Category: The Replacements

Interview: Color Me Obsessed director Gorman Bechard

There’s something missing from Color Me Obsessed, director Gorman Bechard’s new documentary about Minneapolis music legends The Replacements: the band itself. Bechard purposefully avoided putting Paul Westerberg or his bandmates in the film directly—no interviews, no music, no concert footage, no album covers. But what seems at first to be a self-defeating approach is perhaps uniquely suited to The Replacements, a band so infamously disinterested in its own fame that its members once tried to steal their master tapes and throw them in a river, and flipped the bird to the whole idea of MTV by making a music video consisting entirely of a speaker playing “Bastards Of Young” for three and a half minutes. As its title implies, Color Me Obsessed is about the band’s fans as much as it is about the band itself. By not directly including The Replacements in the film, its subject broadens beyond simple biography into an exploration of what it means to be a fan, and to have your life changed by a song. Obsessed tells The Replacements’ story, from formation to early ’90s flameout, through the words of fans, critics, and contemporaries from the Minnesota music scene, including Hüsker Dü’s Grant Hart and Greg Norton, The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn, Kids In The Hall’s Dave Foley, and Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy. The A.V. Club talked with Bechard in advance of Color Me Obsessed’s Minneapolis debut, 7 p.m. May 4 at the Woman’s Club, as part of Sound Unseen.

Originally published May 2, 2011 on avclub.com. Read the complete article.

Review: Paul Westerberg, 49:00

Paul WesterbergIn the mid-’90s, Paul Westerberg was in danger of ruining his reputation as the songwriter for deeply influential alt-rockers The Replacements, thanks to a raft of bland solo material that showed little of the passion of classics like Let It Be or Tim. Thankfully, he’s recaptured more than enough of the Mats’ ragged glory by flying under the radar as Grandpaboy, and with his latest release under his own name, the lo-fi, self-recorded 49:00. Titled after Westerberg’s age (he turns 49 in December), it’s a loose, shaggy beast that throws together a collection of new songs, seemingly unfinished snippets, and a medley of classic-rock covers. (The latter is a single 44-minute mp3 with no official track listing or title, and it was released as an online-only 49-cent download less than a week after it was finished.)

Westerberg songs generally sound better when they’re roughed up a little—the Mats’ Don’t Tell A Soul is proof enough that he doesn’t shine when he’s too polished—and 49:00 doesn’t so much embrace that aesthetic as wrestle it to the ground in a big, joyous sprawl. Songs fade in and out, or smash into each other like cars at a demolition derby, cutting each other off and sometimes playing simultaneously. The jarring transitions, or lack thereof, might be frustrating for anyone expecting a traditional album, and it certainly ruins the mood of his heartbreaker about a father’s death to have the subsequent rave-up burst through like Kool-Aid Man in a funeral home. But that’s the way he wanted it—stating emphatically in all caps on his website that “ALL SOUNDS ARE INTENTIONAL AND VALID AS A WORK OF ART”—and it mostly works wonderfully, positioning Westerberg right where he ought to be, between Guided By Voices and the Stones’ Let It Bleed.

Originally published on avclub.com Aug. 4, 2008. Read the complete article.

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