Monday, April 21, 2008

Leave well enough alone

They were the cautionary tale, the beautiful losers whose songs of youthful pathos and wasted potential gave birth to the "alternative nation."

The Replacements. Possibly the greatest band that nobody's heard of ... or at least the band that nobody's heard enough of. Fueled by alcohol and hopelessness, these Minnesota rockers knew no middle ground, living by the old Neil Young mantra, "It's better to burn out than to fade away."

And they surely burned out. But not before leaving the world with some of the most haunting hard rock ballads ever written. Their first, at best, effort "Let it Be," along with a short catalogue of earlier albums is set for "deluxe edition" remastering by Rhino Records. And while this is a record that absolutely everyone should own (along with several major label releases that are set for the same treatment later this year) "Let It Be" is the pinnacle.

But with such attention come the rumours of a reunion. And that would be a horrible mistake. With only two of the four members still in music - song writer Paul Westerberg and wunderkind bassist Tommy Stinson - The Replacements have long been given offers to reunite.

This was a band beloved for being a drunken mess - either brilliant or wasted - it's something that cannot be recaptured. It would taint a legacy that's fine just the way it is. So go and buy the record and do like so many before have done ... Imagine how great these guys could've been.