Wednesday, 20 May 2009

How Do You Say I'm Lonely To An Answering Machine?

Jim Walsh's "biography" of the Replacements, "All Over But The Shouting"

Lest any of you think this blog is my first foray into the "Did I ever tell you about the time I met...." style ramblings of which, you'll by now have gathered, it comprises, well, you'd be wrong. I have previous in this field. Back in 2001, I posted the following on The Skyway If you read on, and please do, remember this was aimed at those more than a little familiar with the Replacements, though I've added a couple of notes and references for (shame on you) the uninitiated.

"Way way back, we're talking mid 1980's here, I dabbled in the world of fanzines, released a couple of compilation albums, and basically, as I had no musical talent, got my kicks by association with a number of "leading" members of the alternative rock revolution.

Some of you guys may know that at one time Paul was a big fan of a band called the Jacobites, especially of Dave Kusworth, and in particular their album "Robespierre's Velvet Basement" and name checked them regularly in interviews etc. They were at this time signed to Glass Records, run then by good friend and guiding influence Dave "Elvis" Barker. Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth were and are to this day The Jacobites and I'd known Nikki since 1980 when he rang me as a local-to-him saddo fanzine editor in the heart of England.

Nikki's brother, the late Epic Soundtracks, and I reckoned ourselves to be the only fans of the Replacements in the whole of the United Kingdom, but Nikki, despite knowing Paul's fondness for his music, did not reciprocate, and just couldn't get the Mats. So as Epic and I trumpeted the magic of the Mats to anyone who'd listen, I made contact with those very generous folk at Twin/Tone who furnished me with all manner of Replacements goodies (including THAT TAPE)

and other bits and pieces that Twin/Tone released. Inevitably I eventually confessed to the folk at Twin/Tone that I knew Nikki and Dave, and I was asked to act as some kind of unofficial representative in approaching them on behalf of Twin/Tone who were keen to release what eventually became "The Ragged School" by The Jacobites on Twin/Tone.

Now, and no disrespect to my good buddy to this day Mr. Nikki Sudden, (who sadly passed away in March 2006) the real thrill of this for me was the reciprocal step taken kind of on my recommendation for Glass Records to release the very first UK edition of a record by The Mats, namely "Boink" which came out in 1986, and included the then unreleased "Nowhere Is My Home" produced by that other hero of mine, L X Chilton (but that's another very long story).

Now where is this leading us other than to universal recognition of the importance of my role in the career of Paul Westerberg...?? (I jest, of course.....). Well, leading up to all this, I was in fairly regular contact (by post and phone) with Lori Bizer at Twin/Tone (later for a period Mrs Paul Westerberg) in the hope that I could get a solo track, "Pour Little Kim", (which I never got to hear) from Paul for one of my albums, though this was proving a little difficult as the band had just signed to Sire......and so it came to pass one night somewhere in Minneapolis that Paul Westerberg was getting merrily plastered, and decided to make a transatlantic phone call. I was living with my parents at the time, and 6.30 am one morning, I'm dead to the world when my mother wakes me up with the news that someone called Paul is on the phone....still half-dead I pick up the phone to hear this distant echo of a voice announcing himself as Paul Westerberg calling to say Hi and to find out more about that man Kusworth....

I've always been a little in awe of musical heroes when I've met or spoken to them and this was no exception. 16 or 17 years later, the details of the call are no longer recalled, but suffice to say, I dined on the tale a coupla times over the years. Anyway, "The Ragged School" did okay in the States, "Boink" very well over here, Dave Barker of Glass Records

no doubt getting the better side of the deal, and no doubt failing to pay money (lovable rogue that he is) owed to Twin/Tone before he eventually joined up with Alan McGee at Creation.

I'll happily write more Mats related stuff, but in conclusion just say that I will always love them, and whenever I listen to their stuff, I will always think of my great friend, much missed, Mr. Epic Soundtracks.

Play it for Epic.

Chris 17"

I never did write any more about 'em, still listen to and love 'em, and never travel far without a little Replacements.....

1 comment:

Jon Boedeker said...

Did the Mat's ever tour Europe before 1987?