US - New York - Full Moon 92 - 04/05/04
Remember the Replacements? Maybe you don't.
Well, I lived in the midwest in the 80s and 90s and I sure do. Back before they became critics'
darlings and played SNL they toured the small towns around Minneapolis and cracked wise while
pissing in sinks.
One particular evening saw them playing Lacrosse, Wisconsin at a polka hall. It was Tommy's
birthday (17th?) and they were drinking Jack right from the bottle like a bunch of good old boys.
They began the show by saying that they were going to have fun at our expense. Whew. Punk fucking
rock. Or not. They didn't play a single original song. Instead, they tore through some really
obnoxious covers. "Black Diamond". "Iron Man". "Sweet Home Alabama". Not even finishing them -
trailing off after a verse or two and leaving the punkers pissed on like porcelain. That tour is
well documented in a now famous bootleg called The Shit Hits The Fans. Good luck finding
This all sounds well and good and even a bit fun, but believe me, this was not a time to be
playing covers - especially hard rock ones. We were not happy. The punks were there to spit on the
dinosaurs, not play homage to them.
The 'Mats were at the forefront of the singer not the song craze that came around Minnesota at
that time. Soul Asylum's "Juke Box Hero" and Hüsker Dü's "You're Gonna Make It After All"
were just around the corner. The lines were getting blurred and people were having a gas. Laughin
and slammin and gettin real silly. My heads spins just remembering.
Since those days, the cover song has become a real art form. Or a cop out. Depending on the
artist. And the cover band has soared to new heights. Here in San Francisco the post modern tribute
bands are getting lots of gigs. All girl ones like ACDShe, Mistress of Reality, Cheap Chick, and
Some Girls are filling rooms and having a blast.
I'm even considering assembling a Tex Mex T-Rex tribute band called - you guessed it: T-Mex.
Foogin' brilliant, eh?
Maybe. Maybe not. I'll tell you what Is brilliant though, and that's Scissor Sisters jaw dropping
version of "Comfortably Numb". Thumpy and beejeezy, it's everything the original isn't - loads of fun.
Best cover ever. You heard me. Ever.
Copyright © 2004 Alice Kenner