The Ledge #72: Color Me Obsessed in Minneapolis

It’s an extremely surreal feeling to view oneself on a movie theater screen. I just don’t understand how actors can handle it. Sure, if you’re flawless like Clooney or Johansson it’s probably no big deal. If you’re just a normal mess like this flabby goofball, though, it’s a potentially frightening experience.

To say I annoyed everybody I came into contact with before the Minneapolis premier of Color Me Obsessed on May 4 is certainly an understatement. I couldn’t have been more of a neurotic mess, and honestly it probably clouded my overall view of the film that evening. Luckily, a spot was found for me in the audience of one of the following evening’s showings, and I was a lot more relaxed that evening (a couple of pre-movie Jack/Coke’s probably aided this feeling).

It wasn’t just my own paranoia that had me on edge that evening. I was plenty nervous about not only my reaction to the movie, but the opinions of the band’s hometown fans. Although the word that came out of previous screenings was almost unanimously positive, I still had some doubts that the story of the Replacements could be told without any music or footage of the band. How could two hours of people talking about the band be entertaining?

Surprisingly, the lack of music is not missed at all, and honestly would have just got in the way of the stories told by friends, colleagues, music critics, and Replacements fans. Actually, Replacements fans should top that list, as almost everybody in the other categories could and would call themselves fans first. Director Gorman Bechard deftly blended the tales of over 100 people into a briskly-edited story that doesn’t shy away from acknowledging missteps and low points of the band’s career.

Some of these fans are certainly better known than others. Tom Arnold tells a hilarious story about regaling Suge Knight and Tupac Shakur with the backstage exploits of the Replacements when they appeared on Saturday Night Live. Dave Foley proclaims that the goal of Kids In the Hall was to be the “Replacements of comedy”. The Goo Goo Dolls acknowledge that their first two albums were a complete ripoff of the Replacements’ sound, and members of The Decemberists, Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, Gaslight Anthem, and Titus Andronicus proclaim their influence.

Yet, it’s the “normal” fans who steal the show – the school bus driver who would play Stink’s “Fuck School” if the kids behaved, the pinball player who unknowingly caused Bob Stinson to miss the first three songs of their gig, or the guy in the front row of a show where Bob had nothing under his trademark tutu. Most interesting was the tale of Robert Voedish, whose high school days on the farm were saved after he created a make-believe version of Tommy Stinson to be his best friend.

As one can probably tell by these past couple of paragraphs, the movie is filled with humor, but it’s not all just loving remembrances. The final albums are correctly and almost unanimously panned. Tommy Ramone discusses his difficulties in getting Bob into the studio during the Tim sessions (his parts on the entire album were eventually recorded during one marathon session). Matt Wallace defends his production of Don’t Tell a Soul; ultimately claiming that the annoying sheen of the album was the fault of the superstar heavy metal mixer the label brought in after the completion of the sessions.

Bob Stinson’s firing is also fairly handled. For many, it was over when the notoriously wasted band somewhat inexplicably fired him for drunkenness. Yet almost as many proclaim the band’s next album, Pleased to Meet Me, as their favorite. Both sides of the Stinson drama have their say in Color Me Obsessed, leaving the viewer to decide.

Is the movie the definitive story? I’d say it’s as close as one can get. Undoubtedly, some will complain that none of the band members are heard or seen in the movie, and one can also quibble that various people are also not present (members of Soul Asylum are names that I keep hearing). Yet every album is dissected, the majority of the “important” tracks are discussed, and there are reminisces of a good percentage of the “infamous” shows. How this movie could be improved seems next to impossible.

While in Minneapolis for the screenings, I badgered a few people for short interviews both before and after the initial screening. Bechard talked to me on both occasions, which opens and closes this week’s episode of The Ledge. These field recordings occurred in restaurants, hotel rooms, bars, and even the mean streets of Minneapolis. Because of these settings, and also due to my lack of experience with my newly purchased Tascam recording device, the quality of these interviews is not always top-notch. In fact, my apologies to Diane Welsh and Carolyn Baumann in particular for the lo-fi quality of their sections of this show.

I would also like to thank Bechard and his lovely wife, Kris, for being so kind to this neurotic mess, and also to my good friend Traci Hoem for providing the setting for my five-second cameo. Thanks also must go to everybody else who let me stick my microphone in their face for a few minutes.

As always, these guests provided the tunes for this episode. Here are their selections:

Gorman Bechard, Color Me Obsessed Director
Matthew Ryan, Guilty
Meat Puppets, Lake of Fire
Lykke Li, Dance Dance Dance

Pat Burns, Fan (and former Ledge co-host)
The Feelies, Higher Ground
Soul Asylum, Made to Be Broken

Scott Wickman, Color Me Obsessed Executive Producer
The Waterboys, A Girl Called Johnny
Adele, Lovesong

Matthew Ryan, Singer/Songwriter
The Clash, Straight to Hell
The Replacements, Swingin’ Party

Diane Welsh, Color Me Obsessed Executive Producer
Brett Dennen, Sydney I’ll Come Running
Matt Nathanson, Faster

Dave O’Hara, Fan
Lucinda Williams, Honeybee
Dan Israel, 2822

Jan Radder, Supervising Producer
Husker Du, Standing By the Sea
The Minutemen, History Lesson Pt. 2

Bill Deville, DJ on MPR’s The Current
The Replacements, Can’t Hardly Wait
Steve Earle, Waitin’ On the Sky

Carolyn Baummer, Fan
The Eels, Mansions of Los Feliz
John Doe, The Golden State
Drive-By Truckers, This Fucking Job

You can hear this show via a number of different methods. The absolute best way is to download the iPhone or Android Ledge app. Or you can subscribe at iTunes, stream it at, or directly download it here.


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