Dear Jim Walsh

Over the past few weeks, I have slowly begun to revisit my love affair with The Replacements. I didn’t love them in their prime like so many other people did (I was only 13 when Don’t Tell A Soul came out.), but I’ve never felt left out, or felt like I didn’t understand them they way other people have and maybe that’s the magic behind them. Their sound is specific, but it’s also timeless. To me, it’s the sound of Minneapolis, forever and ever–even more than Prince ever was. When I think of what it must have been like to be of a certain age in the mid-’80s and do then what we do now “Alex Chilton” always pops into my head and I smile. I love that song. I love all the songs. They always make me smile.

If I’ve had a shitty day, I’ll put “Bastards Of Young” on repeat in the car and scream all the way home from work. How was “Skyway” not played at everyone’s prom that year? Knowing that it wasn’t is another reason to smile about them, though. They were loveable losers who managed to lose even when they won. I remember Kevin Seal momentarily stumbling over Tommy Stinson’s name when he and Paul were guests on MTV’s “120 Minutes” once and Tommy–his big moment in the spotlight–responding back only with Seal’s flub: “Stomp.” How perfect.

Of all the Minneapolis bands I like, The ‘Mats mean the most. They never left here, even when they did. When I was in LA recently and told someone where I was from they responded, “Hey, The Replacements!” instead of something lame about Prince and the color purple, which is what usually happens. I could have kissed them.

I haven’t read a word of the book yet, but thank you for writing it. It’s hard evidence that they meant something to a lot of people and not just me. Though they weren’t the first band I loved, they were the first band I thought I could be. They were regular guys who made it, and that’s so much more inspiring to look up to than a superstar rock god.

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