Tommy Stinson Talks GNR, Soul Asylum Album Plans
Tommy Stinson Talks GNR, Soul Asylum Album Plans

Bassist Gives Thumbs Up to Replacements-esque Bands Like Deer Tick

Count Tommy Stinson among those who can make a case for being the hardest working man in rock 'n' roll these days. The onetime enfant terrible of the Replacements is now playing bass for two bands -- Guns N' Roses and Soul Asylum -- and in late August he released his second solo album, "One Man Mutiny."

"The cool thing," Stinson tells Billboard.com, "Is I can pretty much do what I want and it all kind of works out that these are good gigs for me. I've been fortunate enough to be in this position, obviously. It's interesting; I can go from a totally collaborative thing like Guns to my own record -- which is somewhat collaborative as well, I should say -- to Soul Asylum, which is pretty much a Dave (Pirner) and Danny (Murphy) show. I get to work all angles and learn from them what I want to do -- which is collaborate more."

Stinson is currently focused on Guns N' Roses since the group is touring North America for the first time in five years. He reports that "everything is working out really good. Everyone is getting along great and having more fun than we've ever had." The shows are even starting earlier than they have before, though Stinson notes "that means we play longer." As for a follow-up to 2008's "Chinese Democracy," however, Stinson stays circumspect.
"We haven't sat down and written songs together in a long while," he says. "Hopefully that will happen early in the new year. We'll see what we come up with, and if a new album is meant to be, it'll happen."

Soul Asylum, meanwhile, has more definite plans for a new album in 2012, the group's first since 2006's "The Silver Lining." "There's some mixing going on with the last few songs," Stinson says. "It's more upbeat than the last record, for sure -- not poppy, just more upbeat, more rocking. My hope would be that it'll come out in the first or second quarter of next year."

Don't hold your breath for any renewed Replacements activity, however, though Stinson says he and Paul Westerberg "talk every now and again... I'm certain at some point we'll play together in some capacity, but not as the Replacements." He is, however, heartened to hear younger bands such as Deer Tick invoke his old group as an influence. "There's a bunch of bands that seem to be kind of fans of our stuff and drawing from that, and they're doing it in a way I think is not so... blatant," Stinson notes. "You've got to make it your own, find your own voice and go from there."

Stinson still considers "One Man Mutiny," his follow-up to 2004's "Village Gorilla Head," an active concern, meanwhile. The 10-song set offers what he considers "a bit musical palette" -- from the punky thrash of "Don't Deserve You" to the Rolling Stones-style groove of "It's a Drag," the lush pop of "Come to Hide" and the rootsy country vibe of "Zero to Stupid" -- while some of the songs date back up to 15 years. "All This Way For Nothing," Stinson says, was initially cooked up with keyboardist Dizzy Reed for GNR's consideration.

"The last record panned 10 to 15 years as well," says Stinson, who released "ONe Man Mutiny" independently. "I always go backwards a little bit when I'm going forward. I don't really have anything I need to do with this music except have fun with it. I do what I want with it. I don't have anyone breathing down my neck for a single or anything remotely close to that. I do what I want."

Stinson -- who's also active in raising funds for the Timkaetic school in Haiti -- hopes it won't take another seven years for his next solo album. But he acknowledges there's a reason his band concerns take a certain degree of priority.

"It's not like I can go out there and conquer the world, so to speak," Stinson notes. "I do it as a small thing. I'd like to think that going out and playing more often and making records more often would make me build my little empire more quickly, but I really can't subscribe from that. I need to do those other things... Also, I like to spread myself out, sometimes a little too thin. But that keeps you from over-thinking things."

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