Paul Westerberg is best known for the Replacements, the influential, 1980s alternative pop-rock band that also included Tommy and Bob Stinson...
Paul Westerberg is best known for the Replacements, the influential, 1980s alternative pop-rock band that also included Tommy and Bob Stinson and Chris Mars. After it broke up in 1991, Westerberg began a solo career, which never quite took off. He’s barely been heard from since then, but is back at work, having made five albums in the past three years. The latest, “Folker,” deals with the death of his dad and his relationship with his son, Johnny, age 6.
We caught up with Westerberg in a recording studio in Walpole, N.H., where he’s recording the soundtrack for an animated feature, his first movie job since scoring Cameron Crowe’s 1992 Seattle-based grunge movie, “Singles.”
Q: Where have you been?
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A: I’ve been making records in my basement! The last time I performed, it was with three local guys from Minneapolis — Michael Bland on drums, who’s the key, used to play with Prince for years, and Jim Boquist, who used to be with a band called Son Volt, and rounding it out with Kevin Bowe, who’s more of a songwriter/producer whom I’ve known for 20-some years.
And we just for the hell of it got together and played clubs for two, three nights, and it came out on a bootleg, and from that it turned into “Let’s take this baby on the road and go tour.” It’s been about eight years since I’ve gone out with a band.
Q: That’s a great band name.
Paul Westerberg & His Only Friends, 9 tonight, Showbox, 1426 First Ave., Seattle; $25 (800-325-SEAT, www.ticketswest.com; information, 206-628-3151, www.showboxonline.com, www.monqui.com, www.paulwesterberg.com).
A: You mean Paul Westerberg & His Only Friends? I thought of it and then wanted to change it and Michael was like, “No, no, that’s it, man!” Sometimes I think maybe they are my only friends.
Q: What are you going to play?
A: It’ll be the usual mixture of old with mid-period and brand new, maybe. I have no problem at all playing old songs, if I can remember the words. I look at them as my songs that I wrote, even though Tommy and Bob and Chris played with me. The fans will help me with the words. They shout ’em out, even hold up signs. They actually shout out chords now!
Q: You turned 45 on New Year’s Eve. How did that feel?
A: I feel something is going to happen by the time I’m 47, and I don’t know what, but I just have an ominous thought that there’s going to be some sort of change. Whenever I’m out playing with Johnny and find myself winded after chasing a fly ball, I realize that, hey, I’m 45, I can’t do what I did when I was 35. Don’t want to do half the (stuff) I did when I was 35!
Q: What do you want to tell the Seattle audience?
A: Be prepared for a little bit of everything. And we’ll try to arm ourselves so we can take requests, as long as they’re not too obtuse. It’s gonna be fun!
Patrick MacDonald: 206-464-2312 or firstname.lastname@example.org