Tommy Stinson has been busy over the last decade or so: He has played reunion shows with the Replacements, toured and recorded with Guns ‘N Roses and Soul Asylum, and released both a solo album and a new Bash & Pop disc.
When he finally had some free time during the summer last year, he hit the road with Chip Roberts, his ex-wife’s uncle who’s collaborated with Stinson over the last ten years and helped write material for Stinson’s 2011 solo album, One Man Mutiny and Bash & Pop’s first album in almost 25 years, Anything Could Happen, which was released earlier this year.
Stinson and Roberts call their duo Cowboys in the Campfire, and they’re touring in a car with a couple of guitars, amps and a songbook that includes some Bash & Pop material and some of Stinson’s solo material that Roberts helped write. While Stinson has played his share of stadiums and large clubs, the duo is hitting much smaller venues this time around, like Bruz Beers, in Denver, on Friday, November 17.
“It’s intimate,” Stinson says. “It’s cool. People seem to really like it. We certainly like it. It’s simpler. It’s sort of like when you spent years doing something like Guns ‘N Roses, where you’re playing stadiums and arenas, and then you do Replacements stuff where you’re playing either big clubs or amphitheaters or whatever. Then you got Bash & Pop that plays big clubs. It’s kind of nice to just have an acoustic guitar in your hand, a buddy playing guitar, and strip it way the fuck down. And it’s been really fun that way.”
Stinson says he’s got some time off after the Cowboys in the Campfire tour finishes at the end of November, and he and Roberts plan to record an album of the duo’s material. He says he might add some other instruments to make it more interesting.
“I think a whole record of just two guys could get kind of boring,” Stinson says. “So, I like to switch it up and throw a bass and some percussion and stuff in there, and background vocals. Stuff like that.”
The Cowboys in the Campfire disc should be a welcome addition to Stinson’s fairly extensive discography that includes eight albums with the Replacements, which he joined before he was old enough to drive. Stinson was only fourteen when Sorry Ma, I Forgot to Take out the Trash was released in 1981.
Stinson, who turned 51 in October, says he was sucking in high school while playing in the Replacements; his mom didn’t mind him taking off school and going on the road with the band.
“I kind of just went to my mom and said, ‘Hey, You know, I’m really not doing so well in school anyway. Maybe I should go tour and try this out for a job,’ and she was cool with that,” Stinson says.
While the Replacements reunited in 2012 after an eleven-year break and played shows until 2015, Stinson says he and the band’s frontman Paul Westerberg never really shut the door on the Replacements.
“We just kind of close it out of necessity once in a while,” Stinson says. “We’re not the most consistently minded people on the planet, so once in a while we got to just take a few steps back. It could take years.”