He’s Back!

Jesse Christen

Jesse Christen

Paul Westerberg may not be the most famous musician in the world, but his fans are some of the most obsessive. Westerberg turned down a part in a film because the sub-plot hit so close to home; a young fan moves to Minneapolis to find the songwriter/guitarist.

In a recent interview from Playboy.com, he said that people have stolen his mail and leave things on his lawn. And he takes the advice Tom Petty gave him on how to remain anonymous in public: wear a hat.

Westerberg goes on to say that he takes several different anti-depressant medications and had to attend psychotherapy for being freaked out that so many other artists cite him and his former band, the Replacements, as sources of inspiration.

“It’s to the point where I hear myself so much on that style radio, and now it’s even on television commercials, and it’s what drove me into psychotherapy,” he said. “I came in there telling the guy that everyone on the radio sounds like me. He rolled his eyes thinking, God, I got a nutcase here. But it was true. I felt like everyone sounded like me.”

Besides being a little nutty, Westerberg is also a family man. He has a four-year-old son and recently played guitar and sang for the kids at his son’s school. And that’s pretty impressive considering the man wrote such family unfriendly songs like “Fuck School” just over 20 years ago with the Replacements.

Whatever Westerberg is doing nowadays seems to be working. After the release of 2002’s Stereo and Mono (Mono being under the Westerberg alter-ego, Grandpaboy), he’s back with two new releases, Come Feel Me Tremble, and once again as Grandpaboy with Dead Man Shake.

Come Feel Me Tremble

Westerberg plays all the instruments on this record giving it a rough sound. But his great songwriting ability lets everyone know this is no amateur.

The song “Soldier of Misfortune” is so damn catchy that it’s an old favorite I’ve never heard. “Dirty Diesel” and “Crackle & Drag (Original take)” are also standout tracks.

The rest of the album is OK. But I prefer his prior releases like 14 Songs where Westerberg enlists the help of others, most notably Ian McLagen of the Faces fame. Many of the tracks sound like demo versions of really great songs. But hell, Westerberg probably doesn’t care. He’s already proved himself as a legend to many out there. He just is having fun making music, and that’s the right attitude to have.

This album is for those of you who like their rock ‘n’ roll a little folky at times.

3 stars (out of 5)

Dead Man Shake

Where the home recorded quality of Come Feel Me Tremble is a little odd at times, it works well on Dead Man Shake. Under the alias of Grandpaboy, Westerberg rips out 14 tracks of rough and rockin’ blues-based material.