Tommy Stinson Talks New Album
Douglas K. Barclay
April 12, 2012
Filed under A&E
You would be hard pressed to find a musician with a stronger feel for the pulse of Rock music than Tommy Stinson. When he was barely old enough to attend high school he was touring the country with The Replacements, an 80s rock band that essentially gave birth to alternative music. Since 1991 when the Replacements broke up Tommy has toured as a solo act, played guitar in his own band Bash and Pop and with 90s rockes Soul Asylum
Since 1998 Tommy has played bass in Guns N’ Roses, easily one of the most recognizable and known bands of all time. On Friday April 13th Tommy will be playing at Jammin Java in Vienna VA in support of his latest solo record ” One Man Mutiny.” In advance of the show, I had the chance to talk with Tommy about his long career and what is coming ahead.
Over your long career ar
there any moments that have stuck out from playing shows in the DC area.
Ive played Iota a few times in the past and had a really great time there. I don’t know what Vienna is like but it must be close. Its a very favorable area. The DC area, I have always played really good shows there.
You are donating some of the proceeds of this album to a trade school in Hait. How did you get involved with that movement?
Its a little trade school in Haiti that trains and houses and educates the homeless and abandoned kids off the streets. What we are trying to do right now is a tool drive to raise between 70-80 tool kits for the graduating class. They graduate as plumbers, electricians, masons and stuff like that. We are trying to give them the basic tools so they can go out into their communities and help with the rebuilding process.
I found them through another friend when I wanted to do something after the earthquake. After the earthquake in Haiti I had the time to reflect and figure out a way to do something more. I went down there and saw the school, met the people, and thought that would be a good place to give my efforts to the rebuilding process.
You have been writing and releasing music professionally for thirty years. When you sit down and record something new, are you still learning things along the way?
Oh yeah, and if I wasn’t learning anything new it would be a drag it would be kind of pointless. There is little else to do it for these days, we aren’t going to get rich off it, unless we get lucky somehow, which is a little like winning the lottery.
The reasons i’m doing it have changed over the years. To be able to do something with my reputation and my music that will directly help someone else gives me more inspiration than thinking about whether I will pay my mortgage with this record. Im lucky to have streams of income from the Replacements, Guns N’ Roses, the Soul Asylum stuff, I am blessed in that regard, I don’t have to make the music to make any money.
Is there a different mindset between the differnt projects you work on, or is it all just making music?
You know its just me playing music. They all mean different things to me emotionally and they all make up what I am today and what I do.
What has changed in the seven years since your last record
Well you know, not a whole lot has really happened besides the record industry that we’veknown from the past has all completely changed. And thats a good thing, because the last time I made a record for a major label it was an absolute disaster. Where its going is nothing short of a super thing, that will hopefully continue to breed better music and breed a better way of putting that music out.
T: Guns N’ Roses recently did a string of club dates. At this point in your career is it fun getting back to the smaller venues for those special shows?
TS: Those shows were a lot of fun actually. Some of them were a little hard because were cramming so much into a little space to make the show happen. It was a fun experience and I thought we put on some really good shows.
Do you and Axl Rose share any sort of kinship as two people who are constantly being asked questions about their former band or former band-mates?
Yeah, but I think we have gotten beyond the sort of negative crap that people want to say. I think we are on the same page. For right now its about this band and this group of guys and when it is about something else we’ll be the first ones to tell you. I think thats the best way to deal with all of that.
T: What would be your best advice for a young student who may not know exactly what they want to do going forward?
TS: If you are going to get into something big, you have to mean it, and you have to know that you can afford to do it. That means, you have to know that there is a very good chance you wont make a living at what you love, and if you can acknowledg that and learn how to make money and stay in touch with your art form. You can do something with your free time and you could flourish that way. If you go into your future thinking you have to choose between one thing or the other you’ve already screwed yourself.
See Tommy Stinson live at Jammin Java in Vienna VA. 227 Ave E. Vienna VA 22180 703 255 1566 $12.00