Grandpa Boy
Mono
Vagrant Records
2002
A-

ok kids, sit your little butts down and listen up. I am going to tell you all a little something about myself. Back when I was a young 20-year-old, I could drink and stay out all night long, days even. I’d just wake up the next morning, jump in the shower, inject myself with some coffee, go to work and repeat the process over and over. My nights were spent watching bands who spilt my eardrums and my days were spent idling away at my job until the workday ended.


Those sure were grand ole times, but what took six hours to recuperate, now takes six days. Now before you think you need to ship me off to the retirement home, let me tell you this. I still revisit the past and when I do I have a great time, and even keep up with you little whippersnappers. But I haven’t packed it in to spend my nights with VH1 and neither has Grandpa Boy.


Grandpa Boy has released one 7" single and an EP since 1997 and now they have this full-length recording released with little fanfare. It is the side project/alter ego of a certain singer/songwriter named Paul Westerberg of The Replacements. Grandpa Boy is Westerberg’s excuse to re-visit his past. If you thought that his two “legit” solo efforts showed our hero getting mellow and aging gracefully, this trashes that theory. Rumor has it that a few other "Mats" are on board as well. Shit, if it wasn’t for the fact he was dead, I’d swear I hear Bob Stinson. This is rock and roll recorded poorly, played in hurry with sweaty hands like your life depended upon it.


Tracks like “High Time," "Anything But That" and "Let's Not Belong Together” have Replacements-esque, Johnny Thunders meets the Faces guitar workouts with chunky hooks. “Silent Film Star” features Westerberg trademark wordplay with a chorus that sticks in your head. Other tracks are Chuck Berry inspired rockers played in a no-frills style, with no strings attached.


Now don’t start thinking this is "Sorry Ma..." or "Let It Be" or looking for that "punk" edge. I got news for you, Paul ain’t 20 anymore and neither am I. This is loose and fun, lots of fun, recorded for the moment in glorious mono. Granpa Boy releases are happy surprises, kind of like me whooping it up on a Saturday night. It takes time before you see me do it again, I don't bounce back so quickly anymore. With Westerberg's “legit” solo effort due out in April, that should be plenty of time for me.


Reviewed by: Tom Casetta
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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