Session drummer extraordinaire Josh Freese will be behind the kit alongside Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson when the Replacements reunite later this month. In addition, guitarist Dave Minehan will replace the late Bob Stinson in the lineup. The news was first reported by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and confirmed by several Billboard sources.
As previously reported, the iconic Minneapolis group will play their first shows since 1991 at all three installments of Riot Fest, set for Aug. 24-25 in Toronto, Sept. 13-15 in Chicago and Sept. 21-22 in Denver.
Freese has a long collaborative history with Westerberg, having played with him on and off since the latter's first post-Replacements solo tour in 1992. More importantly, Freese played drums on the two new Replacements songs included on the 2006 retrospective "Don't You Know Who I Think I Was." At the time, that was the first new music Westerberg and Stinson had released under the Replacements' name since the band's breakup.
Presently, Freese is drumming with the band Sublime With Rome, who have been on tour in North America all summer. That group is also on the bill for the Chicago edition of Riot Fest, meaning Freese will be pulling double-duty with them and the Replacements.
As for Minehan, he played on Westerberg's classic solo album "14 Songs" and has logged time with the band the Neighborhoods.
Late last year, Westerberg and Stinson teamed with Westerberg touring guitarist Kevin Bowe and drummer Peter Anderson to record a six-song EP to benefit one-time Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap, who is recovering from a severe stroke. "Songs for Slim" was released in March and reportedly raised more than $100,000 for the cause.
At present, it is unclear whether the reunion will eventually yield additional dates or studio recordings, but one source tells Billboard that for the moment, no other activity is being planned.