..in some quarters fans are trying to shore up the Replacements' position by talking about influence. Nirvana are often mentioned, which makes some sense at first because they played loud rock and Kurt Cobain had a scratchy voice. The Replacements even had a song called "Nevermind". But the comparison doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
Why mention Nirvana at all? The Replacements influenced everyone after, just each differently. With Nirvana. maybe it was attitude: the cover of Nevermind, and not the word 'Nevermind,' for instance, proves Replacements influence: Only the 'Mats would visually refer to someone as uncool as Joe Walsh. The 'we don't care' pose Nirvana used (to sell their excellently written pop songs via a major label and stay cool -- c'mon now - it was Geffen made it go over) comes directly from the 'Mats. Cobain's tendency to walk over the drum kit, or miss notes, or do dumb covers, or wear a dress, not shave, play naked -- all 'Mats.
Certainly, "Come As You Are" was written with the 'Mats' "Go" in mind. See for yourself:
And then, Mr. Richardson, you really bite the shit sandwhich by writing this:
Cobain was enamored of capital-a Art and all its pretensions; he thought of himself as a feminist and obsessed over childhood. Westerberg thought "art" was short for "Arthur" and the values in his songs were traditional.
Cobain was enamored with heroin.
As for Westerbereg's traditional values - huh? "Androgynous"? "I Bought a Headache"? "Shootin' Dirty Pool"? "Left of the Dial"? even "Date to Church"?) Westerberg was traditional sometimes, sure; like mid-westerners, he what he was when he thought what he thought. As for Westerberg's obsession over childhood, it was as strong as Cobain's, if not stronger: "Sixteen Blue," "Fuck School," "The Ledge," "Talent Show," "Kids Don't Follow," "Bastards of Young," "Tommy gets His Tonsils Out." The 'Mats had a child in the band; Tommy was 12 or 13 around the time of their debut.
Bands that really need the Replacements: The Hold Steady. The Posies. The Paybacks. The Duke Spirit. Sebadoh. Superchunk. Ladyhawk. The New Pornographers. The Strokes. Ted Leo. The Hives. Jens Lekman. Art Brut.
Mr. Richardson, I think you own maybe All Shook Down, which is really Westerturd's first solo rekkid, Don't Tell a Soul, and maybe Tim, which you bought in college in 2001.
Maybe Cobain and Westerberg share their strongest bond in failure: Cobain was a junkie, and Westerberg a drunk, only taking different paths when one cleaned up and the other killed himself. But sometimes, when I listen to Westerberg's solo work (save one Grandpaboy album, Mono, whichis pretty good), I can't decide which was the bigger loss.