Music Monday: The Replacements (Part 2)

bumbershoot mats 01Part of me doesn’t know where to begin. In a way I’m still processing the event. The Replacements got back together and performed live. I was excited when they recorded a couple of new songs a few years ago, but to see them live? Well, I thought it would never happen. Yet there I was, front and not quite center.

Laura knew how much seeing the band meant to me and got me a 3 day pass to Bumbershoot for Father’s Day. I wasn’t able to travel to see the band at their earlier gigs and would not be able to see them perform their hometown Minneapolis show, so this was the next best thing, and it was a great present.

bumbershoot mats 02I centered my entire day at Bumbershoot around the mainstage and the second of three bands performing that day. I went and got my shirt, checked on the crowd situation, etc. A couple of hours before The Replacements took the stage I was at another location and got sort of freaked out and ditched the act I was going to see in order to have the opportunity to get up front for The Replacements. As it was I was up front, but off to the side, further than I had hoped. This picture of the setlist I took from and it seems more accurate than another picture of a set list floating around out there.

The band came out and just started playing fan favorite songs one after another. Well, with a band such as The Replacements almost any song they would play would be a fan favorite.

Seriously though, some of these songs are ones I wanted to hear live. “I’ll Be You” and “Left Of The Dial” are two of my favorite Replacements songs.

The videos and pictures in this post of the band are all mine that I took using my phone.

bumbershoot mats 06A couple of times Tommy complained the band was not as tight as it should be because they were playing while the sun was still up. “We’re a bar band!”

I do wish I had been able to get video of the band playing “Androgynous” because it was a singular experience with forgotten (purposefully?) lyrics and a dropped (definitely not on purpose) microphone.

A couple of songs I would have liked to have heard the band play included “Customer” which I doubt they ever will play live again and “Message To The Boys” or “Pool & Dive” which were the new songs the band recorded a few years ago. “Merry Go Round” would have been nice as well as a certain song off of the first album that would be obvious if you have been paying attention to this blog’s musical proclivities.

Packing a set list with wishes and personal favorites would seem almost to be against what The Replacements stood for. The legendary randomness of the set lists the band would offer up when it was a regular live touring band is one of the things they are most famous for.

I was glad to be up front since the crowd, as predicted, was mostly older and less prone to be as rowdy as at other concerts. I didn’t get crushed against the barrier and since I wasn’t a few people back I wasn’t jostled around much allowing for some pretty steady(ish) video footage.

bumbershoot mats 04

bumbershoot mats 05





At the end of the concert Paul got off stage and was going to sing facing the audience while in front of the stage but the feedback wasn’t going to allow for this to happen. He instead of getting back on stage immediately simply turned the microphone around and the band proceeded to play “Left Of The Dial.”

This was a concert I never thought I’d get to see.

Alright, so Bob isn’t with us any more. Slim is too ill, and Chris walked away. It’s not the original line-up. Chris’ replacement Steve could be considered a band member, but wasn’t asked back when the new recordings took place. That was Josh Freese behind the kit. On second guitar this time around is Dave Minehan, whom I know nothing about, but he seems to know all the words to the songs (more so than Paul).

bumbershoot mats 07Much in the way this post started, I don’t necessarily know how to end it. As the show ended I was on a high, as was most of the audience. It didn’t last long as I rushed off to see another band on another stage.

Thank you Paul, Tommy, Josh and Dave.






Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Taking Care Of Yourself – A Bad Example

Monday morning I emailed my doctor. Something was going on that worried me and I wanted to set up an appointment. Thing is, because I’m the stay at home parent child care is an issue and if there were tests to be done I wanted to make sure arrangements were made. I wasn’t prepared for the phone call that would come telling me to go to urgent care.

I protested, asking if I could simply come in the next day and have whatever tests done that were necessary. Did I need to not eat for a certain period of time? I was alright with that, I just wanted to be efficient about time. No, I needed to go to urgent care. I was sure it would be a waste of time, but Laura insisted I go, get seen, then take care of whatever needed to be done the next day. I relented. My friend Stephen drove me down and dropped me off at urgent care.

Time of admission: 6:02 P.M. – and I wouldn’t get home for another 41 hours.

Continue reading

Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Music Monday: The Replacements (Part 1)

I don’t remember when it was that I was introduced to The Replacements. What strikes me is odd was how my best friend didn’t introduce me to the band at all. He hailed from Minneapolis and introduced me to Husker Du and The Ramones (along with a bunch of other musical stuff), but it was MTV that served up  my first dose of Paul, Tommy, Chris and Bob through the “Bastards Of Young” music video.

While I was introduced to the band it wasn’t until later that I became a fan. Sort of too late. With 1989’s release of Don’t Tell A Soul I found myself wanting more from the band other than just what I heard on the radio. Yes, I heard the band on the radio. There was a great station in California, KSPB, that would in between The Cure and Siouxsie And The Banshees play the odd “punk rock” song (pre-approved, of course – the only song by he Dead Milkmen that was allowed was “Punk Rock Girl”).

Of course the band’s “hit” would stand out during this time. The lyrics really spoke to me and where I was in my place in life then. I don’t know why then I didn’t explore The Replacements more. For the longest time I only had Don’t Tell A Soul, the 1982 EP Stink, then after a while I picked up the first album Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash.

1989 was the first opportunity for me to see the band, and I passed it up. While I enjoyed what I had, would consider myself a fan, I didn’t really have any interest in seeing the band open for Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers. I wasn’t paying enough attention and didmn’t see the writing on the wall. I don’t remember what prevented me from seeing The Replacements the next time they came to town. Work schedule or maybe my own band was playing out of town then, whatever. I took it for granted The Replacements would be back around.

But they weren’t. Even the 1990 album All Shook Down was pretty much a Paul Westerberg solo album (though it wouldn’t be the strangest). The Replacements were done. All over but the drinking.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or something of the sort, and that’s what happened. Over the ensuing decade, mostly my 20s, I would come to appreciate more and more who The Replacements were. Paul Westerberg’s songwriting was full of longing in various forms. When channeled through The Replacements filter, regardless of “genre” the band performed, it wasn’t just a guy singing about his feelings, the songs took on something more. Listen to “Don’t Ask Why” from Sorry Ma then “Kiss Me On The Bus” from Tim.

“Don’t Ask Why”

“Kiss Me On The Bus”

It wasn’t just relationships. Listen to the longing “Left Of The Dial” (also from Tim) evokes. It’s one of my all-time favorite Replacements songs.

“Left Of The Dial”

As my 20s became my 30s I really grew to appreciate some of the more subtle songs the band released. There were times when I needed the unadulterated cathartic release of “Stuck In The Middle” and other times when something like “Merry Go Round” is the only thing that will scratch a particular itch with its heartbreaking lyrics.

Over the decades I came to appreciate The Replacements more and more. As I entered my 40s the youthful anger of the early records didn’t hold as much sway as the later ones. Not to say that I didn’t listen to them. Different songs for different moods. But always with a similar background of internal pain and conflict.

And so The Replacements became one of my favorite bands. I had missed the chance to ever see them, becoming a fan too late and squandering the one time I did have. Then a few years back they almost reformed. 2006 saw the release of Don’t You Know Who I Think I Was? This compilation of career spanning “hits” included two new songs. Chris Mars isn’t drumming any more, but new material under The Replacements name with Paul and Tommy working together. This was almost too good to be true.

“Message To The Boys”

Would they tour? No.

This tease only fueled my love for the band and what could have been.

But they would tour. It would take a few years but The Replacements would get back together, sort of. But it was The Replacements. And I would get to see the band, but that is a story for a different time.







Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Phamily Foto Phriday 9-12-14

I know it’s been a while. The start of the school year and the baby, well, it’s thrown us all for a bit of a loop. The main reason for this is Tevye. Here he is from just a couple of days ago. He’s 4 months old now.


This past weekend we were eating dinner outside and Ciárán absentmindedly picked up a second piece of watermelon and continued to eat, double-fisted.


Finally here is Ciárán again. First grade is just underway and already there is improvement with his reading. He was coming right along during Kindergarten and could sound out words as well as recognize most (if not all) of the 100 sight words. Anyway, he’s reading more and more and here he is reading a comic book. Actually reading it, not just looking at the pictures and catching the plot from there.



Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Music Monday: Bumbershoot (Part 4 – Monday)

[NOTE: Yes, I am aware it is not Monday. I had intended these four parts of my 2014 Bumbershoot overview to be posted on a single Monday, but life has a funny way of getting in the way sometimes.]

Monday got off to a little bit of a late start. Part of this was due to being out so late on Sunday. Part of this was due to Kyle. His work schedule had him getting up late. I had to wake him up in order to get going. This day I would take him to Bumbershoot. In years past when he was the only child Laura and I would take Kyle to Bumbershoot for the whole weekend, so it was nice to be able to revisit this in a way.

bumbershoot 2014 sun 01 The Mexican Institute Of Sound was the first band that day I saw I enjoyed, and I enjoyed the heck out of them. Well, I use the term loosely, as it’s the project of Mexican DJ Camilo Lara. Live he had a drummer and bass player with him while he worked samples. This was great dance music that got the crowd moving. I want to see more from him/them.

A few other acts I saw just didn’t move me, which is unfortunate. That’s how Bumbershoot goes. Fortunately one of the best surprises of the whole festival took place on Monday.

I mentioned in a previous post how additional (free) tickets were required for the three comedy stages. The way the schedule worked out I had time to see The Improvised Shakespeare Company before the two musical acts I wanted to see in the evening. And there was no line for tickets. And there were some left. So I got one.

bumbershoot 2014 sun 02The premise for the troupe is to perform an improvised one act play in the style of Shakespeare based on an audience suggestion. When asking the audience for suggestions a lot of people started shouting. I raised my hand. The guy taking suggestions pointed at me and I said (loudly enough for him to hear) “The Bucket Of Shrimp” to which one of the troupe members visibly winced. I knew I had a winner.

What followed was a riotous tale of a diminutive Spanish prince going to war against France. It was easily one of the funniest things I had seen in a long time. I don’t remember when I laughed so hard or that much in an hour’s time. If you ever have the chance to see The Improvised Shakespeare Company do so.

bumbershoot 2014 sun 03It was time to go see Jonathan Richman. The New York based musician might be more famous for fronting The Modern Lovers than his solo work, but I was actually more familiar with some of his solo songs, though not as familiar with him as a whole as I would like. Bumbershoot provided an excellent opportunity for me to explore further whether or not I want to delve deeper into Jonathan Richman’s music. And I can say now that I do.

What I really liked about his performance, besides its unbridled positivity, was how unencumbered he was. With just him on acoustic guitar and a drummer he didn’t let the fact he had a song to sing stop him from stepping away from the microphone to dance. Actually, quite often he put down his guitar and shimmied around. I’ll have a separate Music Monday post about him in the future.

bumbershoot 2014 sun 04Finally The Reverent Horton Heat. This, too, will be a band that will be the subject of a Music Monday post in the future. I managed to get right up front and, well, it was “The Rev” which may not be saying much, but if you’re familiar at all with the band you’ll understand. This was pure rockabilly inspired rock and roll and a good time. It may not be for everybody but for me it was a great way to end the festival.

Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Music Monday: Bumbershoot (Part 3 – Sunday)

[NOTE: Yes, I am aware it is not Monday. I had intended these four parts of my 2014 Bumbershoot overview to be posted on a single Monday, but life has a funny way of getting in the way sometimes.]

Sunday was THE DAY! This was the day that was the whole purpose of my Father’s Day gift. It was to be the day I finally got to see The Replacements.

I had come home early the night before. Well, early by Bumbershoot standards. Earlier than I had planned. But I felt good about it. I was well rested. I got up, helped around the house, did a bunch of cutting stuff out for Laura’s Kindergarten class, then it was off to Bumbershoot. I got there pretty early and decided to check out some comedy as there wasn’t a band I wanted to see immediately (after checking the main stage which wasn’t filling up just yet).

The way comedy was working this year was similar to how the main stage operated several years ago. Go to a kiosk, get a ticket, then get in line for the specific performance. Comedy is hitting another renaissance these days and three stages were devoted to it this year at Bumbershoot. The line for (free) tickets to the comedy stages was long. The performance I was going to see would start in 20 minutes and I figured I might miss it by standing in the line so I went directly to the venue and got in the standby line. A few minutes later the ticket holders went in followed by the standby people, myself included.

Sadly, that was the best part of the whole thing. The comedy act just wasn’t as funny as it should have been. Yes, I chuckled a few times, but it just didn’t deliver the laughs. Oh well. Hit and miss.

I then went back to the main stage and picked up a Replacements shirt. Since I had in interest in the afternoon main stage act I ventured back out again. This time I hit up another beer garden. Yes, I would be drinking my way through Bumbershoot today. Free of pretty much any responsibility I took the opportunity to really enjoy the day. I think the total number of beers I had thoughout the whole of the day was 6 between 1pm and 10pm, so it’s not like I overdid it or anything.

bumbershoot 2014 sat 01Charlie Musselwhite is a blues performer, a singer and harmonica player and has been around for as long as I have been alive. Seriously. His first album was released the year I was born. He put on a fantastic show, a powerhouse performance and really did the blues proud. I had heard a few of his songs before and without Bumbershoot would more than likely never seen him live.

After this it was a choice of Luscious Jackson or Negativeland. There were more middle-aged white people at Bumbershoot this day than on Saturday which had a massive influx of teenagers. Sitting around waiting for Luscious Jackson to start and I got antsy. Real antsy. I wanted to be up front for The Replacements. Just before Luscious Jackson was about to start I left. I would have liked to have caught both Negativeland and Luscious Jackson but the overwhelming urge to be up front for The Replacements wouldn’t let go.

bumbershoot 2014 sat 02And it was a good thing I left when I did. The crowd was already sizeable and while I did get up front it wasn’t quite the “in front” position I had hoped for. I could have gotten more in the middle in front of the stage but didn’t want to get caught up in the throngs of people with an unpredictable behavior pattern. At least the barrier would offer some protection.

How were The Replacements? It was almost everything I could hope for. I will of course be writing more about the band and this set in the near future.

bumbershoot 2014 sat 03Immediately after The Replacements I ran off to see Mission Of Burma, A short lived but influential band that broke up in 1982 then regrouped about 10 years ago. They are making music today that is just as challenging as when they were first together. I really enjoyed seeing and becoming reacquainted with the band.

Then I went to see Big Star and was unmoved. A lot of people talk about this band (even The Replacements have a song “Alex Chilton” about the band’s singer/guitar player) reverently and whenever I’ve heard something on the radio or whatever it just never moved me. Maybe live would be different.


Try as I might I just can’t get into Big Star.

The Dismemberment Plan are a band that I heard good things about but never got into. This was another case of Bumbershoot facilitating a musical experience I never would have otherwise had. The band is good, but not something I have any desire to see again.

But the night would end on a high note.

bumbershoot 2014 sat 04Bootsy Collins with his Rubber Band funked the crowd up and down. He may be famously known for his work with James Brown and George Clinton (and Parliment/Funkadelic) but on his own he is a massive powerhouse of funk that should not be trifled with. I will have Bootsy as the subject of his own Music Monday post as well at some point in the future. Suffice to say that not only did Bootsy show up but Caspar The Funky Ghost as well. It was well after the allotted time for the plug to be pulled that Bootsy left the stage (including wandering into the crowd) and I caught a taxi home.

What an excellent father’s day present. Thank you.

Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Music Monday: Bumbershoot 2014 (Part 2 – Saturday)

So I posted about my entire weekend at Bumbershoot 2014 as viewed through my twitter stream, but that was not the whole story. The 3 day pass was a Father’s Day present. I wasn’t able to travel to see The Replacements (more on that in a later post) but the band was a featured headliner at the local festival and Laura knew how much I wanted to see the band. So I went to Bumbershoot all 3 days for the first time in a long time.

Saturday I took August and Déla – Laura and I used to take Kyle all the time and it would be fun to share the experience with them. Déla was free so I just needed to get a ticket for August. I would have taken Ciárán but he wouldn’t have enjoyed it.

The first thing we did when we got there was to check out some craft booths and get lunch. The falafel stand had a short line so that was our lunch. We then went to see a theater performance of storytelling by The Moonshine Revival Tent. The collective’s entry to the festival was titled Alligators & Debutantes, featuring two “tall tales” enhanced by some music and singing, but the emphasis was on the outrageous stories themselves.  I found a posting of the second story in an audio file.

Déla didn’t enjoy it as much as August or I, and afterwards we started wandering around eventually ending up at the main stage where Panic At The Disco were performing. Here the tables were turned as Déla enjoyed them while August and I didn’t. And the band’s cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” left me with a bad taste in my mouth because it fell short. It was a very normal cover but not nearly as dynamic as the original.

I was glad we had brought our umbrella as we needed it. It rained and got a bit chilly. The three of us were glad to have our coats, especially later as the evening wore on.

After this we went to check out the visual arts, of which there were a few really good offerings. In years past there would be, from what I remember, not a lot of great stuff to look at, though art is a very subjective medium.

dela and artA few of the installations really captured our attention. Finger Power by LETS Collective was one we not only spent time on but went back to. Then there was Interstitial Theatre’s light and sand project which we spent more time with than planned. A few others were decent and of course a few we just didn’t like. Still, I was rather pleased with the visual arts offering. In years past we would blow through that whole section of Bumbershoot in 15 minutes. This time we spent nearly two hours around the visual art.

Dinner was next followed by the main attraction. Pun intended.

We made our way to the main stage a little early because I wanted to make sure we had decent seats. I liked the way the main stage was set up this year in the stadium with two stages. That’s another topic though. So we’re sitting in our seats, a decent vantage point for Elvis Costello when he comes out and we’re listening to Shelby Earl perform on the second stage. It was a decent experience to be able to share that with my kids. Sort of what in my mind Bumbershoot was all about. Seeing somebody you wanted to see, experiencing some other stuff and discovering things you didn’t expect.

elvis costelloElvis Costello came out and performed a great set of material spanning his entire career. His band The Imposters was tight, but unfortunately the sound wasn’t as good as it should have been. The stadium really did his set a disservice, and I know the sound could have been better (and it was for everything else seen at that venue).

Laura picked up August and Déla as I was going to stay for Mavis Staples. I tried to get into a comedy show to pass the time until she came on but it was full. I then stumbled upon The Both, the project of Aimee Mann and Ted Leo. I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable it was.

Sadly I left after The Both and before Mavis Staples. I knew the next day would be a long one and I wanted to get some sleep. Besides, in the morning before heading down I would be helping Laura cut out a bunch of stuff for her classroom and didn’t want to be tired while holding scissors.

Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Music Monday: Bumbershoot (Part 1)

Last weekend I was given tickets to attend Bumbershoot as my Father’s Day gift. I had a great time and was able to take August and Dela on Saturday then Kyle and I went on Monday. Sunday was all me, and it was fantastic. I have a lot to write about, as well as a couple of months worth of Music Monday posts as a result. I wanted to start this series off with my twitter stream doing a sort of (admittedly incomplete) overview about the whole weekend.




Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Many Kids?

“Are they all yours?”

“As far as you know!”

I had  all five of the younger kids in tow after school. We were picking up Ciárán’s new glasses which had taken much longer to arrive than scheduled. I had hoped they would be ready before the school year started to avoid having to take all the kids, but there are things you can’t control, and the timing of his glasses arriving was among those.

Entering the location where Ciárán had his eyewear prescription filled one of the receptionists looked at us and gave the above query. My response to her made her laugh and I thought that was to be the end of it.


She made another remark about how many kids there are and I replied that I didn’t even have all my children with me. She was visibly surprised and asked how many I had.


“How did that happen?”

I paused.

“When a man and a woman really like each other…”

She stopped talking after that. The other receptionist was laughing the whole time.


Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Back To The Routine

It’s been an interesting transition back to the school year schedule. I don’t want to say it has been smooth, but it certainly hasn’t been difficult.

xavier sep 2014One of the biggest adjustments is having Xavier in afternoon preschool. Notice I put this above working around a 3 month old infant. I’ll get to that in a bit. No, Xavier’s new schedule has been a challenge because at the age of 4 his sense of time is still not fully developed. He is used to going to preschool in the morning, after breakfast and being dropped off with everybody else, then coming home and having lunch. Now he comes home after dropping off his siblings at school (well, not by himself, I’m the one taking everybody out the door) then has to wait until after lunch to go to preschool. This was confusing to him as the school year started but he is getting the hang of it now.

In the mornings after dropping off Ciárán, Déla and August I take Xavier and Tevye on whatever errands need to happen. I try to time things for Tevye to get in a morning nap. Laura leaves for work about 7 in the morning so by the time we head out to drop the kids off at school he’s ready for some sleep. If I don’t have errands to run I’ll strap him to me and he’ll fall asleep. I’ll just keep him there and let him sleep like that for a couple of hours if need be. If there are errands to run the stroller is used to get the kids to school then Tevye stays in the stoller or transfers into the bucket for the car seat and he’ll begin to nap that way.

The trick, really, is how to keep his nap from being interrupted.

After lunch I take Xavier to preschool and we try to make it so that it’s not a rushed affair. His preschool starts at noon, which means he really does need to start eating about 11:15 or so. Getting a 4 year old ready while taking care of an infant is not always an easy task under the best of circumstances.

Overall it’s been a pretty good transition back into the school year. The older 3 make their lunches the night before, which helps the mornings not be as rushed. They were all eager to be at school and seen to be settling into their new classrooms and grades well.

Here’s to an exciting and fruitful (relatively stress free) start of the new school year.

Posted in Blog, Monk's Blog | Tagged , | Leave a comment