Tommy Stinson's Cowboys in the Campfire will be performing at Used Kids Records Monday March 26th, 7 pm. He will also be taping a Big Room segment with Brian Phillips on CD1025 airtime TBA. This story was originally published in the past.
It's Replacements week here at Pencilstorm. Along with my Watershed pals - Hitless Wonder author Joe Oestreich and the living literary legend, "Biggie" - I have been invited to St. Paul, Minnesota, to witness The Replacements' homecoming show on Saturday September 13th at Midway Stadium in St. Paul, MN. In honor of this we decided to knock out some 'Mats-related material for your enjoyment. - Colin G. Click here for previous Mats' story.
Here are three facts about Tommy Stinson:
1) He joined one of the most notoriously dysfunctional bands in rock history just as he was entering puberty. Even as his older brother was kicked out of the band and eventually died of alcoholism-related complications, and as the Replacements fell apart, he emerged from the mess as a completely functional adult as if he was raised in a New England boarding school.
2) He is the only person never to have been fired from Guns n Roses by Axl Rose.
3) Tommy Stinson always looks like a rock star.
On the merits of those three facts alone, I think one could argue that Tommy Stinson deserves admission into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. But you know what hardly anybody mentions when they talk about Tommy Stinson? He is an amazing musician who makes GREAT solo records.
In fact, I think if you put Tommy's post-Mats' solo output head-to-head against Paul Westerberg's, Tommy has a higher percentage of great songs. No knock on Paul, he is on the Mt. Rushmore of great rock songwriters, but Tommy - simply put - doesn't release sub-par albums. Unlike Paul at times, it obvious Tommy he puts everything he has into each of his records.
His three full-length records in the past twenty years are: Bash n Pop - Friday Night is Killing Me, Tommy Stinson - Village Gorilla Head and Tommy Stinson - One Man Mutiny. Perfect is good as well, but we will stick to the full-lengths.(* Author's note: Since this story was published, Tommy released the record Anything Could Happen with his band Bash and Pop. I think it's his best record yet. )
These records all age well and there isn't a weak track in the bunch. More so, a number of tracks are as good as the best of any Replacements records. If Paul is the Lennon/McCartney of the 'Mats, Tommy Stinson is the George Harrison.
The funny thing is, nobody listens to Tommy Stinson records. Especially Replacements fans, it seems. Hell, even I took over a year to press one single button on my phone so I could check out One Man Mutiny. I don't know why it took so long. It just didn't seem important. Then, within the first thirty seconds of the the opening track that familiar light- bulb went off, "Oh yeah, I forgot, I fucking love Tommy Stinson. Why did I wait so long to play this?"
I have since played One Man Mutiny about 100 times and loved every spin. Great songs. Great vocals. Great sound. You know what would be really cool? If somehow the "new" Replacements could let Tommy slide over to center stage every night a-la Keith and do a couple of solo songs. I think that after all Tommy Stinson has lived through, survived and meant to rock and roll, he deserves a little glory all to himself. - Colin Gawel
Colin Gawel plays in the band Watershed and was once kissed on the lips by Tommy Stinson onstage for covering a Kinks songs at Stache's in Columbus,OH. You can read about that and whole bunch more in the best-selling book "Hitless Wonder- A Life in Minor League Rock n Roll" by Joe Oestreich
Secret Bonus Track. A Tommy Stinson Primer.