Tuesday, 30 October 2007

I'll drink to that: Replacements book finally validates dozens of Mpls people's lives

Finally people in America's second drunkest city (based on a 2006 Forbes magazine report)have a nationally-recognized (maybe!) reason to be proud of their fine city. Let me rephrase that. People from Minneapolis are always proud of being from Minneapolis (or Murderapolis, a nickname popularized by the New York Times in 1995 when M-town's murder rates got ultra high). How could they not be? There's all that Frank Gehry/Michael Graves/Herzog and de Meuron new architecture, the city's got more theatre per capita than any American city apart from NYC, Tom Waits wrote a song about it, and there are those two bars that people go to all the time. So you see, people from Mpls are duly proud of being from their fair, fuckin' cold city, and they think it's damn well time that people from other parts of the world stopped lumping it in with those slovenly, less exhilarating Midwestern cities like...well, anywhere that is not Minneapolis or (I am being lenient here) St. Paul. The thing is, Minneapolis is in a league all of its own. You might not know it yet, but Minneapolis is the last point of civilization after leaving Chicago--the last place you can find truly awesome, big independent record stores, a college radio station that got big ups from super wordy/famous rock critic Greil Marcus, and a kickin' restaurant scene. All of these are valid reasons for setting M-town apart, but they are not the Most Important Reason. No. Because if you live in the Twin Cities, you know that the best band ever lived, rocked, and got fucked up in Minneapolis.

If you are from Minneapolis you obviously know that I am talking about the Replacements. If you are not from Minneapolis, this could be confusing for you. If you are from Minneapolis, and you are just reading that people from outside Minneapolis do not immediately think of the Replacements when they read the phrase "best band ever", let me explain for you, too.

Three Fun Facts About Minneapolis

1. Seemingly normal people from other parts of the country move to Minneapolis based in part on their appreciation for the Replacements (much like sedentary Grateful Dead fans, but with better personal hygiene and record collections!) I know this to be true about at least two people. I am not making this up.

2. People outside of Minneapolis do not always consider the Replacements to be the most life-changing, best band ever. Strange, but true!

3. Some people refer to the Replacements as "the 'Mats". This is a stupid nickname.

So, how are non-Mpls residents suddenly going to recognize the brilliance of these frequently-sloshed, flannel-rockin' hometown heroes that inspired three decades of Minneapolis dude life? With the publication of local music writer guy Jim Walsh's The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History, that's how. I admit it; I really am excited about this book. Like any good M-town expat I know which bar "Here Comes a Regular" is about, I've been to a solo Paul Westerberg show where dude smashed a guitar and refused to come back onstage, and I have even been ridiculously intoxicated and ill at the house where "Let It Be" was recorded. You'll see. The day when that twenty-year-old American Apparel douche in Portland and that former Bowery hipster doing consultancy work in Manhattan both happen to step inside their local Barnes and Noble, notice that Replacements book in between Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain's Please Kill Me and Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life and think, "Hmm, well, I am running out of punk-rock oral histories to read, perhaps I'll check this out!" that will be just the start. Gradually, consciousness of M-town's "I'm fairly sure it's still 1980 here" cool will spread. Just wait. It's only a matter of time before those "Mats at the Entry" t-shirts start popping up at Urban Outfitters.


Joel said...

When a book has TWO colons in its title, you know you're getting the real poop.

Ormand Murk said...

Minneapolis is also home to Amphetamine Reptile records! Many (if not all) of the labels releases made the late 80s/early 90s a better era in which to drink beer!

Anonymous said...

1. I don't know about "seemingly normal," but I'm definitely not from anywhere near Minneapolis and I have no intentions of moving there, despite my love for the Replacements. I like the south just fine.

2. Life-changing at one point in my life, yes. It seemed I was the only person at that Tom Petty concert in Nashville standing up and cheering on those drunken, dragged-out Replacements. Those rednecks looked at me like I was crazy!

3. "The Mats" is indeed a stupid nickname; that's always annoyed me, too. That and people that call Paul McCartney "Macca."