Happy Birthday to Thomas Eugene “Tommy” Stinson – born October 6, 1966!
Thomas Eugene “Tommy” Stinson is an American rock musician. He came to prominence in the 1980s as the bass guitarist for The Replacements, one of the definitive American alternative rock groups. After their breakup in 1991, Stinson formed Bash & Pop, acting as lead vocalist, guitarist and frontman. In the mid-1990s he was the singer and bassist for the rock band Perfect, and eventually joined the hard rock band Guns N’ Roses in 1998.
Stinson released his debut solo album, Village Gorilla Head in 2004 and subsequently joined Soul Asylum for the completion of their album The Silver Lining, and was a member of the band for the album’s tour in 2006 before joining them as a permanent member until 2011. He released his second solo album, critically acclaimed One Man Mutiny, on his own Done To Death Music label in 2011.
In 2016, after leaving Guns N’ Roses, Stinson reunited Bash & Pop, and is releasing an album in 2017, titled Anything Could Happen.
The Replacements (1979–1991, 2012-2015)
After beginning to learn the bass at the age of 11, Stinson began playing and covering songs with his brother, Bob Stinson, and drummer Chris Mars under the name “Dogbreath” without a singer. After recruiting singer Paul Westerberg, Dogbreath changed their name to The Impediments and played a drunken performance, without Tommy, at a church hall gig in June 1980. After being banned from the venue for disorderly behavior, they changed their name to The Replacements.
After signing to Twin/Tone Records, by label owner Peter Jesperson who also became the group’s manager, they released their debut album, Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash, in 1981 with an EP, Stink, following in 1982. The Replacements began to distance themselves from the hardcore punk scene after the release of Stink and, inspired by other rock subgenres, released their second album, Hootenanny, in April 1983. Hootenanny was played on over two hundred radio stations across the country, with critics acclaiming the album; The Village Voice‘s Robert Christgau deemed it “the most critically independent album of 1983”. The band embarked on their first tour of the U.S. in April 1983, during this time Tommy dropped out of tenth grade to join the rest of the band on tour. The band toured cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and Philadelphia, but their intended destination was New York City, where they played at Gerde’s Folk City and Maxwell’s.
For the recording of their next studio album, The Replacements decided to return to Blackberry Way Studios in late 1983 with the result being Let It Be, released in October 1984. A live album, The Shit Hits the Fans, was released in 1985.
Warner Bros. Records subsidiary Sire Records, eventually signed The Replacements with their first major-label release being the Tim album, produced by Tommy Erdelyi, released in 1985. After the release of Tim, The Replacements fired Tommy’s brother, Bob Stinson, as well as Jesperson the same year. The remaining Replacements carried on as a trio for Pleased to Meet Me, released in 1987, recorded in Memphis with producer Jim Dickinson. Guitarist Slim Dunlap took over lead guitar duties for the subsequent tour and soon became a full member of the band.
They released Don’t Tell a Soul, in 1989, which featured the song “I’ll Be You”, which topped Billboard’s Modern Rock chart. Following a disastrous tour opening for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Westerberg recorded a new album largely with session musicians but was persuaded to release it as a Replacements album. All Shook Down, released in 1990, won critical praise and more mainstream attention, though the many guest players and Mars’s quick departure from the band following the album’s release led many to wonder about the band’s future.
Drummer Steve Foley was recruited as Mars’s replacement in 1990, and the band embarked on a long farewell tour which lasted into the summer of 1991. On July 4, 1991, the band officially broke up following a Taste of Chicago performance in Grant Park, referred to by fans as “It Ain’t Over ‘Til the Fat Roadie Plays” because each member disappeared during the set, their respective roadies taking their places. This show was broadcast by Chicago radio station WXRT.
In December 2005, he reunited with his surviving Replacements band mates Paul Westerberg and original drummer Chris Mars to record two new songs for a greatest-hits collection. Stinson further collaborated with Westerberg on the soundtrack to the Sony feature film Open Season, recording bass tracks for ‘Love You in the Fall’ and ‘Right to Arm Bears’.
On September 20, 2012, Stinson and Westerberg recorded “Busted Up” as part of the “Songs For Slim” vinyl series. The project was created to raise money for guitarist Slim Dunlap after he suffered a massive stroke in February 2012. They recorded three additional songs, released as the “Songs For Slim EP”, the band’s first release of all newly recorded music since “All Shook Down”. A subsequent eBay auction of a special edition 10″ version of the EP, limited to 250, raised over $106,000 for Slim’s care.
The band reunited in 2013 to play their first live show in 22 years at Riot Fest in Chicago. Former Guns N’ Roses bandmate Josh Freese joined Stinson as part of The Replacements for the tour. After a tour that lasted through 2015, the Replacements broke up again, with Stinson stating that any material written would be reworked for his solo career.