Tommy Stinson (second from left) had to find new sidemen, but he's still calling the new work a Bash & Pop record.
Tommy Stinson (second from left) had to find new sidemen, but he's still calling the new work a Bash & Pop record.
Vince DeSantiago

Tommy Stinson of Bash & Pop, The Replacements Says Sen. Tim Kaine 'Can Really Play'

Bash & Pop play Club Dada Friday, May 26

During Tommy Stinson's career as musician, he's played onstage with a wide variety of acts, from Soul Asylum to Guns N’ Roses.

He's even played alongside politicians: On a recent trip to Richmond, Va., U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a former vice-presidential accompanied Stinson on harmonica for a few bluegrass standards. Kaine, it turns out, is a big Replacements fan.

“The dude can really play,” Stinson says, calling the Dallas Observer from a tour stop in Atlanta.

Stinson co-founded the Replacements in junior high and stayed with the band until it dissolved in the early '90s. He's written his own songs the whole time. He has occasionally released music under his name and as the leader of rock outfits Perfect and Bash & Pop, which formed in '93 right after the Replacements fell apart.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t like what I do,” Stinson says when asked about his unfailing work ethic over four decades. “There’s one thing that I’ve never been able to do in life, and that is to fake my excitement and joy in liking what I do. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

That's good news, not just for Stinson but for his fans. The road warrior is back out on tour for a monthlong run of shows with Bash & Pop, his much-heralded but infrequently heard from group.

This year’s Anything Could Happen marked the group’s first recording since the original lineup released Friday Night Is Killing Me 24 years ago. The new album and tour came about after the Replacements reunion tour and Stinson's stint with Guns N' Roses both wrapped up.

“I was bored, musically,” he says, laughing. “I knew that when I got back with Bash & Pop and the other band I play in, Cowboys in the Campfire with Uncle Chip [a country-folk duo with Philadelphia guitarist Chip Roberts], that I was feeding the musical beast I had inside.”

Although decades had passed since Bash & Pop's last recording, and Stinson had to find new sidemen — guitarist Steve “The Sleeve” Selvidge (The Hold Steady), drummer Joe “The Kid” Serois (Mighty Mighty Bosstones) and bassist Justin “Carl” Perkins (Screeching Weasel) — he felt right calling the new work a Bash & Pop record.

“People are really taking to it. We’ve returned to certain markets a few times already, and it’s all been positive," Stinson says, seeming a bit surprised.

At its shows, Bash & Pop typically plays the bulk of its two albums, plus some of Stinson's solo material and a few covers. Occasionally, hardcore Replacements fans show up and are disappointed when it's not a greatest-hits set.

“Most people have manners,” he says. “Most people know that I’m not going up there to do a Replacements song or a Guns N’ Roses song. Occasionally I’ll indulge, but only once in a while. This one guy in Hamilton, Ontario, was having a really good time on his birthday, and he convinced us to do 'Sweet Child o’ Mine.' I said, ‘Fuck it, we’ll do it,’ which we did and hacked it up completely, but it was meaningful and fun for that guy.”

Despite all of the success Stinson has experienced, he's determined his best music-making years aren't behind him.

“This year has been an incentive to keep the ball rolling," he says.

Bash & Pop, with American Werewolf Academy, 9 p.m. Friday, May 26, Club Dada, 2720 Elm St., $15, spunetickets.com

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