The Replacements’ “Shit Hits The Fans”

You know, it’s funny. I was recently reminded of an incident involving The Replacements when I first moved to Atlanta. My office was part of a print shop just north of Buckhead and the two fellas who owned the shop were from the band Fiddlehead. They’d often bristle at jams I’d play. Joy Division, The Plugz, Rezillos, Neutral Milk Hotel, Wire. The list of bands that annoyed them was staggeringly long considering they were both musicians and people that considered themselves music fans.

However, I remember playing "Let It Be" by the Replacements and getting the repeated jabs of "Why are you playing this bar band shit?" and "Can these hacks learn to play?" I guess you had to know these guys, but they would’ve never grown tired of Drive Like Jehu playing 24/7. Not that I mind Jehu, but that’s not the point. Math rock dominated Atlanta back then. Or at least it did in the group of people I first encountered.

That was 1997, but in 2009, I’ll be goddamned if I’ll endure listening to somebody spout off about how much they hate the Replacements. Ironically, I’ve heard that repeated attempts to get the band to reunite have been halted due to Tommy Stinson’s involvement with Guns’N’Roses which has to be the worst fucking bit of pathos I’ve ever heard.

“Primo” ‘Mats circa ’85?

Back in the late 80’s, though, finding out anything about the Replacements in southcentral Pennsylvania was next to impossible. Zines never showed up. College radio was pathetic. No venues. Nothing. So it always ended up with me going to Philly, DC, NYC or Baltimore to find anything that couldn’t be purchased at Tower Records.

I had heard of a tape-only release called "Shit Hits The Fans" that piqued my interest. The tapes origin were especially dubious. Taken (as in SEIZED!) from a concert goer at a show in Oklahoma, the tape was immediately released by Twin/Tone in an edition of 10,000. This release is more infamous than famous, and is claimed to be a snapshot of prime-train-wreck-era Replacements on tour in ’84. See the set list here.

I remember when I finally found my copy very well. In 1988, I’d driven to the Allentown/Bethlehem area to see The Ramones and went to the only decent record store in the vicinity. As I often did, I went looking through the cassette tapes to see if they had a copy of "Shit Hits The Fans." And as luck had it, I found a copy for $8!

I think I made it 20 minutes into the drive home before I took the tape out of the car stereo…

The tape cover…..

Until I discovered my copy (I’m guessing it was at the store Brian Turner worked at), I thought the tape was a red herring. And when I finally discovered it, I was massively disappointed.

Since then, I’ve uncovered a handful of STELLAR Replacements bootlegs. I think my favorite is from them performing at Club Lingerie in Los Angeles on, what I’m guessing, was the same tour that "Fans" was recorded. Now THAT was a recording worthy of being officially released.

A vinyl transfer of the tape is included with this posting. I’ve gotta say, though, I enjoy this recording a helluva lot more now than I did back in the late 80’s. I think I was expecting more showmanship, but at the time, I didn’t realize that wasn’t the band’s strong suit.

Please note that “Mr. Smog” ran the ‘Mats fanclub!

The Replacements – The Shit Hits The Fans (side A)

The Replacements – The Shit Hits The Fans (side B)