Based on all-new interviews and including 72 rare photos, Trouble Boys: The True Story of The Replacements is the definitive biography of one of the last great rock ‘n’ roll bands of the twentieth century.

Written with the participation of the group’s key members, including reclusive singer-songwriter Paul Westerberg, bassist Tommy Stinson, and the family of late guitarist Bob Stinson, Trouble Boys is a deeply intimate and nuanced portrait, exposing the primal factors and forces—addiction, abuse, fear—that would shape one of the most brilliant and notoriously self-destructive groups of all time.

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If nothing else, Trouble Boys certainly helps to answer the one nagging question about the ‘Mats (the band’s nickname) – why did such an immensely talented band – featuring one of the finest songwriters of its generation (Paul Westerberg) – not achieve the success they richly deserved.

It’s clear as the reader finishes chapter after chapter that the ‘Mats were just not cut out for success – in the manner as the music industry defined that word back in the 80s – the band would not even fulfil the most basic music business requirements that was necessary to succeed. It was so obviously deep within the DNA of the main players (primarily Westerberg) to sabotage any possibility of mainstream success with acts of self-destruction.

Mehr’s voluminous tome is a no-holds barred look at the band members’ dysfunctional family backgrounds/childhoods, the deeply flawed personality of the individuals themselves (the insecurities and the addictions make for combustive wrong-minded behaviours) and the toll the inevitable commercial failure had on the Replacements.

Within this context, the reader will truly marvel at how miraculous the music making was, the fact that any music was made, nevermind music that defined a generation.

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Bottom Line
One of the best rock bios ever – a warts ’n’ all representation of everything that is right (and wrong) about rock ’n’ roll – that is ultimately an examination of the eternal conflict between art and commerce.

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