Trouble Boys: The True Story of The Replacements is nothing short of spectacular. The book follows the life and times of the Minneapolis, MN punk, college, rock ‘n’ roll pioneers TheReplacements, a story that has long needed telling but as much as this story needed to be told, it needed Bob Mehr to tell it. Mehr, a professional music journalist who has worked for the likes of MOJO and Spin, dedicated nearly a decade of his life to writing and researching Trouble Boys and, boy, does it show. The book painstakingly details the lives of Paul Westerberg, Bob and Tommy Stinson, and Chris Mars (The Replacements’ original lineup), their family history, what brought them into music and the band, and what happened to them afterwards. But that’s not all. The book also covers the life of Bob ‘Slim’ Dunlap and Steve Foley (the replacements in The Replacements) along with family members, significant others, managers, producers, and the unofficial fifth Replacement Peter Jesperson. If these names mean nothing to you, then you’re probably unfamiliar with the band, their music, and their history, and that’s okay. The Replacements never had any mainstream success. They were either too raw when the people wanted polished or too polished when the people wanted raw. They were misfits, miscreants, and overall fuck ups to the nth degree, often sabotaging themselves and their potential success. Besides, some things just aren’t meant for the masses. They are either too good or too quirky or just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Replacements were all of those things and more.
What makes Trouble Boys so incredibly good is its brutal honesty. The Replacements were, and still are, a complicated group of individuals, and this book does not shy away from that fact. This band, and their story, is completely laid bare by Mehr, drunken warts and all, providing stunning clarity into what made them so incredibly special and why their music still touches people to this day. This is the book by which all other rock biographies should be judged, is a must for fans of the band, and a must for students of the history of rock ‘n’ roll.
-- Dave Brown
Thanks Dave for the great review. Be sure to check out his music blog by clicking the link above.
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