Concert preview: Tommy Stinson at Used Kids



Former Replacement takes it down a notch for acoustic in-store performance

There is a fair argument that the only bands worth a damn are the Rolling Stones and the Replacements. I can see the point, and I’m not going to disagree. Hence the excitement at catching the latter’s former teenage bass player Tommy Stinson at my neighborhood record store.

Stinson has long since carved out a post-Mats career for himself with the likes of little bands like Guns N’ Roses and Soul Asylum, as well as his own gigs with Bash & Pop and as a solo artist. This time around, he is touring as Cowboys in the Campfire with fellow guitarist Chip Roberts. These shows have traditionally been low-key affairs, skipping the club scene for everything from record stores and cafes to the South Philly Van Club and a Texas ranch normally reserved for weddings. That approach hints at how rock ‘n’ roll you can expect it to get. It is two dudes well over 40, Stinson playing acoustic and Roberts playing electric, casually traipsing through the sort of songs you write with friends while sitting around a literal campfire: warm, convivial, maybe even a little sappy, but a hell of a lot of fun. (Don’t miss it).

Used Kids Records
7 p.m. Monday, March 26
2500 Summit St., North Campus

Keith Spera’s Sound Check: Bela Fleck, Jeezy, Tommy Stinson and more music for March 15-21, 2018

Tommy Stinson & Chip Roberts’ Cowboys in the Campfire

10 p.m. Friday, Siberia Lounge (2227 St. Claude Ave.), tickets at the door

Tommy Stinson earned his rock ‘n’ roll bona fides as the bassist in the Replacements, the scrappy Minneapolis quartet that blazed a boozy trail in the ‘80s as a garage band with a finely honed pop sense. He also served a stint as bassist and musical director for Guns ‘N Roses, before singer Axl Rose reunited with original bassist Duff McKagan. On New Year’s Eve, Stinson joined Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, the E Street Band’s Steven Van Zandt and Blondie’s Clem Burke for an all-star version of the Replacements’ “Color Me Impressed” at a bar in Manhattan. Stinson is far less loud in his country-minded acoustic collaboration with guitarist Chip Roberts, a project they call Cowboys in the Campfire. They’ll hold court at Siberia on Friday.

Ex-Replacements guitarist Tommy Stinson brings Cowboys in the Campfire project to Park Ave CDs

Photo By: Devvon Simpson
Firebrand garage punk Tommy Stinson – he of both Replacements AND Guns N’ Roses ill-repute – rolled through the City Beautiful last year with his culty early-’90s project Bash & Pop, amply proving that he had lost none of the grit that made him such a unique figure in the American alternative rock landscape. Something about Orlando must have agreed with him, because he’s coming through town again almost a year later with his Cowboys in the Campfire duo with Chip Roberts. It’s the polar opposite of GNR’s stadium bloat or the reunion nostalgia circuit: a beyond low-key romp through record stores, gallery spaces and sundry nonconventional venues, where Stinson and Roberts will casually workshop new songs from a forthcoming album. This is one of two Florida shows, and you get to shop for records before and after the music. Let’s ramble, ramblers.

9 p.m. Tuesday, March 13 | Park Ave CDs, 2916 Corrine Drive | 407-447-7275 | | $15-$17

Tommy Stinsons Cowboys In The Campfire @ School Kids Records – March 6th 2018


By Dan Kulpa

Replacements Bassist Tommy Stinson has been on quite a roll since the band called it a day in 1991. He formed the band Bash & Pop, spent time in the short-lived, hidden gem of a band, Perfect, played bass with Guns ‘N Roses and Soul Asylum, released a pair of solo albums, and even joined Paul Westerberg in 2014 for a run of reunion shows with the Replacements. After stepping away from Guns ‘N Roses in 2016, Stinson revived Bash & Pop and released the critically acclaimed album, Anything Can Happen. Rather than follow all that up with a well-deserved extended break, Stinson hopped in the car with Chip Roberts, his ex-wife’s uncle and musical collaborator over the last ten years, to play a series of intimate shows as a stripped-down duo. Billing themselves as Cowboys in the Campfire, Stinson and Roberts have been hitting small, often non-traditional venues, including a recent stop at School Kids Records in Raleigh NC.

The current run of Cowboys In The Campfire shows have been hit with some weather-related cancellations due to a late season winter storm that covered the North East in snow, so Stinson and Roberts were as eager for the show as the dedicated fans that braved the cold rainy night in Raleigh. Prior to taking the stage, the duo milled around chatting with friends and fans… You don’t get more intimate than that! As the lights dimmed, Stinson and Roberts made their way to the stage with little fanfare. After the first song, Tommy reminded the room that they were not experiencing a standard show with a barrier and security, and he urged everyone to move up and get close and personal.

Over the course of the next hour, Cowboys in the Campfire played some emotional acoustic versions of songs culled primarily from Stinson’s solo album One Man Mutiny, that Roberts had a hand in writing, as well as some Bash & Pop material. The duo were engaging, funny, and entertaining as Hell. They chatted and joked with each other and their fans between songs, and even in the middle of a song or two. The evening’s performance was a solid mix of songs and stories that ultimately made for a fun night out with a pair of talented and laid-back musicians.

Very rarely do music fans have the opportunity to catch a musician of Tommy Stinson’s stature in such a small and intimate setting. Do yourself a favor and seek out the Cowboys in the Campfire tour, and if the duo is coming to your town make an effort to catch the show… You won’t be sorry.