The Replacements were the ultimate “could have been a contender” band.
They were one of the most beloved acts of the ’80s alternative scene thanks to their rowdy spirit, catchy melodies and lyrics that could be tender, insightful, biting and incredibly funny.
Yet whenever they had a chance to cross over to the mainstream, they managed to blow it, whether by performing drunk on “Saturday Night Live” or getting fired from a tour opening for Tom Petty. The band also had the bad timing of breaking up just before Nirvana carried alternative rock to the top of the charts.
Instead, The Replacements’ legacy lies with the bands they influenced, including The Hold Steady, whose primary songwriters, Craig Finn and Tad Kubler, grew up in the Replacements’ hometown of Minneapolis in the ’80s. Like The Replacements, The Hold Steady also writes beer-soaked songs about misfit kids, mixing humor and emotion. This week, they’ll come together as The Hold Steady serve as the opening act for The Replacements first New York appearance since 1991.
“I’m inspired by their amazing songwriting and special live shows,” Finn said of The Replacements. “But originally I was inspired that such a great rock ‘n’ roll band could exist in my hometown..”
Having just celebrated their 10th anniversary, The Hold Steady is poised to move into maturity in a way The Replacements never did. The band’s latest album, “Teeth Dreams” finds the characters in their songs tackling more adult issues.
“With ‘Teeth Dreams’ I was really interested in the idea of how anxiety and truth relate,” said Finn. “Like, if you tell the truth all the time I’m pretty sure you will have less anxiety.”