TOMMY STINSON ONE MAN MUTINY Download

00:03 Download November 29th, -0001

Tommy Stinson lives in my basement. That is, he used to. Until he moved from the Philadelphia burb of Media to New York’s bucolic Hudson Valley. I even wrote a song about it which I thought was exceedingly clever. It began: “Tommy Stinson lives in my basement. He says he used to be a Replacement.” Meanwhile, Tommy was writing the real songs and bringing them to life just a few steps down from my kitchen table just about every day he wasn’t off on tour with Guns N Roses or Soul Asylum. He and my husband, guitarist Chip Roberts, spent hours and hours these last two plus years submerged in a dark room that was filled with guitars and basses and ukeleles and drums and tambourines and marimbas and all sorts of stringed instruments from other countries with exotic sounding names and lots of recording equipment. Every so often, I would venture downstairs to throw in another load of laundry or to give a listen to a riff they’d just come up with. One time, Tommy put me on the big marching drum with a tambourine because they were into a groove that needed a loud ringing beat. He kept yelling “hit it harder! bang the rim!” When we were done, half the jingles had been banged off the tambourine and there were wood shards from the drum flying everywhere.

When our niece, Emily Roberts, told us she was seeing the bass player from Guns N Roses and that he used to be in The Replacements, we knew the name but we didn’t know what to expect. Would he be all punky and snarly? I have to admit that somehow I missed most of the Replacements era and really just had a passing memory of a band that passed out a lot. And drank a lot. Maybe not quite Sex Pistols but close. So it was with quite a bit of stunned delight that the night we first met Tommy in our kitchen, he shyly gave his “Aunt Deb” and “Uncle Chip” a warm hug. Hair still spiky, shirt and skinny pants still ripped, but a sweet guy that we knew right off the bat we would love.

When Emily and Tommy’s daughter Lulah was born, we watched a deeply involved dad take shape before our eyes. We got to know Tommy’s other daughter Ruby, a lovely young woman and there’s nothing like watching American Idol together around the dinner table to set off that daughter/daddy dynamic. Especially when your daddy is a rock star. We got to know Anita, Tommy’s mom, who dealt with a lot from all those early years, and we got to know Tom, Tommy’s stepdad. We see this daily side of this guy who was recruited into a band by his big brother Bob at the tender age of 11 and learned about life on the road. Literally.

I mention all this because it all factors at some point or another into the new album ONE MAN MUTINY which has been four years in the making. Everything up till now has shaped this record. Paul Westerberg’s voice sometimes comes out of Tommy’s mouth. The spirit of Bob Stinson is always hovering nearby. There was a lot of craziness during this time. There was also a lot of joy. There was a lot of silliness that went into making this record. When visiting our Uncle Albert in Hudson, NY, Chip and Tommy broke out into a country tinged lament about drinking one too many and all of a sudden, yodeling became involved. Albert told them to get out to the back porch and write a song so they did. I’m happy to say the yodeling made the cut on the record  (Zero to Stupid). When making the video for Don’t Deserve You, Tommy had a dream  about an evil rabbit and so he found an Energizer bunny type costume for Chip to wear with spooky makeup. What does it have to do with the song? Doesn’t matter. Creative ideas were popping up all the time and plugged in wherever and whenever. On this record, there is the most heartachingly gorgeous song that began as Tommy singing solo and harmony with himself. He made his voice sound so much like Emily’s that he realized he should actually use HER for the harmonies. Destroy Me ended up as a duet that Emily worked and worked on for so many rough nights and then one night it completely clicked and if it doesn’t make the hair stand up on your arms, you’re not human. It’s a Drag was written on a road trip down to the Chesapeake Bay and was pretty much fleshed out in the hour and a half it took to get down there. When the album was being worked on in LA, I was visiting and actually got to do a few “woo woos” throughout the song. Talk about a Stones rave-up. It feels like “Jumping Jack Flash” and “Gimme Shelter” mashed together.  Meant to Be is a masterful piece of songwriting. In fact, Tommy is one hell of a songwriter. He’s always jotting lyrics and thoughts into numerous notebooks and when he was rehearsing for one of his mini-tours, there would be lyrics of many songs of his, new and old, printed out. I continue to be amazed at his command of language. Around our house, in the car and at shows, we were all listening to John Doe and Queens of the Stone Age and Cheap Trick. All of it figures in. 

Fans of Perfect and Bash and Pop and Tommy’s 2004 solo outing, VILLAGE GORILLA HEAD, will find many favorite songs on the 10 song ONE MAN MUTINY. There’s a great pop sensibility running throughout the record. The playfulness of Match Made in Hell with its happy go lucky rickety tickety gait is an ironic look at relationships for better and worse. The title song One Man Mutiny was written while on tour with GnR in Brussels and recorded at 3AM in the dining room of The Conrad Hotel with Guns mates Dizzy Reed and Richard Fortus. The album was originally going to be called “All This Way For Nothing” but when this song came along it spoke volumes about where Tommy was in the moment. Frank Ferrer, also from Guns, lends a hand on drums on this record as does George Manney, a Philadelphia musician and film producer.

Most notable on this record is the presence of Tommy’s fiancee Emily Roberts. Her voice is a perfect complement to Tommy’s. Sometimes it’s hard to tell where one stops and the other begins. And Uncle Chip brings his slide guitar and personality to many of the songs on the album. (Basement breaks usually consisted of a trip up the street for a “snack” or upstairs for a cooking lesson. Tommy’s quite a whiz in the kitchen too, it turns out.) Producer Phillip Broussard, Jr. worked with Tommy previously on VILLAGE GORILLA HEAD and spent many a late night session in Tommy’s Bipolarbear studio in LA after Tommy finished up Guns daily rehearsals. 

ONE MAN MUTINY was just released on Tommy’s own Done To Death music label and is available digitally as well as on CD and vinyl. You’ can find it everywhere you can find records and through tommystinson.com.

A portion of the proceeds from this album will benefit Timkatec, the educational organization in Haiti that helps get kids off the streets and into school. Tommy has been involved with fundraising efforts for this incredibly effective project for several years now.

Catch Tommy on tour with GnR as they have started announcing US dates!!!! And listen to “It’s A Drag” by clicking the arrow to the right!

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