RedEye

Replacements reunion at Riot Fest

The Replacements, who broke up on stage in 1991 at Grant Park, will reunite and return to Chicago as headliners of Riot Fest in Humboldt Park on Sept. 13-15.

Little information was provided in the late Wednesday announcement on the Riot Fest and Replacements web sites beyond the reunion weekend dates, which also include Riot Fest headlining appearances in Toronto (Aug. 24-25) and Denver (Sept. 21-22).

The reunion presumably will include founding members Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson. They got together last year to record an EP of cover songs to benefit former Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap, who had suffered a stroke. Dunlap had replaced Stinson’s brother, Bob Stinson, who was fired from the band in the mid-‘80s and died in 1995. Founding drummer Chris Mars quit the band in 1990, and has been concentrating on his career as an artist rather than music in the last decade. 

The Minneapolis band oozed ramshackle charm during its 1980s glory years and released several revered albums, including “Let it Be” (1984), “Tim” (1985) and “Pleased to Meet Me” (1987). But by their 1991 concert at Grant Park, they were running on fumes.  

"We were six months tired on the road, and we knew it was the end," Westerberg later told the Tribune. “Tommy and I knew it was the final performance, maybe ever. And that's a little hard to swallow. We wanted it to be magical, and when it wasn't, it was like, 'Well, that's par for the career, I guess.' When you want it to happen, it never does."

By the end, the band handed their instruments to their roadies to finish playing the encore of “Hootenanny” and exited.

As years went by, a reunion appeared less likely, even as lucrative offers poured in, including at least one from Lollapalooza. In a 2005 Tribune interview, Westerberg said, "I think Tommy wants to get together again and play. I don't know if we could call it the Replacements if it was just me and him and two other guys. I'd be a liar if I said I wouldn't enjoy the adulation. But we were always the exception to the rule when it came to the way things were done. And I'd like to see us maintain that mystique. There's the great problem of us getting back together and sucking the bag, and ruining the reputation forever. Maybe we should just sit tight and let people think we were great. We were about youth and rebellion and fun and wildness, and all the things that don't necessarily sit well as we get older. We were never big jammers or played long, slow music that would make sense to revisit now that we're all better musicians. So I wouldn't look for any reunion soon. If I dropped dead, I think that's the safest bet you could make to see all of us in one place."

Three-day tickets ($149.98 and $249.98) for Riot Fest Chicago are available at ticketfly.com.

greg@gregkot.com

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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