|If there's one thing Axl Rose has proven, it's his willingness to find replacements for bandmates who slight him in the slightest way.
That fear is apparently behind Paul Westerberg's sudden silence regarding who plays on his new double album, Stereo/Mono, due April 23 through indie Vagrant Records. (The CD lists only a bevy of obvious pseudonyms.)
After Westerberg admitted to Rolling Stone last month that the musicians included Tommy Stinson, his former partner in seminal '80s alt-rockers the Replacements, a note appeared on an industry gossip site claiming to be from Stinson. It said he hadn't seen Westerberg in four years. Stinson, as Guns N' Roses fans know, has played bass for Axl since replacing Duff McKagan in 1998.
"No comment" is Westerberg's new response to questions about any recent Stinson collaborations. However, he does hint that some very influential someone kiboshed the surprise Replacements reunion he tried assembling in February, a just-for-kicks tour that would have retraced Buddy Holly's unfinished steps on the ill-fated Winter Dance Party jaunt of 1959.
"I think Tommy was advised not to do it, if you can make sense of that," Westerberg tells us. "When I called him, he was anxious and interested in a wild idea like that, and then suddenly had a change of heart. So go figure."
For now, Westerberg has his own tour to focus on, a string of 10 national in-store performances representing his first all-acoustic sets. It launches April 22 at Seattle's Easy Street Records.
"I figure it's been too long for me to ask people to buy the record and to come pay money to see me play," Westerberg says. "So, it's like, if you're willing to buy the record, I'll come and play in the store for free. What kind of deal is that? You can't beat it!"
Westerberg says that if the shows whet his appetite, a proper tour could follow as early as this summer.
Easy, Axl, Tommy won't be on it.
-- Corey Levitan