The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting is really about more than just the Replacements; it encompasses an entire era of the Minneapolis music scene. Prince, Curtiss A, the Suburbs, Hüsker Dü, and Soul Asylum are seen in the periphery of the Replacements’ rise. This is a music-lover’s book and a Minnesota-lover’s book.
The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting, a book by Jim Walsh. Published by Voyageur Press (2007). $21.95.
Jim Walsh was there when it all happened, and his voice is one of awe and reverence towards the group. The original Replacements were Paul Westerberg, Chris Mars, and brothers Tommy and Bob Stinson. They made their debut at Jay’s Longhorn Bar in Minneapolis in July of 1980. Some called them rock and some called them punk, but they were definitely rock stars. The Replacements drank heavily, acted belligerent, and performed a mix of brilliant and disastrous shows. When guitarist Bob Stinson was kicked out of the group for his out-of-control behavior, Slim Dunlap filled his spot. Near the end of the band’s life, drummer Chris Mars left the group and Steve Foley stepped in for the Replacements’ final tour.
Curtiss A: “People say, ‘Minneapolis Sound.’ To somebody that means Prince, to somebody that means Hüsker Dü, to somebody that means Soul Asylum. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but most of it is exuberance. I don’t know what it is, if it’s the magical lakes or what, but we’ve got a lot of smart people here.” (p. 42)
The book comprises the voices of fans, band members, old girlfriends, business partners, and more. Each voice explains how the Replacements—or ‘Mats, as they are affectionately called—made them look at the world in a new way or expanded their vision of what music could be like.
Billie Joe Armstrong: “First time was when I was 15 years old, at the Fillmore in San Francisco. My sister made me go. They all came out in really bad plaid suits; it was right when Pleased to Meet Me came out. It was amazing. It changed my whole life. If it wasn’t for that, I might’ve spent my time playing in bad speed-metal bands.” (p. 28)
All Over But the Shouting reads like a video documentary where interviews are spliced and blended to tell a story from different angles. It is a fantastic voyage of memories, ticket stubs, playbills, newspaper articles, and song lyrics. This is distracting at times, especially if you don’t know the group well, or weren’t aware of the Minneapolis music scene in the late 70s and early 80s: the intermixing of voices can seem chaotic.
Walsh’s understanding of the group is what holds this story together. The story is raw and true—not everyone quoted in the book likes the Replacements. They were a band that didn’t want to be liked by everyone and their slow self-destruction is portrayed all too clearly in this engrossing book.
Tommy Stinson: “We’re over. Forget about it. Get a life.” (p. 267)
Melissa Slachetka contributes regularly to the Daily Planet.