“We are the sons of no one, bastards of young.”
It’s 1986 and you’re at the rock club Maxwell’s in Hoboken, N.J.—in its prime. The year before, parts of the music video for Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” were filmed there. A few years later, Nirvana graces the stage supporting their debut album Bleach. If this sounds at all familiar to you (or by chance, if you were there) you probably had no idea that in the approaching millennium, Justin Timberlake would film parts of a commercial at Maxwell’s, and most things that you knew and loved in Gen X would become XXX commodified. By that time, The Replacements would be famous.
Today’s new live version of “Bastards of Young” is from a forthcoming album For Sale: Live at Maxwell’s 1986, due out Oct. 6 via Rhino. The magic of The Replacements, at least from a historical perspective, is that they sprinkled internal drama with self-sabotage and show screw-ups, ensuring an authentic distance from the mainstream (they were announced as one of the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees, but they were not inducted). Their music bridged the gap of punk rock and what came to be known as alt rock by infusing catchier lyrics and triumphant musicality—a little bit of pop.
Bob Mehr wrote a biography about the band’s history and why it took so damn long for everyone else to catch on. It’s called Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements. And it’s reminiscent of so many other rock bands in small-town scenes or otherwise who are truly great, yet fail to seal that record deal, or don’t make enough money to tour because they spent it on alcohol. Those who fall off the wagon or the stairway to stardom.
According to Mehr’s book, it’s actually, “Wait on the sons of no one, the bastards of young.” No more hippie idealism, no more Gen X darkness. Left to our own devices in 2017, we are scrambling for reasons why we’re sad and why we still need rock music like this. A live album from some old club in New Jersey has never been more relevant.
Listen to the new live version of “Bastards of Young” here, and a Daytrotter Session from The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson below.