Wednesday, August 31, 2011
A working musician since the age of thirteen, Tommy Stinson grew up in rock ‘n’ roll. Incredibly, at least for those of us who remember him as the irreverent punk who played bass in the Replacements, Stinson is now a forty-five year old man.
And still very much a working musician. Having watched his brother Bob (Replacements guitarist) and his band self-destruct prepared Stinson for almost anything. How else to explain his having been employed by Axl Rose since 1998 in whatever Axl considers Guns ‘n Roses.
Best known as a sideman, Stinson has a long history as bandleader and solo performer. Between 1992 and 1994 he helmed an outfit called Bash and Pop, whose lone recording Friday Night is Killing Me was a sweet surprise to many ‘Mats fans who figured Paul Westerberg was the only real songwriting talent in the Replacements. Friday was full of rough, but right performances in a loose Faces-Stones idiom and songs sturdy and impassioned enough to stand up to their archetypal moorings.
Stinson’s next outfit Perfect wasn’t. They somehow lacked the immediacy of Friday Night at its best. Honestly, I missed his first truly solo release, Village Gorilla Head, in 2004. Given that I work in the industry and scarcely knew of the album tells you plenty about its lack of distribution and publicity.