Color Me Obsessed and The Replacements Stink and So Do We!!!
Screening of a documentary by Gorman Bechard, followed by a live set of Replacements covers organized by Dean Falcone. 8 p.m. July 27 at Café Nine, 250 State St., New Haven. $6. (203) 789-8281, cafenine.com
Local Replacements fans can't hardly wait for the swingin' party down the Nine July 27. Obviously it's not a reunion—the hallowed left-of-the-dial Minnesota alt-rock icons, who toured throughToad's Placeand the Grotto a quarter-century or so ago, leapt off the ledge in 1990.
But Friday's local nightclub jitters do mark a grand return. The event is the second local screening of the documentary Color Me Obsessed by Hamden-based filmmaker/novelist Gorman Bechard. It's loudly followed by The Replacements Stink And So Do We!!!, a live set of Replacements covers performed by a motley crew assembled by New Haven music scene stalwart Dean Falcone.
Color Me Obsessed (the title's a play on the Replacements song "Color Me Impressed") is notorious for being a music doc in which there is no performance footage whatsoever, nor any interviews with the band's members. It consists entirely of Replacements' friends, fans and hangers-on discussing and debating when it all began, shooting dirty pool, when Tommy got his tonsils out — the high points and the low points and the stuck-in-the-middle points of a rise and fall that comes off more frustrating for the onlookers than it seemed to have been for the active participants.
Bechard had access to a mountain of Replacements interviews and performances, but chose not to use that material, justifying his witnesses-only approach as being akin to biblical scriptures, where God is talked about but not directly quoted.
"It's amazing," Bechard reflects. "It breaks every rule of how to make a documentary. But when people see it, they love it."
About half of the Color Me Obsessed screenings—including ones in Boston, New York City, Australia, Vancouver, D.C. and yes, the Replacements' hometown of Minneapolis — have involved a club show of some sort. For the Café Nine screening, Dean Falcone has enticed such notables as drummer Jim Balga, bassist Ed Valauskas, Shellye Valauskas, David Brooks of the Streams, Dave Schneider of the Zambonis and members of the Lost Riots, AM Stereo and Dirty Truckers. (Disclosure: The author of this article has been asked to contribute a ukulele rendition of the song "Androgynous.")
Falcone, who served as a co-producer of Color Me Obsessed and has composed music scores for several of Bechard's other films (including the upcoming The Broken Side of Time) enjoys how random some of the Replacements connections have been. Falcone was playing a show with the Steve Atwood Band, a straightforward cover band from Prospect, when Atwood unexpectedly began to teach him "I Will Dare." "I know the song," Falcone responded, and invited Atwood to sing it and others at Café Nine.
As for Gorman Bechard, these Replacements "seen your video" talent shows are an opportunity to wallow inrock 'n' rollthe way he loves it most.
Has the experience of encapsulating the history of one of the great bands of the 20th century made the filmmaker feel nostalgic, or hopeful? "I'm not nostalgic. I still buy probably ten albums a week. I'm just looking for a band that rocks. No synthesizers, no uniforms. Rock is chaos."
Then he launches into a description of his "dream doc," in which his crew incessantly hounds Vampire Weekend—whom Bechard believes is the antithesis of anything good in rock—until the beleaguered band members foresake their music entirely, at which point they magically grow testicles.
The balls-out Color Me Obsessed was screened last year at Yale, but continues to thrive on the indie film festival circuit, still going strong 13 months after its release. In that time, Gorman Bechard has completed and premiered a whole other music documentary, What Did You Expect?, about another of his all-time favorite bands, the Archers of Loaf. That film, the filmmaker promises, is "the complete opposite" of the all-talk Color Me Obsessed, consisting of 70 minutes of live music (filmed at two recent reunion shows in Chapel Hill, N.C.) and only 20 minutes of interviews.
Color Me Obsessed and What Did Your Expect? will be released on DVD simultaneously on Nov. 20. The Replacements disk will feature some six hours of extras, including some of the key interviews in their entirety and 19 deleted scenes.