Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements
Trouble Boys is the definitive look at a band that could’ve been….The Replacements.
The story begins with the funeral of the founding member, Bob Stinson. The remaining members, Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, Chris Mars gather together despite the band’s breakup and strained friendships. The biography then highlights the backgrounds of the original members of the band chronicling the abusive upbringing of Bob, juvenile delinquency in Tommy, Paul’s struggles in school, Chris’ brothers mental illness. Music served as an escape and brought the Stinsons and Mars together. Westerberg joined later and took charge. The band would find an enthusiastic ear in Peter Jesperson, who became their manager and caretaker. The Replacements would play the small clubs and become friends/rivals with Husker Du and REM. Their first album and EP would make them Punk/Rock Idols locally. Their next two albums (Hootenanny/Let It Be) would garner them further acclaim, but by 1985, Bob Stinson would chafe at Westerbergs lead and his songs. He would be summarily fired in 1987. The band’s popularity with the critics would continue, but their big hit song eluded them. Their antics, whether booze fueled appearances on SNL or insult laden appearances on radio would hinder record sales. Their lineup would change, Mars would be fired as would Jesperson, the band would record a couple more albums, then split acrimoniously. Problems with drugs and alcohol would be acknowledged, solo careers started and eventually a comeback.
Journalist Bob Mehr had a tough task ahead of him in writing this biography. Musicians are not always willing to give too much of themselves outside of their music. But this biography gives the good, bad and ugly of a blue collar band who made music that generated a loyal fanbase, but couldnt touch the masses. Mehr spoke to the surviving members, family and friends and gave the stories from all sides, which makes this biography complete and satisfying.
Da Capo Press