Hypocrisy & The ‘Mats Reunion

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.

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  1. Doug 14.Jun.13 at 3:20 pm

    Excellent story. It is true that we all turn into the a-holes our spunky younger selves mocked. It’s the only way we can tolerate them now.

    Given the time line of your discovery, this will be your first time seeing them, will it not? Obviously Paul has toured and played the ‘Mats songs, and likely this will be similar but with Tommy on stage too, but this will be different.

    Those of us who can’t make the show will expect a full report.

    1. Jodi 15.Jun.13 at 9:45 am

      Until this week I liked to believe my younger self would be all “right on Old Jodi, you’re pretty rad.” However, now she’s all “sellout,” which, as you know, is the worst thing to happen to a GenXer.

      If the Westerberg tour from 05 (?) is any indication there will be many full reports. So many you’l be “SHUT UP, CHROMEY!”

  2. Brett 14.Jun.13 at 6:09 pm


    Thanks for the great news!

    Despite wanting to go to one of these shows badly, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it, either (family, deadlines & commitments & bullshat). So, yes, please give us a vivid account!

    I’ve never seen PW solo, either, tho’ I did see Tommy play with Soul Asylum here in Rochester a few years ago … (I think he made the smartass comment “anywhere’s better than here”! Ha!) He and they sounded great…

    Incidentally, big Mats fans the Hold Steady are playing down here this summer too, at the St. john’s Block Party finale…

    Jeez, maybe I need to figure out how to make one of these fests! Even though it’s half the band it’d be totally worth it!

    “Stay sassafrassy, Pony-Girl!”

    1. Jodi 15.Jun.13 at 9:47 am

      Brett, all rumors are pointing to maybe an actual tour. I’m predicting (based on nothing but my desire) a 3-night stint somewhere in the Twin Cities. You can come for that — deadlines be damned!

      Have you seen The Hold Steady before? I don’t think there is a more joyous performer than Craig Finn. He always seems to be genuinely happy to be playing rock & roll.

      1. Brett 15.Jun.13 at 8:37 pm

        I hope you’re right, Jodi!

        I missed seeing them back in the day (didn’t catch on ’til they broke up – apparently my head was up me arse!) so I hope they do a homestand. I’ll take a 1st Ave stand, though with all the hoopla, maybe a bigger venue will be in order …

        I’ve never seen the Hold Steady, but ‘Stay Positive’ woke my long-slumbering love of new music … Is it just me, or is that a definite nod to the original version of “Can’t Hardly Wait” with that “water tower” reference?


        1. Jodi 16.Jun.13 at 9:08 am

          Please tell me you’ve gone back and discovered The Hold Steady’s back catalog. You simply must, Boys & Girls in America and Separation Sunday are fabulous albums.

          I never thought of the water tower reference but I bet you’re right. Craig Finn loves the ‘Mats as much as I do.

  3. mark 21.Jun.13 at 1:00 am

    I like Paul Revere & the Raiders (well up to 1966 anyway) but they were ALWAYS about making money, I would not have gone to see them in 1995. I would see the Replacements or even just Paul & Tommy anytime. Historically the two bands were about as far apart in attitude as two bands can possibly get. 1995 Jodi gets my pardon.


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