Tommy Stinson Talks New Bash & Pop Music, Replacements Reunion & Return of Axl Rose: 'I've Never Seen Him Look Better'
Stinson has regrouped Bash & Pop, the band he formed in 1992 after the Replacements broke up and led until 1994, releasing one album. A new Bash & Pop record is in the can and due in January, with plans to play some shows later this year as well as next. "It's a band kind of record; that's why I decided to call it Bash & Pop," Stinson, who recorded the yet-untitled 12-song set at his home studio in Hudson, N.Y., tells Billboard. "We recorded everything as live as I could. I was missing that vibe with my last couple of solo records, so I really tried to hunker down and capture a moment, and I realized I was doing it with a really good band. So rather than call it Tommy Stinson, why not call it Bash & Pop?"
Stinson is previewing some of the songs this summer on the road with Cowboys in the Campfire, a duo he formed with his uncle-by-marriage Chip "Sippy Fly" Roberts. The two have talked about touring together for awhile, and the anything-goes shows give Stinson plenty of options each time the group plays -- including brand-new songs made up on the spot. "I can play everything from my catalog," says Stinson, whose Southern Dandies Tour has shows booked until Aug. 21. "It's low overhead, so it's been quite profitable as well as fun. We're working hard, and it's worked out pretty good. I haven't toured in a year due to some personal issues back home, and I need to work. It's my job. It's what I do. It feels good to get back to work."
Stinson has also been keeping tabs on his most recent former band and is enjoying the success of the Guns N' Roses reunion. He bears no ill will toward GN'R's reunion with founding members Slash and Duff McKagan; McKagan, in fact, subbed for Stinson during 2014 when the Replacements reunion schedule conflicted with GN'R shows in South America. "It was a really good run for me with them and I've seen two of those shows since and saw everyone and made peace with it," Stinson says. "It's part of my life that is over, and I couldn't be more thankful for it. It was a great run. I made money and they kept me out there doing stuff. A lot of my friends are still in that band, and I'm glad for them."
Stinson is particularly happy for frontman Axl Rose, whom he feels is benefiting greatly from both the GN'R reunion and his recent stint with AC/DC. "I think it was really super important for Axl to get the [GN'R reunion] going on and put some stuff behind him that I think has been sitting inside him," Stinson says. "I think something has happened to him and it's completely f---ing awesome and it makes me really happy. I've known the guy for almost 20 years now; I've never seen him look better. He sounds better than ever. He's a completely different guy. I couldn't be happier for him."
So with AC/DC bassist Cliff Williams planning to retire after the group's current Rock or Bust Tour, maybe Rose and Stinson could work together again, if the singer continues with that band too. "How f---in' fun would that be?!" Stinson says with a laugh. "I can't even imagine that. That would be pretty f---in' funny if he called me up and asked me to check it out. It'd be funny as sh-- to go out and tour wtih Axl without all the baggage that was part of Guns N' Roses, y'know?"
The Replacements, meanwhile, remains done for good after co-founder Paul Westerberg pronounced the June 5, 2015, show in Portugal the group's last one ever. "Y'know, we did our thing," Stinson says. "We got up there and made a lot of people happy, and it was fun. I think we overstayed our welcome a little bit, possibly, considering we weren't making a record or anything like that. Without new music, I don't think you want to drag something like that out too long. I know for me, personally, I get bored playing the same stuff all the time. There's got to be an artistic change for me, so I'm just looking forward to what I'm doing now, and in the future."