By JIM CATALANO | Published September 26, 2017 on ithacajournal.com
Tommy Stinson has some unfinished business in Ithaca.
In May 2016, the ex-Replacements bassist came to the Haunt for an impromptu show — it literally was booked with less than 24 hours’ notice after a gig elsewhere fell through. But about halfway through what was becoming a great show, Stinson lost his voice and had to leave the stage for about 30 minutes. While he rallied for an encore, he wasn’t quite able to recapture the momentum of the first part of show.
Luckily, Stinson is on the road again, and Monday night he’ll bring a new version of his band Bash & Pop to the Haunt. Actually, it’s the same band — guitarist Steve Selvidge, bassist Justin Perkins and drummer Joe Sirois — as he performed with last year (minus the keyboardist), but Stinson decided to bring back the Bash & Pop moniker after releasing a great new album titled “Anything Could Happen” under that name earlier this year.
Not surprisingly, some of the songs sound like long-lost Replacements songs — and indeed, they were intended for a reunion record that never came to fruition. But Stinson doesn’t shy away from the comparisons.
“After growing up in that band, I’d be hard pressed to sound completely different unless I started making disco records,” he said in a phone interview over the weekend. “All of our stuff is gonna end up sounding somewhat like the Replacements.”
After playing bass in the Replacements and then, for 18 years, with Guns N’ Roses, Stinson is enjoying leading his own band. But he likes just about anything to do with playing music.
“It all is fun to me,” he said. “I like being a frontman, I like playing bass, just about all of it. I think my next thing will be trying to play drums with somebody, and give that a shot!”
He especially excited about the current lineup of Bash & Pop, including Selvidge, who formerly played with the Hold Steady.
“He’s one of those guys I don’t ever see myself playing without again,” Stinson said. “He’s super solid and understands me and gets the dynamic and understands the music without me having to tell him much. So it’s a good fit for me.”
“Anything Could Happen” is only the second Bash & Pop album. The first, “Friday Night is Killing Me,” came out in 1993; it was recently re-released by Omnivore Records as a double album that included a bunch of rare outtakes.
Those songs still comprise good chunk of the band’s live set.
“I think they hold up,” he said. “I play the songs live, and people seem to really like them still. It’s one of those things — it was kind of a critically acclaimed record, and the people who bought it, there weren’t a lot of returns on it. So I think it holds up pretty well.”
After touring huge stadiums with Guns N’ Roses and large venues with the Replacements during their reunion tour a few years ago, Stinson, who lives in Hudson, N.Y., is back to playing smaller venues. But he’s OK with that.
“I like it all,” he said. “I’m pretty cool with whatever comes my way. I like small clubs; in fact, I like playing house parties the best right now. Those are really fun. That’s a whole different thing — it’s real intimate because you’re not playing with a bunch of amplifiers. It’s kind of stripped down in its concept — it’s really great.”
Stinson, who turns 51 next week, has been making music since he joined Replacements as a 13-year-old. Nearly 40 years later, he’s remarkably unjaded despite the many ups and downs of his career, and he’s still enthusiastic about playing music
“It’s a good gig to have if you can make a living at it,” he said. “Lucky for me, I’m still able to do that.”