By Jay Gabler, 89.3 The Current
This article was produced in collaboration with 89.3 The Current, Minnesota’s non-commercial, member-supported radio station playing the best authentic, new music alongside the music that inspired it. Find this article and more great music at thecurrent.org.
From “Skyway” to “Bastards of Young,” Replacements songs have almost as many home-state references as to Paul Westerberg’s troubled state of mind. If you’re a ‘Mats fan hanging out in the Twin Cities, there are plenty of places you can visit to channel the tumultuous spirit of our indie-rock icons. Here are the top five.
Let It Be house
2215 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis
The Replacements’ album Let It Be has such a recognizable cover, it’s been recreated by the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The Daniel Corrigan photograph was taken on the porch roof at 2215 Bryant Ave. S., where Bob and Tommy Stinson grew up, and where the band rehearsed in the basement in their early years. No, you can’t climb up there and recreate the photo.
2600 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis
In the Replacements’ heyday, Bob Stinson decreed that “all the great bands in Minneapolis live between Franklin and Lake and Lyndale and Hennepin.” The collective watering hole was this unassuming corner bar at Lyndale and 26th, still very much in operation and still rocking the wood-paneled vibe that wrapped the ‘Mats in its warm and all-too-forgiving embrace. The song “Here Comes a Regular” is thought to be inspired by this bar.
Bob Stinson memorial bench
Just off Midtown Greenway, between Lake of the Isles and Bde Maka Ska
Five years after the founding Replacements guitarist died in 1995, his family dedicated a memorial bench in his favorite quiet spot: a waterway running between Lake of the Isles and Bde Maka Ska (Lake Calhoun). It’s a poignant pause on any Replacements tour of Minneapolis.
7th St Entry
701 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis
The best venue to catch a vibe reminiscent of original Replacements shows is at a venue where they played many times, alongside peers like Hüsker Dü and veteran punk acts like the Suicide Commandos. First Avenue’s small side room is nothing if not focused, and when a packed house gets rocking, the noise and tumult almost threaten to overwhelm you. Just the way the ‘Mats liked it.
Mississippi riverbank near Pillsbury A-Mill
315 S.E. Main St., Minneapolis
One of the most infamous stories in Replacements lore just happens to be true: amidst a dispute with their record label, they stole their own master tapes and threw them into the Mississippi River. As it happens, though, the tapes weren’t actually the masters, they were just backups. Oh well, it’s still a great story. Stand on the bank of the river near the artist lofts that have newly opened in the former A-Mill and salute the ‘Mats, then resist the temptation to patronize one of the cozy cafés nearby. Go where the Replacements went to celebrate their would-be victory: right back to the CC Club.