In 2013, Riot Fest did the impossible by reuniting The Replacements—well, Tommy Stintson and Paul Westerberg, anyway, along with pseudo-Mats Josh Freese and Dave Minehan. Following the initial Riot Fest shows in Denver, Toronto, and Chicago, The Replacements did a few more festival slots before setting out on their current Back By Unpopular Demand Tour. However, Mats conspiracy theorists believe that the long-awaited reunion may be coming to a close.
On each night of the recent tour, singer Paul Westerberg has worn a white T-shirt with a different letter spray painted on the back and the front, apparently spelling out two messages to the fans, according to Stereogum. Users over at the Facebook page Paul’s Shirt have used their Little Orphan Stintson decoder rings to translate the message, which they believe reads, “I have always loved you. Now I must whore my pa..” The final two letters will debut at the ‘Mats’ final shows of the tour at London’s Roundhouse; the good money is on “past” or “pain,” but you really never know with Paul.
Only time will tell what this message means—The band will not be performing two previously announced make-up shows in Pittsburgh and Columbus, Ohio, and their recent time in the studio reportedly hasn’t resulted in much. (The band has been performing a new tune, “Whole Foods Blues,” on the current tour and were rumored to be recording a new album). The Replacements have a history of being at odds with their audience; in their heyday, the band was notorious for either putting on the greatest rock show an audience had ever seen or showing up wasted for gigs and performing an entire set of half-baked classic rock. When the labels were kicking down their door to sign them, they played a secret show at CBGB’s as Gary & The Boners. The Replacements were even banned from Saturday Night Live for getting blasted and cursing on live television, incurring the wrath of rea- life Dr. Evil Lorne Michaels. All that never seem affected, it just seemed like The Replacements. So perhaps Paul’s T-shirt message means an inevitable breakup; maybe it means nothing at all. Your guess is as bad as ours.