Are the Replacements Done? Paul Westerberg's T-Shirts May Hold the Answer
After waiting 22-years for a Replacements reunion that seemed all but impossible, the band's relatively brief reformation may soon be over, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
The band's long-awaited Back By Unpopular Demand reunion tour, which kicked off in April, is seemingly already done after the last European date on June 5 at the Primavera Sound festival with no further dates scheduled. Last week the band announced it would not be playing make-up dates for its canceled Pittsburgh (May 5) and Columbus, Ohio (May 6) shows; and, according to the same source, the band has no plans to return to the recording studio after several recent attempts.
While the band's management and press rep did not return Billboard's request for comment, another source said he believed the new line-up is not formally breaking-up but rather just "taking a break" two years since reforming for 2013's Riot Fest shows. He also called the break a "natural progression of things."
That may stand to reason given the current members' outside projects: Original Replacements bassist Tommy Stinson is playing the Newport Folk Festival on July 25 with a new band that includes Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi All-Stars), Frank Ferrer (Guns 'n Roses) and Catherine Popper (Ryan Adams, Grace Potter and Jack White); while drummer Josh Freese, who's played with Devo, the Vandals, a Perfect Circle and Nine Inch Nails, among many others, is an in-demand session musician.
The Replacements still have a number of projects in the works including two vinyl box sets out this summer on Rhino Records consisting of the band's Twin\Tone and Sire releases, a possible documentary, a biography and more. The band also performed several new songs on this latest tour including "Whole Foods Blues" and "Watering Can," which Paul performed solo (video above).
In the band's statement announcing its cancelation of make-up shows, the group left open the possibility that they could again play together: "We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this has caused," the statement read, "hope we can come back in the future and make it up to you."
One possible clue to the band's state of affairs--and possibly their state of mind--may lie in the letters Paul Westerberg cryptically wore on his t-shirts for this tour. On a "Paul's Shirt" Facebook page dedicated to deciphering the sartorial message, several amateur etymologists claimed the shirts' yet-unfinished message will spell out the following: "I have always loved you now I must whore myself." As cynical and/or over-the-top sarcastic as Westerberg's sentiment may be, Replacement fans just don't want it to end.
Sartorial splendor decoding. Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images