Tommy Stinson wasn't old enough to drive—wasn't even as tall as his amp—when he was in the van with the Replacements, the hard-drinkin'-est rock & roll band in the business, and that's sort of a tough way to start a musical career. Sure, the Replacements were great, but at what human cost? And if boy-genius Paul Westerberg came out of the breakup wreckage flopping, well, what chance would baby Tommy have? Well, turned out the kid was kind of a scrapper. His 1993 band Bash & Pop took critical dents as a disappointing lite version of an already considerably litened last-days Replacements, who'd finally softened and collapsed in '91. But going back and re-listening to Bash and Pop isn't so painful: songs like "One More Time" are lively reflections of prime Replacements, and let's forgive Friends-theme-song-style rave-downs like "Hang-Up" for "Nothing" (which hides a real sad song under too-clean production) and "Fast & Hard," which kind of underlined his whole career with the line "I played as fast as I could/You heard it slow." By 1998, he'd got his stripes in Guns N' Roses, but that's one of those last-refuge-of-a-scoundrel gigs that doesn't really get anyone anywhere, and baby Tommy slides now into the 21st century behind buddy Paul (who made up for his own solo missteps with new iconic status on powerful indie Vagrant) with a weathered-round-the-edges solo effort of his own. Village Gorilla Head—which trades on the same Stones-y rock & roll as usual, plus some weirdness (uh, trip-hop, we're told?)—came out last year to mixed reviews, but that's not too bad. Tommy was hating music at 12 years old in the Westerberg basement, and for all the stuff he's done since, he's still young—he's got a lot of second chances left for him.
ALSO:CLUBPÉPELEPUE:Long Beach hip-hop characters—from labels Eighth & Dawson and fashion co./label three point five, from groups like Blown Celeb; solid and excellent people to a man—spin breaks/beats/etc. at Que Sera. Last time we sent an agent, it was very underattended. Go fix that.
TOMMY STINSON WITH BOBOT ADRENALINE AND TRUCKER UP AT ALEX'S BAR, 2913 E. ANAHEIM ST., LONG BEACH, (562) 434-8292; WWW.ALEXSBAR.COM. SAT. CALL FOR SHOW TIME. $10. 21+; CLUB PÉPE LE PUE AT QUE SERA, 1923 E. SEVENTH ST., LONG BEACH, (562) 599-6170; WWW.THEQUESERA.COM OR WWW.BLOWNCELEBS.COM. SAT., 10 P.M. $3. 21+.