Jim Walsh on his new Replacements coffee table book

Categories: Interview
Courtesy of the Author

To say that Minneapolis writer and musician (and City Pages vet) Jim Walsh has a special connection with the Replacements is a massive understatement. Walsh literally grew up with the band, sharing in their legendary hijinks and witnessing countless shows during their ten-year run as one of our most seminal local bands.

As the author of 2007's The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History, Jim helped cement the mythos that led to this year's Riot Fest reunion gigs, and he's back with a new coffee-table book in honor of the group, The Replacements: Waxed Up Hair and Painted Shoes: The Photographic History.

See Also: Preview the Replacements coffee table book by Jim Walsh

Walsh makes it clear off the bat that this book wasn't meant to be a cash-in on the new wave of 'Mats nostalgia in the wake of their reunion and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nomination. "This was still in the mode of archiving, I want to make sure this story is between two hard covers," he explains, "All this shit is so ephemeral, and to have it not just hyperlinks, but cardboard and stock paper, it's important."

Then again, it's tough to doubt his motives when you witness the way he talks about the band. There's a breathless admiration, and a trace of starry-eyed fanboy in his expression that tells all. After all, this band really was his life. "The Replacements fit my 20s exactly. I was 19 to 29 with them," says Walsh. "It was such a burst of expression in music, that lives, and sort of transcends the here and now."

Daniel Corrigan

Along with his editor and co-writer Dennis Pernu, Jim has crafted a truly gorgeous suite of photos of a group that's not often known for being photogenic. In fact, many have categorized the shambolic Placemats as completely un-photographable, but Waxed Up Hair captures the band from infancy to break-up, warts-and-all.

As we talk our way through Jim's favorite photographs within the book, you really get the sense that it's almost a scrapbook for him. "It's funny for me to see these things that the editor put in," he says with a laugh. "Like 'Courtesy of the Jim Walsh collection' like I have it under glass or something. I have these photos in cardboard boxes in my basement."

Greg Helgeson
One evocative shot of the band from a 1983 show in Hollywood sets the author off. "This photo of Bob and Paul is one of the greatest photos that's ever been. Look at that, it's in L.A. and their expressions say "Fuck you, L.A." right on the Sunset Strip." Indeed, the angry glare flickering over Westerberg's face, and Stinson's frown speak volumes about the band's ambivalence to the big time. Candid photos brimming with deep insight like this one litter the pages of Waxed Up Hair, and you start to realize that The Replacements are as perfect a vessel for myth-making images as any other punk icons.

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