Guns at the Ready Indie legend Tommy Stinson shoots solo first
“IT’S COMING, sooner rather than later,” Tommy Stinson says of the Guns N’ Roses album that’s been in the works for nearly a decade. Stinson’s been Axl Rose’s bass man since 1997, a gig he got largely on the strength of his teen tenure with indie-rock pioneers the Replacements, whose albums Tim and Pleased to Meet Me inspired a generation of garage-pop and alternative-rock acts.
When the Replacements split up in 1991, Stinson switched to guitar and formed the bands Bash & Pop and Perfect (their shelved 1995 album, Once, Twice, Three Times a Maybe, has just been released on Rykodisc). On his latest solo album, Village Gorilla Head (Sanctuary), Stinson plays virtually all the instruments, mixing garage grit and pop tunefulness with single-minded intensity.
“I played everything on the first demo recordings,” explains the dapper 34-year-old, “and I liked a lot of what I did, so I kept it.” Stinson also took the bass places he’d always wanted to go. Check out the subterranean rumblings that punctuated “Someday” or his high countermelody line on the bridge of “Something’s Wrong.”
“I’d heard that (from Sgt. Pepper’s forward) Paul McCartney would often record his bass after the Beatles had done the whole track so that he could come up with countermelodies,” Stinson says. “I wanted to try that kind of experimentation this time. Y’know, I’ve been playing the straight eighth-note punk rock shit since I was a kid, and it was time to venture away from that.” – MAC RANDALL
BASSES Custom Fender P-Basses with Jazzy Bass necks and EMG pickups; Music Man StingRay
AMPS Matchless Thunderman, SWR Mo'Bass with two SWR Megoliath 8x10 cabinets, Line 6 Bass Pod
STRINGS DR (medium)