The Replacements: 2013 in review

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Photo By Erik Hess

For fans of the Replacements, 2013 provided one memorable moment after another from a band that no one was sure they would hear from ever again. The 'Mats not only released a new EP to benefit their ailing friend Slim Dunlap, they reunited for a string of thrilling shows that had dedicated fans from all over the world flocking to see them take the stage once again, and were even nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to top it all off.

There were no shortage of headlines and unforgettable occasions provided by Paul Westerberg, Tommy Stinson, and the gang throughout the past 12 months, and here we take an affectionate look back at a year that truly belonged to the Replacements.

January 2013:

Following months of rumors and wild speculation, the Replacements' Songs For Slim EP finally goes up for auction on January 15. The 250 10-inch vinyl copies of the first new material from the 'Mats in 23 years (with album artwork designed by drummer Chris Mars) ultimately raise over $100,000 to benefit guitarist Slim Dunlap, who is still recovering from a stroke.

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The excitement and overwhelming response to the EP, and Paul and Tommy's convivial recording sessions at Flowers Studio, play a part in the guys deciding to finally take to the stage together once again, and the 'Mats reunion plans slowly begin to turn from long-whispered rumors and hoped-for dreams to a genuine possibility. Little do we all know what is in store for us at this point.

February:

A series of limited-edition (and entirely awesome) 7-inches released throughout the year continue to benefit Slim's ongoing medical care. Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak even shows the former 'Mats guitarist some well-deserved love by fittingly proclaiming Valentine's Day, Thursday, February 14 to be Slim Dunlap day in the city.

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June:

The initial news that the Replacements will finally reunite at Riot Fest in Toronto, Chicago, and Denver send shockwaves throughout the Twin Cities music community and beyond. Long-time fans and younger listeners alike still can't quite believe that they will have the chance to see Paul and Tommy play together live. The announcement has dedicated fans scrambling to make travel plans to see the momentous event live, with Stinson stoking the fires of anticipation even further by appearing on stage with Wilco as they cover the Replacements' celebrated Hootenanny jam, "Color Me Impressed."

Everyone is collectively holding their breath ahead of the Riot Fest shows, hoping that the chaotic, unpredictable history of the band won't derail their first shows in 22 years. Meanwhile, the band teases out frustratingly brief (9 seconds!) rehearsal footage of them running through "Alex Chilton," ratcheting up the music world's excitement level for their forthcoming shows.

Har Mar Superstar takes advantage of everyone's intense interest in all things Replacements by causing a mild internet uproar (and duping Spin in the process) by claiming on Twitter that he was joining the 'Mats. The joke is eventually revealed to be a ruse (who would've guessed from Har Mar?!), but for a few brief moments in June plenty of people are deceived and amazed at that collaborative possibility, while proving that the 'Mats rumor mill is officially spinning wildly out of control at this point.


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