How young are you? How old am I?
Let’s count the rings, around my eyes.
The Seattle sound and style known as Grunge was forged from a drunken stew cooked up 1,650 miles east in the back rooms, bars and clubs of Minneapolis, Minnesota in the early 1980’s. In 1984, at the height of Post Punk and Collage Rock, The Replacements released their watershed album Let it Be, 11 songs exploring vanity, sexuality, and the never ending search for love by midwest, twenty something youth. Its Iconic cover photo, taken by Daniel Corrigan, shows the Mats looking like they just climbed out of bed after a heavy night of drinking and playing. They sit on the roof of the Stinson family home on Bryant Avenue decked out in T-shirts, flannel, jeans, and Converse All-Stars ready to conquer the world, and maybe throw-up over the side.
Paul Westerberg is at full throttle here cranking out 3 and 4 minute diamonds like I Will Dare, Androgynous and the highly satisfying Unsatisfied. Bob Stinson’s guitar is like a misfiring rocket, out of control, spiraling around on the ground while brother Tommy on bass and Chris Mars on drums rein it back in. We’re Coming Out, Gary’s Got a Boner and Answering Machine shine bright.
Let It Be is arguably the blueprint by which a few years later the Grunge Movement would be built on. The sound, the cloths and the ‘tude are all there. You would think before Nirvana got inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, they would recognize the band that truly created that sound. But I guess it’s like politics and the big bang theory. If you get to close to this kind of lifestyle and energy, without some support, as Bob Stinson (and later Kurt Cobain) did, you’re going to get burned. For the rest of us though, throw on some headphones, lace up your Converses and let it be.
Enjoy the fireworks!