The great band of the 80s, for me, will always be The Replacements. This summer, the Mats have reunited for their first shows in over 20 years, and they’ll be playing in my hometown of Chicago next week. The Mats without Bob can never truly be the Mats at all, if you ask me. Nevertheless, they are such a beloved band to so many people that this is an event to which attention must be paid.
Below is a clip from the group’s legendary appearance on Saturday Night Live — an appearance that got them banned from the show. In this number, “Bastards of Young,” and even more so in the follow-up (“Kiss Me on the Bus”), it’s quite clear that the band had been enjoying . . . something. They stumbled around onstage, forgot some lyrics and mangled others, played sloppily, and also apparently yelled obscenities at the audience (though no cuss words are included in the clip — perhaps they were edited out). It turns out that there had been a lot of free booze backstage. The Replacements and an open bar? That was never a good idea.
And yet — as was so often the case, the Replacements managed to be great in spite of themselves. Their playing, Bob’s guitar in particular, and Paul’s singing, had passion and urgency, and they thrilled and killed with punk rock ‘tude. “Bastards of Young” — “we are the sons of no one” — is one of Westerberg’s greatesest songs, and was as close to an anthem as we Gen Xers ever got. Since I will (probably) be writing about Peter Beinart’s much-discussed article about generational politics later on, I thought I’d post it as today’s morning video. So here you go.