Even during their ’80s heyday, the Replacements were an unpredictable live entity. And though footage exists of the group at their explosive peak, that was 30 years ago. Still, the Paul Westerberg-led indie-punk icons are “reuniting” as the headliner for Riot Fest 2013. The three-city engagement marks the ‘Mats’ first billed performance in 22 years; they last performed in Chicago’s Grant Park on July 4, 1991.
In a statement, founding bassist Tommy Stinson contended that the band never broke up despite the hiatus. No word yet on who will replace guitarist Slim Dunlap (replacement for original guitarist Bob Stinson), who suffered a debilitating stroke in 2012. In June of that year, Stinson let slip that he and singer Paul Westerberg were working together on a tribute album — what later became the auction-based Songs for Slim EP and split 7-inch series. That almost-reunion raised more than $100,000 to help offset the “considerable challenges” Dunlap and his family continue to face as a result of his condition. According to the band, the connection forged during those sessions inspired band’s return.
Asked for comment, a spokesperson for Riot Fest couldn’t confirm who would fill the holes in the Replacements’ roster. Aside from Dunlap, surviving members Westerberg, Stinson, and drummer Chris Mars — who contributed to Songs for Slim, but left the band in 1990 — are presumed to appear. (Founding guitarst Bob Stinson and Mars’ replacement, drummer Steve Foley, are deceased.)
Riot Fest kicks off as a traveling exhibition in Toronto on August 24 and 25, hits Chicago’s Humboldt Park for the main event on September 13 to 15, then wraps up in Denver the following weekend, September 21 and 22. The Replacements join announced acts Fall Out Boy, Blink 182, Violent Femmes, Motorhead, Rancid, Blondie, Public Enemy, Rocket From the Crypt, among many others.