Despite the collective will of fans waiting with bated breath for a reunion, the book on the Replacements has likely closed with Rhino's recent round of deluxe reissues, according to former bassist Tommy Stinson.
Stinson tells Billboard that on the heels of the reissues, the best material has now been cleared from the Replacements vault, including live recordings, which may scotch longstanding rumors of a live album.
"It's not on the table," he says of that project. "I don't think we've got the quality takes. I think the best live record we could make is to gather up all the bootlegs, put them together and make it on our own. Those would actually make more sense."
The Replacements fan community went into overdrive last October when it was revealed that Stinson and Replacements frontman Paul Westeberg, who split up in 1991, had spent a couple of days jamming in Minneapolis. The group continues to receive lucrative offers to reunite, including a six-figure enticement to play the Coachella festival, and the rehearsal was seen by some as a tentative first step toward that goal.
But Stinson, who has been the bass player in Guns N' Roses since the late 1990s, says there've been no developments since, and that he is unsure whether a reunion will ever happen. "You know what? I just don't know if we have it in us," he says. "We've played together and we have things to offer each other. But I think ultimately it's like, why would we do it? The question comes up every time. Why would we do it? Well, they'll pay us really great. Is that the reason to go do it or not? I don't know.
"I think Paul probably struggles with it more than I, because I haven't played those songs in 20 years," he continues. "He has. To me, it sounds more of a fun idea to get up and play those songs again. Not for the money, but hey, it would be fun. Let's go do it. I don't think he's got in him, to be honest with you."
Asked if using the Replacements' name was an impediment, Stinson replied, "You know, we talked about that. But I've got people I like to play with (laughs hard). And I love Paul, but you don't really go start a new band with a guy you've already had a band with which was fairly successful."
That said, Stinson enjoyed combing through odds and ends to locate bonus tracks for the reissues. "There were some really great songs that were actually really surprising, as rough as they were," he says, singling out "Photo" on the "Pleased To Meet Me" reissue. "I totally didn't even know that song was a Replacements song. A friend of mine played it for me at his apartment and goes, don't you recognize that? It was like a 20th generation cassette dub, so it was really sped up. And I was like, wow, that's f*ckin' us! I think it's a great little song. It has a little funk to it."
Stinson also says he was particularly happy when he went back and listened to early material featuring his late brother Bob on guitar. "The real special stuff is the early stuff with Bob in the picture," he says. "There's some really good guitar playing, and you can hear he and Paul playing off each other a whole lot."
Last but not least, Stinson says Guns N' Roses is hoping to tour this year in support of its new album, "Chinese Democracy," but dates have yet to be announced.