the year was 1994. i was in the smoky camaraderie. i was drunk, drunk, drunk and begging someone to play the jukebox. kelly stepped up to the plate and threw in some money. he had only one request. . . we had to play at least one replacements song. i crinkled my nose at him and acquiesced.
over the din and smoke, i heard the opening chords of “Merry Go Round.” and in that moment, my life changed. kelly sidled up to me and put an arm around my shoulder, “c’mon chromes,” he said, “you know the words.”
and magically i did. why, that song, that song was written about me.
in quick sucession i bought most every replacements cd i could get my hands on.
one of my favorite replacements moments was sitting in the upper balcony of the grand illusion alone. i was waiting for my friends to join me. i sat alone singing along to a replacements song. a boy approached me.
“you like the replacements?”
“i love them.”
“well then, i guess i’ll be buying you a drink.”
we sat and talked about the replacements for nearly an hour, even when my friends had come. he was telling me all sorts of stories about seeing them live and meeting westerberg. it was amazing.
another replacements story, standing in the very same bar, nearly two years later. a different boy and the song “nobody” comes on. we stood there with our arms around each other and the mood got so intense, he left. he just put his beer down and he left the bar. i chased him and was told, “you have the most incredible capacity for love.” it was bizarre. it hink he was the first boy i ever said i love you to.
so yes, that’s the story. i was a late comer to the replacements. i am a late comer to most everything that is cool, mostly because i am so oblivious to everything. the only coolness i ever discovered relatively early was soul coughing, and they like all my other favorites have gone the way of the dodo.
it was love at first listen.