Monday, April 21, 2008

Peter Jesperson: The Teenage Kicks interview (Part Three)

In the third and final part of the interview, Peter talks about the reissues of The Replacements’ four Twin Tone albums, due out tomorrow (Tuesday, April 22).

Teenage Kicks: Is there a democratic process that takes place for guys in the band to say “yea” or “nay” to the bonus material or are you selecting the bonus tracks?

Peter Jesperson: I select the bonus material and I put it all on the table and then I pass it to Tommy and he listens to it. Once he’s listened to it and I get a sense of what he thinks, then he’ll pass it on to Paul and I’ll pass it on to Chris.

TK: Has the process been easy or difficult?

PJ: It’s been very easy. I think the only problem is that it doesn’t always happen as quickly as I’d like it to, and partly that’s because I take such a long time and put so much thought into selecting the tracks, and maybe I take weeks doing it, then I hand it over to Tommy and I want to hear back the next day. Just because I’m impatient and partly because I’m always pushing the deadlines that Rhino is setting. I feel bad and I’m trying to speed it up because I feel I’m responsible for slowing it down in the first place.

TK: With the abundance of recorded material you’re reviewing, will there be more or will this be the end of cleaning out the vaults from this period?

PJ: Before we ever got involved in getting serious about this, we all agreed it would happen someday but we didn’t know when that would be. Westerberg said something like “I already feel like I don’t want to be scraping the bottom of the barrel to put out sub-standard stuff. I’m going to be really critical of what we pick.” And I think that knowing that in advance and also wanting to preserve and uphold the legacy as best I can, I selected the things I thought were truly great, worthwhile tracks. There’s only been a couple of things that have been axed, so I think I’ve made pretty good choices hopefully. I think there’s a lot of other interesting stuff, but I don’t think there’s necessarily whole tracks that are interesting. It’s like wow, this is a brilliant chorus, or this performance is ¾ great but then it’s fucked up and it’s nothing you’d want to share with the public. It wouldn’t be fair to the band. So essentially we’re picking the very best of what wasn’t on these records and you’ll see from the track listings that there was tons of extra stuff for Sorry Ma, not very much from Stink (that was a one day recording) and there’s a little more for Hootenanny and then again there’s a very finite amount for Let It Be. Then when you get later in the game, with the Sire records, there was tons of extra songs for Pleased To Meet Me, but the other ones don’t have lots of extra material. Part of that was because later in their career, Westerberg started to get a little more paranoid and erased a lot of things as well. Basically, I think that this will be it for the studio stuff for the most part, but I think there will be a live collection, we’re talking about down the road maybe a live box of some kind. And, of course, that is a lot less finite, because they played so many shows and so many of them were bootlegged.

TK: Will there ever be a wide release of The Shit Hits the Fans?

PJ: We’ve talked about it. I think that Rhino wanted to do that as a stand-alone CD and our feeling, me and the band, felt like it was sort of a for-fun thing and we didn’t feel like it stood up to being [a standard release]. I think we did 10,000 cassettes and that was more than we intended. That got manufactured during the time we were traveling so much. I remember being on the road, calling back to Twin/Tone just to check in and Westerberg saying, “Hey, ask them how many of The Shit Hits the Fans have sold.” Dave Ayers might have answered the phone and said “We’ve made 10,000 now.” And I said to Westerberg “10,000” and he said “Oh my god, stop! I thought it was gonna be 500. We can’t make any more.” So I think we stopped at 10,000 and it was really supposed to be a limited edition, a final thing on the Twin Tone label as the band was signing to Sire. Our feeling is, maybe we do, like a 3 CD live box set, and the first 10,000 have a bonus disc of The Shit Hits The Fans. I think that’s the way we want to do it. It’s something that would be an adjunct to a live box set. If you want it now though, you can find it. It’s been heavily bootlegged.

TK: I’m down to my last $15, and it’s April 22. Which one of the Replacements’ Twin/Tone reissues do I get?

PJ: Put the four titles on a wall, put a blindfold on and throw a dart. They’re all good and for totally different reasons. I mean, for the bang for your buck, I was most astonished at how Sorry Ma turned out. I mean, we’ve got thirteen extra songs so there’s 31 tracks on it now and it runs 64 minutes and 30 seconds. It’s pretty good value for the money, I think. The liner notes, the whole package is especially great on that one.

TK: What surprises are in store for Replacements’ fans with the Sire reissues?

PJ: For the Sire stuff, the Holy Grail part II is where we get to release the acoustic version of “Can’t Hardly Wait.” We were just listening to that yesterday and to me, that’s one of the most stunning performances I’ve ever heard in my life.Of course it’s been bootlegged too, but we’re going off the master tape and it sounds beautiful. After “You’re Getting Married” from the first set, the Holy Grail part II is “Can’t Hardly Wait” acoustic which will be the first bonus track on Tim.

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