The Austin Chronicle

Rock & Roll Books

Picture Book

Reviewed by Michael Bertin, December 6, 2013, Music

The Replacements: Waxed Up Hair & Painted Shoes: The Photographic History

by Jim Walsh & Dennis Pernu
Voyageur Press, 160 pp., $30

Nirvana: The Complete Illustrated History

by Charles R. Cross, Gillian G. Gaar, Bob Gendron,
Todd Martens, Mark Yarm
Voyageur Press, 191 pp., $35

Is it telling there's no mention of the Replacements in Nirvana: The Complete Illustrated History, but Nirvana makes a couple of cameos in The Replacements: Waxed Up Hair & Painted Shoes? The latter quotes a veteran of both Seattle and Minneapolis, Amphetamine Reptile founder Tom Hazelmyer, saying, "They've all got hair down to their shoulders, flannel shirts, torn jeans ... I remember all the guys from Mudhoney and Soundgarden going, 'Do you know the Replacements?' You can replace any picture of early Cobain with anyone in the Replacements six years before him." In the abstract, maybe. Putting the visual history of the two bands side by side, Cobain doesn't look like he could've pulled it off. There might not be a single image of him here that he doesn't look joyless. It wasn't fun being a blue-eyed black-hearted son of an auto mechanic, and that quality extends to the book itself. The 'Mats fare better. Their images feel like they were chosen by folks who genuinely wanted to celebrate the reunited barroom poets. While both bands seemed doomed – one wasn't prepared for the speed with which it achieved success; the other destroyed itself when it courted that same success – fuck if the Replacements don't come across like they wanted everyone to join the party on the way down.

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