Bash & Pop
Friday Night Is Killing Me
Wanna feel old? It’s been 26 freakin’ years since The Replacements hung up the mascara and thumb picks. Granted, we did get them back for a reunion tour and a few new songs in support of their guitarist Slim Dunlap’s medical issues, but than a few hit or miss Westerberg solo releases, ‘Mats fans have had to be content with re-spins of Let It Be and Tim.
With one exception – Bash & Pop. In 1991 Replacement’s bassist Tommy Stinson still had an itch to play music, with or without Paul Westerberg, and it’s from that motivation that led to him forming Bash & Pop and recording their debut record, Friday Night Is Killing Me, with Don Smith producing. And all in all, its original 11 tracks are the best post-‘Mats tunes. Sorry Paul. While Westerberg seemed to struggle with fame and coped by releasing cynical odes to middle age, Stinson dropped the bass, strapped on a six string and rocked. Opening with “Never Aim To Please”, Stinson roared out of the gate with punk fire – tempered by a healthy respect for the Stones, and never let up. I listened to this on cassette in the ’90s until the tape broke, replaced it on CD, and to this day Tommy’s yelping “Hang Ups! Hang Ups!” on the second cut transports me back. But it wasn’t all headbangers, with cuts such as “First Steps” and “Tickled To Tears” slowing down the pace and somehow being sentimental without being snotty.
This re-issue adds another disc of demos, home recordings and three cuts – “Situation”, Harboring a Fugitive” and “Making Me Sick” (rescued from the soundtrack to Clerks) from the same time period, and it makes a brilliant debut album even more perfect (which incidentally was the name of Tommy’s next band). Now days Stinson holds down the bass in Guns ‘N’ Roses and, well, we probably aren’t going to see the Replacements again. With the re-issue of Friday Night Is Killing Me, that sting is tempered a bit. If you missed it the first time, dig Bash & Pop now. Lost youth never sounded as punchy or on fire as this.