Replacements roadie Bill Sullivan writing '80s tour diary

The reunited Replacements are hotter now than they were in their prime. Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson -- along with hired guns Josh Freese, Dave Minehan, and, for the time being, Billie Joe Armstrong -- are now headlining major festivals throughout the United States and Canada, along with rapidly selling out Midway Stadium in what will be their largest local show (and first in 23 years) in their infamous history.

Rather than get swept up in the modern-day hoopla of the 'Mats reunion, Bill Sullivan is taking an insider's look back at when the band were at their creative (and destructive) peak. Sullivan, the co-owner of the 400 Bar with his brother Tom, began serving as an unpaid, self-described "driver/gopher" during the Replacements' East Coast tour in 1983, and he has set up a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the release of a book documenting his rowdy experiences with the 'Mats during their first U.S. tours, entitled Lemon Jail: 'Mats Tour Diary 1983-1986.

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In addition to revealing, personal glimpses into the Twin Cities music scene at the time -- documenting Sullivan's initial encounter with First Avenue's lanky janitor Slim Dunlap, or how the scene was abuzz over the Purple Rain soundtrack but not necessarily Let It Be -- Sullivan's book will take readers on the wild road with the 'Mats in the mid-'80s through both personal stories and never-before-seen photos.

Here's the origins of the book, in Bill's own words:

In 1981 at the age of 21, I was as uncool to the scene as I am now at 54, when my junior high friend Tom Carlson turned me on to The Replacements. We were working as night guards at The Walker Art Center heavily under the influence of the brilliant Tim Carr. Carton (as he became to be known) had been helping their manager, Peter Jesperson by carting gear around. I wormed my way in as a driver/gopher by cornering Westerberg and offering my services at no charge. It was an offer he could have refused. Instead, in 1983 I quit my last "real" job.

I am proposing a photo diary focusing on the east coast tour April 1983 after the release of "Stink" through the world tour for "Tim". Focusing on the original touring party of Paul, Tommy, Chris, Bob, Peter, Carton and myself.

According to Sullivan, the money donated will be used for:

I need to digitize and clean up hundreds of Photos and Negatives
I need to clean up my memory, to tell the corresponding stories.
I need to finalize a printing plan with a publisher.
I need to do this now so I can grow up. And move on to the next book.

Backers of Lemon Jail will receive a variety of cool perks based on the level of their donation, including advance/signed copies of the hardcover book, limited-edition photographs, and hand-numbered prints. Donations to Sullivan's Kickstarter campaign will be accepted through Monday, August 11.

If you find yourself caught up in the raucous wave of nostalgia surrounding the Replacements, funding this book will give you an eye-witness account of the band at the height of their musical powers.

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