Based on all-new interviews and including 72 rare photos, Trouble Boys: The True Story of The Replacements is the definitive biography of one of the last great rock 'n' roll bands of the twentieth century. Written with the participation of the group's key members, including reclusive singer-songwriter Paul Westerberg, bassist Tommy Stinson, and the family of late guitarist Bob Stinson, Trouble Boys is a deeply intimate and nuanced portrait, exposing the primal factors and forces of addiction, abuse, and fear that would shape one of the most brilliant and notoriously self-destructive groups of all time.
Based on a decade of research and reporting, hundreds of interviews (with family, friends, managers, producers, and musical colleagues), as well as full access to the Replacements' archives at Twin/Tone and Warner Bros. Records, author Bob Mehr has fashioned something far more compelling than a conventional band bio.
Beginning with riveting revelations about the band members' troubled early years which were scarred by alcoholism and mental health issues. Trouble Boys tracks the group as they rise within the early '80s American underground and chronicles the making of classic LPs like Sorry Ma, Forgot to Take Out the Trash, and Let It Be.
Signing to Warner's Sire Records, the Replacements became one of the first indie bands to make the transition to the major label world, winning converts thanks to Westerberg's rapidly maturing songwriting on records like Tim and Pleased to Meet Me.
Mehr uncovers the darker truths behind the band's legendary drinking, showing how their addictions first came to define them and then nearly destroyed them. He offers an in-depth exploration of the life and tragic death of founding member Bob Stinson, who was fired from the group and later passed away at the age of thirty-five. By the end of their twelve-year run in 1991, the band's tightly held bonds had frayed as drummer Chris Mars was fired and Westerberg's depression, drinking, and desire to go solo became all-consuming. The band's break-up came in front of 20,000 people onstage at Chicago's Grant Park as they ceremoniously handed off their instruments to their road crew and disappeared, seemingly for good.
Trouble Boys then traces Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson's subsequent efforts to find careers of their own, and it reveals the Replacements' impact and influence on successive generations of artists from the Flaming Lips to the Pixies, Nirvana to Green Day, the Wallflowers to Wilco. The book also offers a behind-the-scenes look at the Replacements' triumphant 2013-2015 reunion, which saw them selling out stadiums, reclaiming their legacy, and re-establishing the complicated brotherhood between Westerberg and Stinson.
A roaring rock 'n' roll adventure, a heartrending family drama, and a cautionary showbiz tale,Trouble Boys is a penetrating work of biography and a major addition to the rock book canon.
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“Bob Mehr's raucous, ribald, and oft-times harrowing book takes us behind the scenes, to the bottom of the bottle, all the way to the end of the road, and then further still revealing the story of the Replacements, a band that gave away its soul on every record and refused to sell its soul to a corporate world. Robert Gordon, author of Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul Explosion and Can't Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters
“The destruction. The volume. The cruelty. The charm. The songs. The songs. The songs. To live close to Paul Westerberg's material was to be lifted and then bent by it. The songs were that good. Mehr shows us that no one, Westerberg included, knew quite what to do with it all. It was underrated, overrated, obsessed over, ignored, and never anything in the middle. But somewhere between the Replacements' path of destruction, epic but ultimately empty, and the beauty and honesty of Westerberg's writing, there was a band, a band whose story has for too long remained unknown and unknowable. This book gets us closer than we've ever been. Mehr brings us one of the great American rock n' roll stories and all the hurt that came with it. Warren Zanes, author of Petty: The Biography and Revolutions in Sound: Warner Bros. Records The First Fifty Years
“The Replacements spent a decade of their lives making some of the most emotive rock music never to hit the mainstream. Bob Mehr has spent a decade of his life researching their story. Balancing a fan's enthusiasm with journalistic perspective, he now delivers it in richly detailed and powerfully unvarnished form. Finally, the Mats get the book they deserve. Tony Fletcher, author of Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend and A Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths
“Bob Mehr has given us a book, a real book, that will draw you in whether or not you give a fig about rock n' roll or any world but your own. Nick Tosches, author of Hellfire: The Jerry Lee Lewis Story and Dino: Living High in the Dirty Business of Dreams