herman, set the Wayback Machine to 1983. We’re visiting Bogart’s in Cincinnati, Ohio, where young publicity manager Brian Baker is witnessing the second area appearance of R.E.M., which he’s vigorously advertised for a net result of just over 300 attendees. Local Art Pop provocateurs Junta have just finished, and the stage is taken by The Replacements, a last-minute addition via R.E.M.’s booking agent.
The Replacements’ alcoholic tendencies are unknown to the club’s general manager when said agent demands payment for the additional act, inspiring the GM to respond, “I don’t see their name on my contract ... they’ll get free beer.” It’s a serious miscalculation; the already hammered band pours their free beer into R.E.M.’s stage monitors.
The Replacements’ 16-year-old bassist Tommy Stinson angrily storms off mid-set. Baker immediately heads backstage, where Stinson has retreated to the production office, ordering band manager Peter Jesperson to have Stinson’s mother wire money for a plane ticket, because he’s quitting. Jesperson persuades him to reconsider. Stinson emerges into the hallway where Baker is standing, the two exchange brief greetings, then Stinson clarifies for anyone within earshot, “I’m still not playing with those fuckers tonight.”
"Holy shit, I met you on that fateful evening?” Stinson says, laughing huskily from a South Carolina tour stop with Guns N’ Roses, his current bass gig. “Oh, dude, it’s all coming back to me now.”
Guns N' Roses perform Friday at U.S. Bank Arena. Go here to read Brian Baker's full interview with Stinson.