An Interview with Bash & Pop’s Tommy Stinson

Tommy Stinson by Steven Cohen
Tommy Stinson by Steven Cohen

Tommy Stinson rose to prominence as a founding member of one of the definitive alternative rock groups The Replacements. Following their demise in 1991, Stinson transitioned into performing solo as well as going on to form two groups of his own; Bash & Pop and Perfect. Stinson has recently announced the reunion of Bash & Pop, as well as details of a follow up their 1993 debut album ‘Friday Night is Killing Me’.

The group will be releasing ‘Anything Could Happen’ January 24th 2017 via Fat Possum Records, with an accompanying USA tour throughout the Winter and early Spring. We caught up with Tommy the day before his first show of the tour (January 12th) which aptly kicked off in Stinson’s hometown of Minneapolis.

Northern Transmissions: You’ve released solo albums in the past, what was the reasoning for bringing back Bash & Pop as a band after nearly 23 years?

Tommy Stinson: Well, you know what it was more out of the fact that this record was more like that first ‘Bash & Pop’ record, and when I set that record up I wanted it to be a group effort and recorded live and as a band. This is actually more a “Bash & Pop” record than before because I ended up doing the bass and some guitar last time around on the recordings.

NT: You have enlisted all new players this time around too, correct?

TS: This time around yeah, it was. It was more spotanious where my solo records have been more labour intensive. This time we recorded everything basically on the spot. We recorded from the winter of 2015, we did weekend sessions and hung out at my house and recorded. All that crap.

NT: After The Replacements wrapped things up, you joined Guns & Roses, you were in that band for quite some time playing both in the studio and as a live member. The recording process of Guns & Roses comeback album was famously prolonged, and the inability to tour with your own projects was the main reason for your departure. Did this experience influence how you want to record and release music going forward?

TS: Yeah you know, that was part of the reason I wanted to make this record in a live fashion. Otherwise you can tinker too much everything little thing in the studio, and you can start to lose the vibe of the record very quickly. After making records all different ways over the years I wanted to try and capture the spontaneity in the studio.

NT: The first show of this Bash & Pop tour is back in your hometown of Minneapolis, is there still something a little special about being back their and playing in Minneapolis?

TS: Yeah this time specifically, as we are hitting the 7th Street Entry (venue) in Minneapolis, a place where some of the earliest Replacements shows took place. It’s special for that reason for sure.

NT: A few years back, Paul Westerberg and yourself released a few songs as The Replacements and reunited to play live, why was that reunion so short lived and were any of these songs at one point considered for that project?

TS: Me and Paul kind of half-assed attempted to make a Replacements record, and it just felt like it had all been done, so therefore the songs I was sitting on I kind of kept for myself. Both Paul and myself really were invested in the reunion and I feel we just didn’t set up with the right recording scenario therefore things kinda fell away fast. I could give 50 different excuses why it didn’t work out, but the main reason was we just didn’t seem to have the full heart to do it.

NT: Looking back on your long career, are you able to grasp what The Replacements mean to people and where they sit in the history of alternative rock music? Is the legacy something you feel has been a pressure on you over the years?

TS: Im proud of it of course, and I think its a great legacy and we left our mark. I think the pressure is more so for Paul, as he was the singer and he has to compete with that legacy more than I do. He is so synonymous with those songs and albums.

NT: Is there anything currently in music that is really exciting you?

TS: Ya this band called the Yawprs from Denver, this kinda crazy rockabilly sound, kinetic music. I produced their album this past summer, super talented. That the thing that I’ve been most excited about for awhile. Josh Homme also, he is super talented and the only really cool thing going on in heavy rock in recent years. He is a staple for me, everything he does is just super awesome.

NT: Thanks so much for your time Tommy, any plans for Canadian dates on this tour?

TS: Yeah that’s the plan, we are going to be announcing more dates in the near future and hoping to get up to Toronto etc. in the springtime.

Tommy Stinson’s Top 5 Albums:
1. Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde
2. Queens of the Stone Age – Era Vulgaris
3. The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
4. The Clash – London Calling
5. Terry Reid – Terry Reid

Interview by Stuart McCardie