The Replacements were great at many things, but music videos were not one of them. But can you blame them? For an 80s punk rock band with no money and only a modest cult following that also had no money, making music videos was not a priority. They couldn’t even perform their own songs live half of the time, let alone stand in one place to film a video.
Their only notable music video might be “Bastards Of Young”, but it’s not as profound as some might suggest and it had a lukewarm reception on TV. How different do you think history would be if MTV picked up a good Replacements video and broadcasted it to the masses? It’s strange to think that this band, with plenty of incredible music already under its belt, existed in the golden age of MTV and still couldn’t make it big. Some will say that The Replacements actively avoided fame by making bad videos, but this theory doesn’t work because they would eventually sign with a major label with an intent of gaining more money and resources to somehow “make it big”. It’s fun to talk about the ‘Mats in how sloppy they were back when being a sloppy indie back was endearing, but a sloppy mainstream band trying to act professional is just sad.
I bring up Replacements music videos because I recently came across one that I didn’t know existed, and what is hilarious to watch in 2015 must have been horrifying to watch in 1990.
Yes, the same band that gave us “Unsatisfied” is now hanging out in a claymation world playing banjos and trying to play it off as cool. Oy.
Some context: “When It Began” is off The ‘Mat’s final album, 1990’s All Shook Down, though this was not the same band that made Let It Be or Tim. Bob Stinson was already long gone for his alcohol abuse, so the giant void he left inspired (or forced) Westerberg to write different songs that would make his new shiny major label happy. Defenders will say that he was growing up, but haters will say that he was over the hill.
I belong to the former; I really enjoy All Shook Down for what it is (it’s the best Paul Westerberg solo album he never made), and I think he was sick of playing the same loud fast music that he was known for. Bob was gone, and this was a different band.
This video has charm now because time has allowed us to look back at old memories and laugh, but imagine if you were coming of age in 1990 and this was your first taste of The Replacements. You’d probably think they sucked.
Funny how some things work out.