Like Green Day? Nirvana, R.E.M. or the Pixies? How about the Hold Steady or the Gaslight Anthem? Or, really, any shambolic contemporary-ish band with two guitars?! Then bow down to Minneapolis rockers the Replacements, the pioneers of American indie rock back in the 1980s, who wrote the book on hard partying and harder touring and laid the tuneful DNA for a generation of bands to come, whether those plebs know it or not.
Good news: The Replacements have reunited to record new music for the first time since 2006. According to Rolling Stone, singer Paul Westerberg and bassist Tommy Stinson (who now plays with Guns N' Roses) spent a day in a Minneapolis studio this September recording four covers, which will drop later this year as a limited edition 10-inch vinyl EP. Only 250 copies will be auctioned online; all proceeds will benefit one-time Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap, who suffered a severe stroke back in February.
"He's in rough shape," said Westerberg of Dunlap, who played with the band from 1987-1991. "He's sort of paralyzed, he can move his leg a little bit. When I mentioned this, it seemed like something he really wanted to happen. 'You guys get together,' he said in a whisper. 'Go play a song.'"
Sans drummer Chris Mars—who "didn't want any part of this" reunion, says Westerberg—the Replacements recorded versions of Dunlap's "Busted Up," "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from the Broadway musical Gypsy, Gordon Lightfoot's "I'm Not Sayin'" and Hank Williams' "Lost Highway."
"Tommy and I strapped on guitars, not a word was said, and bang," Westerberg said. "We still rock like murder."
The Replacements officially broke up in 1991 and ever since, Westerberg has been apprehensive of a reunion. But Dunlap's enthusiasm may convince him otherwise: "It's possible," Westerberg said of a reunion album and tour. "After playing with Tommy last week, I was thinking, 'All right, let's crank it up and knock out a record like this.' I'm closer to it now than I was two years ago, let's say that."
While you wait for the new EP's arrival, check out five of the Replacements' best songs below.