Update: The Replacements broke up (again) on June 5.
Equal parts emotional rawness, smirk, and rock 'n' roll self-destruction, the Replacements never seemed long for this world. The influential Minneapolis music legends still managed to tear through an initial 12-year run, followed by 22 years of silence, and bookended by an ongoing reunion that began in 2012. "We still rock like murder," frontman Paul Westerberg told Rolling Stone, and reviews of the 'Mats 2.0 tended to agree. A new album, the band's first since 1990, appeared plausible as recently as April.
But it seems Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson are unsatisfied. That's if we're to believe the cryptic/spraypainted lettering seen on Westerberg's T-shirts on the Replacements' current Back By Unpopular Demand tour, which kicked off in April. Each night the wily 55-year-old has sported a shirt with different letters on either side, and the cryptographers over at the Facebook page Paul's Shirt have (almost) decoded the message: "I have always loved y ... Now I must whore my pa ..." The 'Mats only have three scheduled shows remaining, two in London and one at Portugal's massive Primavera Sound festival on June 5.[jump]
So is this another tongue-in-cheek gesture from a famously self-deprecating band? Or is Paul aligning with the cynics, admitting this new incarnation of the Replacements is a hollow, nostalgia-dollar-grabbing shell? Impossible to say, but a source tells Billboard the Replacements have no plans to return to the recording studio. The same source said the band will not be making up canceled shows in Pennsylvania and Ohio. Then again, a different source told Billboard the 'Mats are "taking a break," calling it the "natural progression of things." So who the hell knows?
We do know this much: Plans for a new Replacements documentary made in collaboration with "Oscar-winning filmmakers," plus the release of two career-spanning vinyl box sets, remain up in the air.
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