Tommy Stinson Village Gorilla Head

It’s incredible to think that, although in his late 30s, Tommy Stinson has been in the rock wars for almost 25 of those years. Starting as a founding member of the Replacements, Stinson moved on to fronting two short-lived outfits, Bash & Pop and Perfect, before becoming an unlikely substitute for Duff McKagen in Guns N’ Roses. Thankfully, Stinson has taken advantage of the large blocks of GN’R downtime to make this first solo record, and remind the world that the Replacements’ joyously ramshackle approach wasn’t only Paul Westerberg’s creation. While in recent years, Stinson’s one-time mentor has returned to simplicity with excellent results, Tommy still attempts to go one better on VGH, mixing his love of Stones/Faces sleaze with just enough L.A. crunch to possibly catch a few mainstream ears. And while Stinson doesn’t possess Westerberg’s genius at turning the perfect phrase, he delivers his lyrics with enough raw conviction that comparisons to Westerberg are inevitable. I’m sure that’s something Stinson wouldn’t be offended by; after all, with several years of dealing with Axl Rose under his belt, his days in the ‘Mats must now seem positively glorious. Village Gorilla Head certainly gives that impression. (Sanctuary)