Gorman Bechard: There really wasn't anything to work around to be honest. When I took over the film [from Hansi Oppenheimer] I kept only two parts of the original concept: the title and the idea of talking to fans. But to show clips and play music, and even interview members of the band would have made it just another "Where Are They Now" doc. I had no desire to do that. And I also thought The Replacements deserved better. So one night I came up with the idea of doing the film with no music, or clips, or images of the band. And I became obsessed with that idea. I knew it was crazy. But as a filmmaker it turned me on. So, I used none of the original footage and started over from scratch, with the plan to tell their story from the point of view of those who loved them, worked with them, were inspired by them. And really, when you think about it, this was a band that for their first music video shot a stereo speaker for 4 minutes and never appeared in the video. So, crazy? Yes. Appropriate? Absolutely.
Do you address that elephant in the room anywhere in the film?
There was no need to. Anyone who knew the music was hearing it in their heads during the film. And those who didn't, they were armed with all the info in the world to go out and discover the band as we all did.
What was the impetus for the film — simple personal fandom or something else entirely?
I had always wanted to make a doc, but you spend 2 or 3 or more years with any feature, so I knew it had to be a subject I was obsessed with. There are only a few. And the Replacements were high on the list. So what better way to start in the doc arena?
Yes, Pat Sajak! For the simple reason that the thought of him as a Mats fan is funny. Also Bill Sullivan, their infamous roadie. But pretty much everyone else we wanted is in the film.
Attendant to that, were there any volunteer interview subjects who surprised you?
George Wendt, who really wanted to be in the film. Tom Arnold, as well. And of course Robert Voedisch, who's really the star of the film. He so laid himself emotionally naked for the camera, and in a way represents every fan of any band. He's amazing in the film. He compares the band to oxygen. Nothing more need be said.
You're currently at work on an Archers of Loaf documentary. What's led you to this particular genre of music — what they once called "college rock"?
I like loud, slightly out of tune guitars, with a sort of bad singer who screams a lot. Balls to the wall energy. And lyrics that actually mean something to me. I think the Replacements and Archers of Loaf are two of our greatest American bands. I'd add Husker Du to that list. Superchunk, Wilco. But really rock n' roll is dying. It's definitely wimped out in recent years.
It seems that not a year goes by without a new cover of "Can't Hardly Wait" or "Bastards of Young." Why do you think the music of the Replacements keeps finding new fans every year?
Great songwriting. These are like the songs of the Beatles, the Stones, or Dylan. As good. As important. Let's face it. Rock was dying in the early '80s. The punk movement had become "modern rock." The Mats and Husker Du came along and forever changed the way we listen to music. There ABSOLUTELY is no Seattle scene without these two bands. They saved rock n' roll. And because of that their music will live on forever.
Is there anything you hope viewers take away from the film?
Aside from discovering or re-discovering the music of The Replacements, I'd hope they'd see what rock n' roll is supposed to be. It's not standing around with your arms folded looking bored, or wearing white V-neck sweaters on SNL. It's not silly little synthesizer riffs that sound like music for pre-schoolers. It's raw, chaotic, loud, sloppy, drunk, heart-breakingly real, and never perfect. Which makes it just about the most perfect thing in the world.