All Over But the Reading

portland.jpgJim Walsh, author of the new oral history, The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting will be reading at the downtown Borders at 7pm tonight. As a longtime ‘Mats fan I eagerly bought and read the book last month. Even though it was great to finally read a book about the band, it was a major letdown. Especially in comparison to, in my opinion, the finest rock music oral history ever, Please Kill Me by Legs McNeil and Gillian McKain (an incredibly engrossing read, which you should get right now).

I suppose the biggest flaw with Walsh’s book is that he didn’t actually get any interviews with the original surviving band members. Which in an oral history setting seems to be a dealbreaker, no? Instead we are regaled with anecdotes and stories from friends and Minneapolis scenesters and band management. The band does have a voice, but all of their contributions are pulled from various interviews from over the years.

The most interesting stuff comes from recent interviews with late period guitarist Slim Dunlap. He provides the insider’s look into band dynamics and recording that the rest of the book lacks.

I never saw the ‘Mats in Portland, but I did see them in New Orleans in 1987, where they gave one of their infamously bad shows. But it could have been worse, as the internets tell me:

Portland has a special place in Mats history, as the site of perhaps their worst, most drunken show ever… a 1987 show so bad they Paul scratched “We’re Sorry, Portland” into the vinyl inner groove of the Don’t Tell a Soul LP the following year.

Though the book left me unsatisfied, I imagine that with this particular subject matter, the reading and Q & A session with Walsh could be entertaining.

7 Comments so far

  1. Random Citizen (unregistered) on January 28th, 2008 @ 10:18 am

    Although I never got to see them perform live, I’m a big fan of the ‘Mats. My cell’s ringtone is "Achin’ to Be."


  2. dieselboi (unregistered) on January 28th, 2008 @ 10:37 am

    Was that Portland show in ’87 at the Fox Theater downtown (now gone and replaced with the Fox tower.)

    I remember seeing the Replacements here in Puddletown, just don’t remember the year and 1987 is close.


  3. Steve (unregistered) on January 28th, 2008 @ 10:48 am

    I worked for a sound and lighting company that was contracted for a Replacements show in 1985 in a very small club in a college town in the Midwest. They brought their own stage monitor system, which overpowered our FOH system by a factor of two or three. Their road manager/sound man was one of the biggest dicks I ever worked with in the business (and that’s saying something).

    I stayed for about ten minutes of their sound check, and had to leave before my eardrums started bleeding.

    Sorry, Spinal Tap, I think the Replacements were louder. And they didn’t have anywhere near the sense of irony.


  4. DaveK (unregistered) on January 28th, 2008 @ 10:49 am

    And don’t forget – Jim’s post party + rock at Slabtown on NW 16th afterwards!
    Bands! More!


  5. Pete Best (unregistered) on January 28th, 2008 @ 11:19 am

    Re: Spinal Tap – aren’t all fictional bands more ironic by nature?


  6. Steve (unregistered) on January 28th, 2008 @ 12:16 pm

    What do you mean by "fictional?"


  7. Tim (unregistered) on January 29th, 2008 @ 1:27 pm

    Actually, aren’t all bands kinda "fictional" anyway…

    Well, unless you start believing their own press.



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