In rock music, the coolest dude is usually the lead singer aka the front man. But throughout rock's history, there has been the cool sideman. The guy who isn't the main voaclist, but exudes cool rock image.
It's Keith Richards, of course as the godfather, but you know the lineage. Johnny Thunders, Jimmy Page, Mick Ronson, Ronnie Lane, Joe Perry, Ace Frehley, Steve Stevens, Randy Rhodes, Brian May, Nancy Wilson, Peter Farndon and James Honeyman-Scott, Paul Simonon and many more that I surely forget. In more recent years, that list would surely include people like Izzy Stradlin, Johnny Marr, John Fruiscante, Dave Navarro and Kim Gordon.
I am talking less of the virtuosos- Eddie Van Halen, Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan, Flea, Buckethead- though they certainly qualify, but more of the image, so Sid Vicious.
In which case, Tommy Stinson is on the short list of rock n roll cool.
By weird ironic turns and arithmetic, Stinson was in Guns N Rose longer than he was in the Replacements, and he was longer in Guns N Roses than everybody in that band save Axl and Use Your Illusion alumn keyboardist Dizzy Reed.
The Replacements legacy was firm in the 90s, and if anything is more cemented now. Like the Pixies, it's possible that younger generations will know their songs more than mine. I Will Dare, Left of the Dial, B*stards of Young, Kiss me on the Bus, Alex Chilton
Trouble Boys was one of the most highly acclaimed music biographies of last year. By accounts I have seen, the reunion tour was a success. Even Paul Westerberg's 2016 project with Juliana Hatfield called the I Don't Cares (while not widely reviewed, where it was reviewed) it got high marks.
The 90's aren't a fond time for the Replacements. 1989's Dont Tell a Soul and 1990's All Shook Down were well received by all aspects of the rock press. (DTaS is a very good album, even if it is "polished") . Like many "new Dylan's" Westerberg was dubbed the next can't miss star, and at the time, everyone predicted many years of commercial and critical acclaim for him. That of course, didn't happen. 93's 14 Songs was generally well-liked if not universally loved, but the years that followed were marred by subpar material, then label issue, then Westerberg finally going off and doing what he damned well pleased. Westerberg did get a hit single with "Dyslexic Heart" which still gets played on Adult Alternative stations and is part of 90s Nostalgia. Stinson formed a band called Perfect, but that band had limited success, before he got a better paying gig in Axl's Army. He also had obvious and not so obvious gigs with Soul Asylum, Frank Black, and playing on Puff daddy's "All About the Benjamins" remix.
But for a brief moment, it did look like the Mats would be successful in the post-Nevermind world. Chris Mars and even Slim Dunlap had albums on the larger indie labels.
Stinson went away and made his own noise on the wonderfully titled "Friday Night is Killing Me". It wasn't quite a success, given the fact I eventually picked it up from the cutout bin. Still, in the 90s, everyone got a major label chance.
FNiKm is a pretty good, if not great album. It is very much what you would expect. Yes, it probably would be a better record with Westerberg, but it's worthwhile. Allmusic gives it a terrible two and half star review, though I suspect it would fare better these days. Removed from any expectation as being the next Mats album, it's a great Mats-style, Faces-type bar band record. It would fit well on the shelf with Keef's "Talk is Cheap" and Izzy Stradlin's first Juju Hounds record.
And now Bash & Pop is back for the second record after almost 25 years. The band is different (the two Foley Brothers he collaborated with have passed away) and that record had contributions from members of Wire Train and Tom Pettys' Heartbreakers. The new band retains the sound and come from bands as diverse as The Mighty Might Bosstones, Screeching Weasel, North Mississippi All Stars and Stinson-era GnR.
Initial reviews are very positive, and the fact that the band was signed by Fat Possum Records another good harbinger.
- The 90s weren't all that bad #33- Bash & Pop