Fandom-ing: Meeting my Rock’n’Roll Heroes

On December 27, 1990, at approximately 8:47 pm, I purchased a record that would change my life.  The Replacements’ All Shook Down was coming home with me. I was immediately obsessed.  I listened to them every single day until probably fall of 1997 when I had my first real job, and I probably came home too late and too tired to listen to anything. Yet, I have never traveled far without the Mats.

(You can read previous posts about how much I love the Replacements here, here, here. here, here, and  here)

Luckily, I’ve gotten to meet two of the members of the band.

Paul Westerberg was the lead singer and songwriter of the Replacements.  If you like rock biographies, I highly encourage you to read Trouble Boys by Bob Mehr.  Paul is a strange, captivating figure.  His songs made the strange kid who never felt like he belonged, even when he was with his friends, belong.  He wrote songs about teenage boys struggling with sexual identity, something I identified with since I never had luck in my younger days with girls.  Looking back it was I had a shyness that crippled me, but I really didn’t know if it was something more than that.  He wrote songs about loudmouths and the guys that aren’t.  In college, most of my close friends dropped out, and since it was a commuter school, I only made a one close friend during that time.  Westerberg’s music filled in the gap that my friends left.  In 2005, Westerberg played at the House of Blues in New Orleans. He hurt his leg earlier on tour, so he was in pain, but he stayed and met the fans who wanted to meet him.  He made chit-chat, and luckily, a guy in front had a camera.  He also signed my shirt which Mrs. Nola Nerd framed years later and now is the centerpiece of our artwork leading up our staircase.

The Replacements at the Hollywood Palladium

The Replacements at the Hollywood Palladium

My wife has been very supportive of my obsession with the band. When they were playing in Hollywood, we were in Anaheim due to Star Wars Celebration 2015. Now, my wife is a huge Star Wars fan (bigger than me), and Celebration is the biggest fan event for Star Wars.  She was ok with us leaving early and going see them.

The Replacements at the Hollywood Palladium

The Replacements at the Hollywood Palladium

 

In March of this year, she sent me a Facebook post from one of our favorite record stores in Orlando, Park Ave CDs.  Tommy Stinson, the bass player and, arguably, the soul of the Replacements, would be playing there.  I almost sent my brother in law to tape it. She decided to look up his tour dates, and that day a show was added to Siberia Lounge in New Orleans…and there was a meet and greet! She said spend the money! Only two other people did the meet and greet.  It was the most surreal experience of my life. Here is a guy who’s life’s work has meant so much to me, coming to shake my hand and saying thanks for coming (the bar owner told I was one of the VIPs).  We went to hang out in the restaurant part and talked about life and other things like a bunch of friends having a drink.  Remember that line I wrote earlier, about the Replacements filling in the gaps of friends I didn’t hang out as much with….here we were hanging out!

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Tommy at Siberia New Orleans.

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Signed Bash & Pop by Tommy

After the show, he signed a poster for me and recorded a message for the Nola Nerd Baby who wasn’t even a month old yet.

I won’t ever post that on here or social media.

That’s just for us.

 

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