The Replacements' Tommy Stinson talks about his new album
Tommy Stinson's Cowboys in the Campfire new album, Wronger, begins simply with just Tommy Stinson’s vocals. Next is a ukulele swelling into the sounds of a horn section. The first track welcomes the listener to the sound of the entire album. Horns, stripped-down recordings, hints of the blues, country folk — raw, loose and real music.
Tommy Stinson has played an integral role in rock music for decades, especially for those of us in Minnesota.
As a founding member of The Replacements, Tommy Stinson's Cowboys in the Campfire new album, Wronger, is out June 2.
Wronger begins simply with just Stinson’s vocals. Then, the swelling of a ukulele leads into the sounds of a horn section. The first track welcomes the listener to the feel of the entire album. Horns, stripped-down recordings, hints of the blues, country folk — raw, loose and real music. The authentic sound fits in perfectly with the sound of all of Stinson’s projects.
“When you spend too much time making records, you have sort of diminishing returns in a way,” Stinson said during his interview for KAXE’s New Music program. “We didn't wear (these songs) out. We … record them, sit on them for a second and ... (the songs) kind of let you know (they’re complete).”
Stinson has plenty of experience to tap when it comes to playing and recording music. Forty years ago, he dropped out of high school as a sophomore to tour with The Replacements.
“I got to be honest with myself. It has been a very abnormal life and abnormal way to grow up,” Stinson said. “ … What seems normal to me, to other people on the outside it just looks totally nuts, I'm sure. … Lucky me that I've been able to live in arrested development, or a really extended adult period, without any guardrails.”
Life without guardrails ultimately served Stinson well in his career, but that wasn’t always the case for The Replacements, he said. The band’s famously scofflaw attitude toward the expectations of the music industry, while a true representation of members’ feelings at the time, probably stood in their way, too, Stinson said.
“We had a really hard time playing the game and glad-handing the executives,” he said. “ … We didn't care enough and, you know, when left to (our) own devices, we cared a lot more than I think we let on.”
The follies of youth sometimes overshadowed the driving force behind the band, he noted.
"Lucky me that I've been able to live in arrested development, or a really extended adult period, without any guardrails.”Tommy Stinson
“In the grand scheme of things, we make records because we … like what we do. We like our songwriting and we're lucky enough that anyone wants to hear them,” Stinson said. “But to ultimately sabotage the outcome of people hearing them kind of messes up the work, if you know what I'm saying.”
Beyond The Replacements, Stinson also spent time on stage with another rock band with a long shadow: Guns N’ Roses.
“That was one (collaboration) where I'm playing with people from completely different backgrounds and each uniquely different from each other's experience and backgrounds,” he said. “And you know, as much work as it was when I look back on it, it was a really cool, really special kind of experience.”
For more of Stinson’s conversation with KAXE, listen above.