The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting by Jim Walsh
It's incredibly tempting to allow this review to devolve into a shortlist of my favorite personal recollections about the Replacements. In fact, the only thing holding me back is the knowledge that everybody latches onto the same things about the Replacements, and has the same sorts of insights.
I know this for a fact because I wrote an essay about them in college, before all those Replacements essays and personal narratives were easily available on the internet. I wrote the thing in a freakin' vacuum, and although it was judged good, and published in this compilation of the year's best essays written at my school and I still think it has some nice stuff in it, it sounds exactly like every other essay that has ever been written about the Replacements.
Walsh's book, however, does not. Sure, there's a healthy sprinkling of stories from people whose big brothers and sisters passed down their 'Mats mix tapes, and people who saw a show or two; however, most of the book's interviews come from folks who were there, who knew the band, and who helped them along on the way up. It's a Twin Cities townie kind of book, and Walsh's interviews soak up that mid-80s so uncool it's cool Midwestern indie rock vibe that never really ended.
Words from Paul, Tommy, and clearly, Bob, are clipped from previously published interviews; however, there are plenty of good bits from Chris Mars and Slim Dunlap, both of whom come across as thoughtful, diplomatic, stand-up guys. Others interviewed extensively for the book include Twin/Tone founders Peter Jesperson and Paul Stark, Soul Asylum guitarist and founder Danny Murphy, band friends and family members, and Alex Chilton, who is, oddly enough, pleasant as punch and talkative, to boot.
Does the whole story get told? Of course not. It probably never will be, but All Over But the Shouting is just about everything a fan could ask of an unauthorized Replacements book. Besides, a girl's gotta have some mystery.