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Lemon Jail: On The Road With The Replacements

June 12, 2018

Bill Sullivan

University of Minnesota Press

Lemon Jail was the name the Replacements gave their first tour van, and Bill Sullivan was the guy behind the wheel. Thanks to Bob Mehr’s probably definitive Trouble Boys we now know more about the Mats disturbed and disturbing approach to touring. Bill Sullivan fills in the dots – he was there for the best bits, that is the early gigs with the band signed to Twin Tone through to the recording of major-label Pleased To Meet Me. Most of the time it was Sullivan’s job to keep the band out of trouble: sometimes it was his job to be part of the general on-the-road mischief. This could include anything from retrieving the band’s drumkit from the crowd (thrown by the band) through to annoying headliner Tom Petty by singing lead vocals on If I Only Had A Brain.

Sullivan’s literary style is breezy and straightforward, entirely suited to the material. His upbeat tone suggests he is the only person connected with the band who has come through more more or less unscathed. Downsides: the photographs, taken by Sullivan are for the most part worse than my holiday snaps. The mini-hardback format whilst nicely done is slightly expensive for a slim 148 pages – the cheapest copy I could find in the UK came from Wordery. However given that there have only ever been three books dedicated to the Replacements I am happy to welcome a fourth.

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From → Books, Music

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