Dead Man's Pop—Remixing and Revisting The Replacements Don't Tell A Soul
In 1989, The Replacements released their sixth studio al-bum, Don’t Tell a Soul. Featuring Paul Westerberg (vocals, guitar, harmonica), Tommy Stinson (bass, background vocals), and Chris Mars (drums), it was the first Replacements album to feature new member Slim Dunlap (guitar, keyboards, background vocals). The recording sessions were produced by Matt Wallace, who hoped to mix the record in the immediate, rough-hewn style for which the band was known and loved. The record label at the time had other ideas, and brought in Chris Lord-Alge to imprint his proven hit-making pop sensibilities on the mixes. As a result, Don’t Tell a Soul would become The Replacements’ most commercially successful release. Of course, the all-too-predictable critical backlash divided the band’s already substantial diehard fanbase into opposing camps, and the debate continues to this day. Adding fuel to the fire, archivist Bob Mehr recently unearthed a set of Don’t Tell a Soul rough mixes, hastily assembled by Matt Wallace in a failed bid to win the mix engineer spot. These rough mixes rendered Don’t Tell a Soul in the ragged, primal, glorious form dear to so many fans. Rhino Records heard these mixes and then gave the green light for Matt to return to the original tapes and remix the whole album from scratch, in the style that he would have used three decades ago had he been given the opportunity. Matt’s fresh take on the entire Don’t Tell a Soul album, along with rare outtakes, forgotten sessions (including a studio set with Tom Waits), and a remixed live show, are brought together now in the multi-disc Dead Man’s Pop box set. Below we learn about the mixes, the mastering, the backstory, and the outcome, from Matt himself, mastering engineer Justin Perkins, and the band’s biographer and archivist Bob Mehr.