Lex Neon on Paul Westerberg (The Replacements)

One of Lex’s main influences is the Replacements. The combination of great songwriting, angst, and rollicking garage band spirit attracted Lex to the band, specifically their leader Paul Westerberg, who has a birthday December 31.

Right now, Poppermost is in Trimordial Studio finishing up a new version of our song “Erika.” The song was originally a birthday present for a friend who worked in my favorite restaurant. I pretended to be Paul Westerberg and tried to write a song specifically for the Replacements.

I was introduced to the music of the Replacements via Clover Club Larry. The album was Pleased To Meet Me, and the song was “Alex Chilton,” a tribute to the Big Star leader. The song was infectious and captured my ears right away. It was power pop married to oblique lyrics howled by a voice soaked in whiskey and cigarettes.

I listened to the Replacements for inspiration. I even started singing aloud more often because I wanted to sound like Paul. He could sound like hell-on-wheels on rockin’ cuts like “I.O.U.” and a drunken balladeer on “Valentine.” He sounds broken and road weary in the beautiful “Skyway.” “Can’t Hardly Wait” brought back classic horn sections and strings to contemporary music.

After hearing Pleased To Meet Me, I had a sudden rush of “guts.” All of a sudden, I wanted to write for myself, and have a great band to execute the songs with “grace and balls.” The album also reminds me of having to say good-bye to my old band Below 37, and say hello to looking for other musicians to help build my songs and make them better.

Ultimately, Clover Club Larry and I would see the Replacements at the Hollywood Palladium for one of their last performances, and dance ourselves sweaty among the others in the ‘Mats frat. He’d say, while chowing down on a hot-dog from Pink’s, “It was good, but it’s not the Replacements, man. Chris the drummer and Bob the guitarist weren’t there.” Maybe so, but I finally got to see Paul!

Ultimately, I’d find inspiration in the other Replacements albums and Paul’s solo work. I’m glad Paul Westerberg is still around.

Sure, the Replacements were glorious and, like most rock bands, probably not meant to last. But there is pure, animalistic rock and roll magic in the Replacements’ music. Check out the early, punky stuff. You get to see Paul’s musical vision coming into focus.

Here’s to you, Paul. Happy birthday!

(Lex Neon is the musical mastermind behind the music of indie sunshine pop / rock band Poppermost.  For more info, go to http://www.poppermost.com/)

Note: The date listed on the album shown below is for the remastered version. The original was released July 7, 1987.

Currently listening :
Pleased to Meet Me
By The Replacements
Release date: 25 October, 1990
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~ by Poppermost on September 6, 2008.

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