Never Aim To Please – Bash & Pop (1993)

Posted: July 3, 2014 in 1993
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The only real positive benefit for fans when a great band breaks up is often times the members splinter off and form their own bands or become solo artists. You now have exponentially more music to discover and listen to. In the case of The Replacements, Paul Westerberg continued as one of my favorites with his solo releases, plus as his musical alter-ego, Grandpaboy. Tommy Stinson, who was the real spark plug and energy of the ‘Mats, formed a couple short-lived bands, Bash & Pop and Perfect. Fortunately, his post-Replacements bands left behind some catchy, guitar-driven rock tracks in their wake before Tommy went on to join Guns ‘N Roses and Soul Asylum as bass player.

“Never Aim To Please” is the first track on Bash & Pop’s lone release Friday Night Is Killing Me. Right off the bat, Stinson and Company give you the best of what the band  has to offer — straight-forward, Stones-influenced guitar-riff rock with Stinson’s take-me-as-I-am attitude and lyrics. After so many years playing together with master songwriter and wordsmith Westerberg, Tommy naturally picks up and creates his own style of lyrical cleverness which is present throughout the entire 1993 release. Steve Foley, who replaced original drummer Chris Mars on the last ‘Mats tour, does a great job of lying down a tight back beat on drums.

I have heard it said before, if you look up the definition of rock-n-roll in the dictionary, a picture of Tommy Stinson will be there. I would have to agree and “Never Aim to Please” is one of the reasons why. Stinson also released a couple strong solo efforts in 2004 (Village Gorilla Head)  and 2011 (One Man Mutiny) which showcase his growth as a songwriter, musician and vocalist. Also be sure to check out the great session work Stinson and drummer  Josh Freese provided as rhythm section ‘hired guns’ for alternative band MOTH on their 2002 release Provisions, Fiction and Gear.

Interestingly (or maybe not), I had the opportunity to open up for Bash & Pop when they came through Cleveland on tour in 1992 prior to their debut release. I played drums for an alternative band NOTHING LIKE VAUDEVILLE and we played and hosted several Musicians Nights at Flash’s Concert Club, which was a popular venue and has since been torn down. The Club Manager asked us to open for some national acts, so we played on same bill as Tool in their very early days, plus Course of Empire, a cool band out of Dallas, TX featuring two drummers. When we were asked to open for Bash & Pop, it was decided by our lead guitarist/songwriter that musically it was not a good fit and declined the offer.  He was probably right the audience would have watched us with their heads tilted sideways in wonderment, but that was not uncommon for our band anyways. Turning it down was mind-boggling since the ‘Mats were a huge influence on me. I always joked with my former band mate that I could never forgive him.

 

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