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Tommy Stinson performs in The Current studios

Tommy Stinson and his band in The Current's studios
Tommy Stinson and his band in The Current's studiosBridget Bennett for MPR
  Play Now [35:59]

by Jim McGuinn and Jay Gabler

September 13, 2015

Tommy Stinson - Not This Time
by MPR
Tommy Stinson - Breathing Room
by MPR
Tommy Stinson - Bad News
by MPR
Tommy Stinson - That's All Right
by MPR

Join Tommy Stinson, Gramma's Boyfriend, Cactus Blossoms, Gospel Machine and Bruise Violet at The Current's 11th Birthday Party January 23, 2016.

Just before playing a sold-out show at the Turf Club, Tommy Stinson stopped by The Current to play some new music (and an Arthur-Crudup-via-Elvis cover) and to talk with Jim McGuinn about his life and his bands - both his current touring band and another one you might have heard of, the Replacements.

"It was a lot of fun," Stinson said about the process of recording the music that appears on his new two-song release L.M.A.O. "I didn't want to sit there and tinker with overdubs and all that stuff. I just wanted to [be] like, 'Here's how the song goes, let's just play it and see what happens.' And it worked out really good."

Stinson, one of Minneapolis's most famous musical exports, now lives in upstate New York. He describes his community, in and near the small town of Hudson, as "very forward-thinking, which I need to be in because I grew up in sort of the melting-pot thing here in Minneapolis."

In addition to both songs on L.M.A.O., Stinson played a new song called "Bad News." He said that with a young son and other time pressures he's had to "sort of resort to guerrilla tactics, time-wise" to write the new material—which likely will find its way on to an album eventually. He became a regular presence at an an open-mic night at Club Helsinki in Hudson, challenging himself to write a new song every week.

Reminded that his performance at the Turf Club was happening almost exactly a year after the Replacements' Midway Stadium show, Stinson talked about the circumstances of his legendary band's reunion.

"All the shows we played had an element of being emotional rollercoasters," said Stinson about the reunion. "I had a ball with it," he remembers, "and had some moments afterwards that weren't so great, where I'm like, 'Jesus, I feel like I'm going to either jump out a window or just start crying.'"

Acknowledging that the reunion "probably lasted a little longer than we thought" it would, Stinson explained that when it came to bringing the band's reprise run to a close, "the real cutoff was really going to be when we stopped having fun with it."

"Or when Paul ran out of t-shirts," noted McGuinn.

Stinson paused, then responded, "You said it, not me." He then admitted, "That kind of bummed me out when I figured it what that was. I'm like, 'Man, I'm not hearing those little violins.' We had fun, we got paid. What's that all about?"

Noting that Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg has continued to play the band's songs in his solo career, Stinson suggested—mentioning his late brother, founding Replacements guitarist Bob Stinson—that he had a different experience revisiting the band's material after so many years. "You know, my brother's gone, there's baggage with it that." Noting that he's found himself telling more and more stories about those early days with the 'Mats, Stinson says about his brother, "The older I get, the more I miss him."

Finally, Stinson talked about Guns N' Roses, a band he played with for 17 years. Asked about the rumored possibility that Axl Rose and Slash will "mend fences" and perhaps play together again, Stinson said, "I hope they do." He spoke of the "reward" that comes from reuniting and revisiting legendary material. "I had that with the 'Mats stuff, and it's a good thing to do once in a while."

Songs performed

"Not This Time"
"Breathing Room"
"Bad News"
"That's All Right"

Band members

Tommy Stinson: vocals, guitar
Steve Selvidge: guitar
Cat Popper: bass, vocals
Tony Kieraldo: piano, vocals
Frank Ferrer: drums

Hosted by Jim McGuinn
Produced by Lindsay Kimball
Engineered by Michael DeMark
Web feature by Jay Gabler