As many Replacements fans will tell you, good things come to those who wait. And while it took 22 years for Tommy Stinson and Paul Westerberg to reform the Replacements for a brilliant and ultimately short-lived reunion tour (by fans’ estimate, though probably not the band’s), it turns out Stinson fans had to wait just as long for a new Bash & Pop record.
Bash & Pop was Stinson’s first post-Replacements band and one that saw him move from bass to guitar and step in front of the mic to take on lead vocals. He put out one fantastic record under that moniker, ‘Friday Night is Killing Me,’ in 1993, before disbanding and moving on to other projects (including a couple of solo records and stints as bassist for Soul Asylum and Guns N’ Roses).
Nearly two and a half decades later, Stinson is back with a new Bash & Pop record, ‘Anything Could Happen,’ released two weeks ago on celebrated label Fat Possum Records.
Stinson spoke recently about resurrecting the old band and how that other reunion worked out.
Innocent Words: Let’s start out with why you decided to go back to the Bash & Pop name for this album versus just putting out another Tommy Stinson solo record.
Tommy Stinson: A really simple reason, actually. I wanted to do something different from the last two solo records. The last two solo records I did on my own, played a lot of the instruments on it and piecemealed it all together. When you spend so much time recording all these songs, you sometimes spend too much time overthinking things. I really didn’t want to do that this time. So, what I did instead of having home sessions in my studio here in Hudson, New York, I just started having weekend sessions with guys I know in the city and other places and just started recording it like a band. I just had it in my mind that I wanted to get back to doing things like we did in the ’80s where you just went into the studio and hacked out a record in a week, and you either got magic or got crap and you had to go back and do it again somewhere else. I really wanted the band-vibe on it, so I did it with the same intent I did on the first Bash & Pop album. To be honest, even though that last one was just me and Steve Foley with a few friends we asked to come in on, this one is actually a full band in on the recordings, having more of a rock and roll vibe.
Innocent Words: Was it tough to find the musicians that would be right for this record?
Tommy Stinson: No, because I know a lot of great musicians, and lucky for me, all of them that played on this record were great for it.
Innocent Words: Do any of the songs on this new record go back a while? When did you start working on the music for this new records?
Tommy Stinson: The oldest song on the record is “Shortcut.” That’s one I’ve had about 20 years, I just didn’t have a place to put it. I put it on this record after looking at the songs we had recorded and realized there’s a lot of loud rock & roll stuff going on here, and to just have one little thing at the end that does something a little different seemed like a good fit. A lot of the stuff I’d been writing for the last two years.
Innocent Words: Obviously, people know you best as a bass player for two incredibly influential bands. When you first went solo, did you have any anxiety about being the frontman?
Tommy Stinson: You know, not really, because I’ve kind of grown up doing this stuff, and I don’t think I got nervous or intimidated about doing anything in about 30 years, to be really honest. I kind of roll with things, I’m pretty adaptable. I don’t have a whole lot of ego in it anymore.
Innocent Words: You’re also touring behind this record, right?
Tommy Stinson: Yeah, we’re starting on January 12th in Minneapolis at the Entry; it’s a homecoming of sorts. We’ll then work our way east.
Innocent Words: I saw the Replacements reunion show in Philly and thought it was great. I’m interested in how you thought those reunion shows went. Are you glad you did them?
Tommy Stinson: You know, I’m glad we did it. I think we had a little fun there for a bit. I think not having done a record behind it, maybe we played it out a little longer than we should. The intent had been to do another record. In my mind, it’s fun to go back and play those songs again, and we really didn’t get too deep into the later records, and changing those up a bit would have been fun. My problem with it was you want to play the songs people want to hear, but to do that solely for three years was a bit much. Once we knew we weren’t going to make that new record, maybe shorten it up a bit. Had we made a record and had some other things to throw in the mix that we might have had some fun doing and been satisfied with, I think that might have changed things a bit. Ultimately, I think it was a bit much to go out for three years and sweat to the same oldies.
BASH & POP LIVE SHOWS:
Tue. February 28th – SEATTLE, WA – Chop Suey
Wed. March 1st – PORTLAND, OR – Doug Fir
Fri. March 3rd – SACRAMENTO, CA – Harlow’s
Sat. March 4th – SAN JOSE, CA – The Ritz
Sun. March 5th – SAN FRANCISCO, CA – Swedish American Hall
Tue. March 7th – LOS ANGELES, CA – Troubadour
Thu. March 9th – SAN DIEGO, CA – Casbah
Mon. March 13th – AUSTIN, TX – SXSW (details forthcoming)