Providence Rock History: The Replacements Play the Living Room

I just read “All Over But The Shouting” an Oral History on punk rock/rock n roll legends The Replacements.  The collection was edited and, in some parts, written by Jim Walsh.  I recommend it to anyone that has a certain fondness for The Replacements.

I have mixed feelings about their music, their story is pretty intriguing, I don’t feel like elaborating on about all that right now…

Instead, I’ve provided my readers with an anecdote from the book.  Legend has it The Replacements and the Young Fresh Fellows played a very intoxicated gig at the now-defunct downtown Providence hot-spot, The Living Room.  Silliness ensued.  RIP Bob Stinson.

Paul Westerberg (singer, guitarist, The Replacements): We mentioned ’em last time and you didn’t write anything about them so you should mention the Young Fresh Fellows from Seattle.  If you think we’re good, then they’re the best band in the world.  They’re like the new NRBQ, only sloppier.

Scott McCaughey (Young Fresh Fellows): Paul’s girlfriend, Lori Bizer, who worked at Twin/Tone, had somehow discovered and become enamored with the first Young Fresh Fellows album.  I was working at Cellophane Square records in Seattle and we struck up a friendship over the phone, by coincidence really, I think.  The “indie rock” scene was sort of claustrophobic then, but in a good way, with a lot of cooperation and camaraderie.

Lori turned Paul onto us – or maybe shoved us down his throat.  I believe I said “Hi” to Paul and identified myself after the Mats’ absolutely mind-blowing show at Astor Park in Seattle in ’85.  Then when we had an open date on tour, and noticed the ‘Mats were playing the Living Room in Providence, Rhode Island, that day, Lori wrangled us onto the bill through Paul.  We were pretty damn excited.

Paul Westerberger: The song [“Things,” from Westerberg’s first solo album 14 Songs] says a lot about what I am, and essentially says that I do the most important thing in my life.  And no matter who you are, you can be in second place, but you’re never going to replace my first love.

Scott McCaughey: So excited that we drank a bottle of gin and a case of beer in our communal motel room.  Worst room I ever stayed in – I swear someone had smeared shit all over the walls before we showed up.  Upon arrival the promoter told us we weren’t playing; he already had two local bands opening.  It’s entirely possible he never even head about us being “added” to the show.  We were too drunk to care that much, and marched backstage to find the Replacements in a state of extreme disrepair.

There were bowls of spaghetti – Paul had tomato sauce halfway up his shirt sleeve.  We had purchased a second bottle of gin which we offered to him but he waved it away, signifying that he was either trying to sober up, or maybe sticking to beer at the moment.  About to minutes later we cracked up seeing him guzzling straight from the gin bottle, rather desperately.

The Replacements’ set that night wasn’t hideous; I vaguely remember some early numbers rendered somewhat intact.  The four Fellows and our traveling pal/photographer/road crew, Marty Perez, had all managed to push front and center for the show.

After about an hour, as it became apparent that the band was reaching the point of complete incapability, Paul suddenly announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, the Young Fresh Fellows!”  Instruments were abandoned, and we clambered onstage and claimed them.  I was amazed at the volume and sheer monumental rock sound when I hit an A-chord through Paul’s Marshall.

We staggered into some medley of our song “Big House” and Mott the Hoople’s “Walkin’ with a Mountain” and god knows what else.  After about ten minutes we gave up, too.  At that point I think the perplexed crowd readied itself for the Replacements’ triumphant return to the stage.  There wasn’t a chance in hell that was going to happen.

From p.198-199

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