A rock casualty waiting to happen, former Replacements guitarist Bob Stinson had nine lives: He survived deadly drug binges, chronic alcoholism, suicidal depressions and even an untreated tooth infection that poisoned his blood. Cruelly, Stinson OD'ed alone in his Minneapolis apartment last week, full of hope that treatment for manic-depression was going to finally turn his life around. He was 35. The child of a broken alcoholic home, Stinson quit school in ninth grade and started the Replacements with his 11-year-old brother Tommy on bass in 1978. The 'Mats went on to become a seminal postpunk band — a bunch of hooligans who captured how shitty, pathetic and mad Reagan-era youth felt with a series of brilliant albums like Tim and live shows legendary for their flying-beer-bottles anarchy. And, boy, could Bob wear a dress. Stinson was the lovable screwup to Paul Westerberg's working-class brainiac until the 'Mats dumped him in 1986, citing out-of-control drug use and mood swings. Later, hundreds of fans at a show in Detroit wore cardboard masks of Bob's face in protest. They knew he was the soul of the band; without him the chemistry was gone. Stinson's post-Replacements life was a downward spiral marked by unemployment, rehab, divorce and a series of bad bar bands like the Bleeding Hearts and Dog 994. As Stinson once joked to an interviewer, “Some things are too broken to fix.”
Stinson's spirit lives on in exiled Pavement drummer Gary Young, whose inspired lunacy stapled a soul to his band's cryptic artiness. Samples was devastated to inadvertently miss Young open for Sebadoh at the Fillmore last week. Young seemed upset, too: He stood at the top of the entranceway stairs, hands rubbing his bare beer belly, glassy eyes fixing latecomers with a hurt stare that said, “Hey, you missed my show!” A friend reports that Young asked the audience, “Am I insane? Am I insane?” Probably not — our money is on Von Lmo, who traveled all the way from the planet Strazar to play the Kilowatt. Looking like the extraterrestrial bastard child of Roy Orbison and Elvis Herselvis, Von Lmo kept up a steady wall of ear-splitting noise, thanks to backup band Monoshock and a power drill he later stuck in his ear. As his head morphed into a green space alien on the overhead video screen, Von Lmo chanted, “We're not CRA-zy! We're not CRA-zy!” Whatever you say.
Shoot 'Em Up
With Digable Planets and Spearhead playing the Fillmore Saturday, and the “Best of the Underground” tour at the DNA Sunday, what started out as a fantasy weekend for hiphop fans ended with a gunshot blast. On Mon, Feb. 20, the Sound Factory was packed to the gills for the Notorious BIG (aka Biggie Smalls), whose Ready to Die is being hailed as the greatest thing since sliced bread by many B-boys. S.F.'s own Pirate DJs provided the dope beats and Smalls was all that as he ran through smashes like “Juicy.” Maybe BIG got the crowd too frantic, because as people were leaving the venue, a shot rang out inside the club, causing mass confusion as people ducked and scrambled for the exits. In light of recent SoMa club crackdowns, this unfortunate incident provides ammunition for detractors of hiphop who want to ban live shows and close nightclubs. Ironically, Smalls sings in “Big Poppa”: “… please don't shoot up the place/ 'Cause I see some ladies tonight that should be having my baby, baby.”
Sia Michel, Eric Arnold