Part of what made The Replacements famous – at least on their cult hero level – was their infamous mischievousness (perhaps to put it kindly) behavior. Around the time they were finishing up their Warner Brothers album, Don’t Tell A Soul, they took off with a whole bunch of tapes of their Paisley Park recording sessions.
Never happy with Soul’s “official” sound, the band has excavated these old tapes and had them mixed by Soul’s producer Matt Wallace the way that they wanted to have them sound. The result is Dead Man’s Pop. This 4-CD set, which Rhino will release on September 27, contains this remixed, reimagined album (Don’t Tell A Soul Redux), coupled with a disc containing previously unheard tracks (We Know The Night: Rare & Unreleased), and two CDs featuring a full concert from 1989 (The Complete Inconcerated Live).
The 20 tracks on We Know The Night: Rare & Unreleased include nine previously unreleased demos from the aborted June 1988 Soul sessions that Paul Westerberg, Slim Dunlap, Tommy Stinson and Chris Mars did with producer Tony Berg at Bearsville Studios. There also are some rare and/or unreleased demos, outtakes, alternative mixes and alternative outtakes, but this disc’s highlights are the five tracks (four songs) that the Replacements recorded with Tom Waits (insert “Can’t Hardly Waits” joke here).
Discs 3-4 hold the group’s complete June 2, 1989 concert at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee done during the “Don’t Tell A Soul” tour. If you are one of the lucky few to have the ‘Mats’ 1989 promo-only Inconcerated Live EP, then you have a heard five of these live recordings. For everyone else, the show’s 29 performances (which have been freshly mixed by Brian Kehew) will be a new listening experience.
In fact, 58 of the 60 tracks here are being heard (at least in an authorized, public sense) for the first time. Additionally, this boxset comes with a 12 x 12 hardcover book – complete with rare photos – detailing the Replacements’ Don’t Tell A Soul-era history, which was written by Bob Mehr, the author of The New York Times bestseller Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements. Mehr also co-produced Dead Man’s Pop with Rhino’s Jason Jones.
If this isn’t enough – and it’s certainly is a true treasure trove – the first 500 fans who buy Dead Man’s Pop on Rhino.com will also receive a 14-track cassette (yes, very 1989) that compiles key tracks from the box set along with two additional unreleased tracks: the outtake “Asking Me Lies” and an instrumental of “I Won’t” (Bearsville Version). The cassette also features Don’t Tell A Soul’s original, unused cover art.