gray

Yeah, bless God it’s made that way.

Every little soul must shine

Every little soul must shine.

—Paul Westerberg – “Mr. Rabbit”

There’s always been two sides to Paul Westerberg (and The Replacements), and with this 2-cd release we get both sides in one package. The burnout philosopher and gentleman junkie of songs like “Skyway,” “Swingin’ Party” and “Androgynous,” and the screaming rabble-rouser from such fist-pumpers as “Gary’s Got A Boner,” “Bastards Of Young” and “Red Red Wine.” Now the sides are clearly split—the two discs are called Stereo (by Paul Westerberg) and Mono (by Grandpa Boy). And both sides have grown a bit wiser.

On Stereo, Westerberg works hard at grasping the brilliant, melancholy hooks he used to toss off without thinking during the glory years of The Replacements. And for the most part he succeeds, but it does seem like he’s had to go twice as far to the well and maybe didn’t bring up as much as he used to.

That’s the only bad thing I can say about this home-recorded disc full of, as the liner notes say, “tape running out, fluffed lyrics, flat notes extraneous noises, etc.” Ultimately, though, it¹s a fascinating musical document, and well worth the listen. Clunky and flawed, Westerberg makes no effort to polish the finished product and you have to love him for that. Written and recorded at home and cut live, these tracks grow on you like some kind of musical Chia Pet. You can’t enjoy them nearly as much on the first listen, but by the second or third listen they’re getting into your bloodstream.

The only exception to the above is the 11th track, “Mr. Rabbit,” which everyone should rush out and listen to right now. It’s got a first-rate pop guitar hook you will want to play to over and over again, just to hear Westerberg belt out the chorus, “Every little soul must shine.” This is perfection, and Westerberg’s best single track in years.

Mono, the Grandpa Boy (Westerberg’s alter ego) cd, is full of straight-ahead rockers, all recorded in glorious mono. It’s good stuff, bluesy and raw, and as Westerberg says in his liner notes, “This is rock ‘n roll recorded poorly, played in a hurry, with sweaty hands and unsure reason.” It is indeed, and a lot of fun to listen to. Here Westerberg reminds us why he remains rock’s holy fool, doing stupid shit that would get anybody else nailed to the wall, like mid-song tempo changes and ending songs by just stopping cold. And he has a good time doing it, too.

Taken together, these cds nicely illustrate the one-two punch of a legendary rocker who’s always been something of a musical dichotomy:­ half bittersweet poet and half anarchist rock agitator. On Stereo/Mono, the two halves seem to be closer than ever to becoming a whole.

MP3s are available from Vagrant.