In the summer of 1995 I was a twenty-three-year-old bridge-burning sassafrass totally high on the emotions she could incite with her writing. That was the summer I worked at the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram as an intern. It was also a few months before I really fell in love with The Replacements, because I used the money from the L-T to buy all their albums.
One of my early assignments for the newspaper was to review a Paul Revere & The Raiders concert. I, of course, had never heard of the band until the moment I got the assignment. Since the Interent was just a baby in 1995 (and I thank Al Gore every damn day that a majority of my young foolishness is not online for all to see) I had to find out about the band by asking people. It didn’t go well, but undeterred, I set out for the concert in the boiling Wisconsin summer. It sucked. The band sucked. The music sucked. The whole thing sucked. And I said as much in the newspaper the next day.
The citizens of Eau Claire did not take it very well. The newspaper was flooded with Letters to the Editor (this is what people did to voice their displeasure in the time before Comment sections). I’m not exaggerating when I say it was the topic of discussion for the summer. At some point one of the radio stations had me on their morning call-in show. The very nice DJs prepared me for the flood of hate that would probably come by way and because I was a sassafrass I said I could handle it.
It actually went much better than either of us had expected. I was much more eloquent than he expected and I had a point. My point was: these crap bands Baby Boomers loved gathering together two members and then calling it a reunion is bullshit. It was, I thought, a blatant ploy to cash in on someone’s nostalgia.
And then . . . last night a band GenX loved gathered together two members, called it a reunion, and I lost my fucking mind. In fact, it’s been just about twenty-four hours since the news hit and only now am I coming down from the high. I finally stopped smiling at around seven o’clock tonight. Most of my day was spent in a giddy sort of holy shitness where I grinned at everything, giggled uncontrollably, and talked really fast with barely controlled laughter. I’m sure a few of my clients thought I was drunk. Or high. Or both.
I was only a little amazed at how quickly I shucked off my twenty-three-year-old ideals and ponied up some $160 for a 3-day concert in Chicago. And I did it happily with much glee. And when I am standing in a dusty park in Chicago frying or freezing, thirsty or drenched from rain, I will weep openly when the two willing to play in public with each other members of The Replacements sing “I Will Dare.”
And I will probably spend a lot of time between now and September talking to Summer of 1995-Jodi and trying to explain to her how I’m not as much of a “phony hypocrite sellout poser” as she thinks. Because Summer of 1995 Jodi had no idea what it was to love a band as much as post-summer of 1995 Jodi and every Jodi since then loves The Replacements. I will tell her of Winter of 1996 Jodi who would bring up The Replacements to anyone who would let her and how happy she was at that one party when Marty E spent all that time telling her about the ‘Mats and explaining how happy he was to have snagged a vinyl version of (maybe) “All Shook Down.” 2013-Jodi isn’t so sure if that’s the right record.
Summer of 1995-Jodi will probably be amazed to learn what loving The ‘Mats has brought to her life. She will be happy to hear about all the drinks her ‘Mats fandom earned Fall of 1995-Jodi (also a Superman S nestled into the her ample cleavage didn’t hurt). She will be pleased to learn that because of her love of the ‘Mats she’s met some of her favorite people (Wolfdogg) and had some of her favorite experiences (being in Jim Walsh’s book).
I like to think had Summer of 1995-Jodi loved the ‘Mats as much as all the Jodis since, she might have cut Paul Revere & The Raiders some slack, but I doubt it. Not even a little bit of hypocrisy can kill the sassafrass.