Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Minnesota Week: The Evolution of The Replacements

The Replacements are the Minnesota band. Everyone from Minnesota likes them, even if they've never heard their music and know nothing about them. Why is that? Well, I've been saying over and over again that people from Minnesota love Minnesota and everything that comes from there. Other than that, who knows? They are a really good band.

One thing I love about them is their nickname. Ask a Minneapolis scenester from the 1980s and they will start talking about "The Mats". Now, you might be saying, "Why are they called 'The Mats'?" Well, it's an extremely complicated nickname and I love complicated nicknames. I have a friend named Ricky Greacen. My brother used to call him Ricky Wintertrate. Here's why: My brother and his friends would call many things and people greasy. Something that was very greasy might be "grease concentrate". Naturally, this eventually shortened to "greasentrate". The first two syllables of "greasentrate" are pronounced like Ricky Greacen's last name. There was a character in the snowboarding game for Nintendo 64 called 1080 named Ricky Winterborn. Thus, you get Ricky Wintertrate.

Okay, back to The Mats. So people at some point decided to give The Replacements a nickname. They started calling them The Replacemats. Funny, right? Then, they thought that was too long, so they shortened it to The Mats. So their nickname doesn't even come from their band name, but from a joke about their band name. It's even to the point that the url for their band site on their old record label is just Awesome.

The other thing I love about The Replacements is that they are the most punk band ever. "Wait a minute," you are probably thinking to yourself, "I thought the Exploding Fuckdolls were the most punk band of all time." Well, you're wrong. Although they have an excellently punk name, the Exploding Fuckdolls are not even close to as punk as The Replacements. Punk is not about cool names or clothing or music. Punk is about your attitude. Take a look at this music video:

Now that is a punk rock music video. Someone clearly told them that they had to make a music video. They said no. They were told that they really had to. So they said, "All right! We'll make a music video. We'll make a music video that will make them wish they had never been born!"

Obviously, since the entire video is about someone sitting on their couch, I will not write much about that video. That was from Tim, their first major label album. For their next album, Pleased To Meet Me, they made a video for the song Alex Chilton. Clearly someone told them that this time the band had to be in the video. So they made this:

This video just shows the band sitting around, not doing anything. This was hardly an improvement. By their next album, Don't Tell a Soul, The Replacements gave in. They would attempt to make a normal video with people playing instruments and singing and acting like they wanted someone to like it. It seems like things didn't go entirely as planned.

I'll Be You by The Replacements.

The basic premise of the video is that band is following the hook of the song, "You be me for a while and I'll be you," by switching instruments occasionally. The band didn't really commit to it, though. It starts simply enough with a weird and unnecessary broken glass effect.

The bass player is trying the hardest to impress.

He is wearing make-up, a bow tie, and a ridiculous jacket.

Quickly, though, the singer gets tired. He pulls the microphone stand over to a chair and has a seat.

The drummer does his best to play guitar, trying to make the video's concept work.

The singer can't take it and puts his head in the bass drum.

When the drum is struck it blows all the air out and he will suffocate. He hopes it works that way, at least.

The band gets it back together enough to play and sing a bit like a normal band.

But the singer walks off in the middle of the chorus.

The bass player tries to pretend like nothing is wrong.

Then, they set up another good shot. The singer sings the hook.

The drummer hands over the drumsticks.

And, instead of sitting down and beginning to play, the singer just throws the drumsticks away and walks off.

So it's really the singer who is making no effort here. He refuses to commit to the concept of the video.

He takes off his guitar, throws it on the floor, and then sings for a bit.

Then he tries to walk through the drum set and probably hurts himself pretty seriously.

Most likely they had to stop filming after that.

The whole video is extremely punk rock. I feel like coming up with a reasonable concept and then just refusing to do it well is one of the most punk things you could do. But is it Minnesotan? I'm not sure. I guess it is really passive aggressive, and that is definitely Minnesotan. I'm going to say yes, this is Minnesotan. The Replacements are a Minnesotan band. They're coming to your town. They're going to be nice around. They're a Minnesotan band.


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