Audio: Listen to this article.
I was born in Minneapolis in 1975. Was listening to The Who, Led Zeppelin, and Jimi Hendrix by 1980, and was hooked on music and sound quality shortly thereafter. In 1982 Ms. Van DeWeigh, and most of my second grade class at Sonnesyn Elementary, had no idea what some coming when I pulled The Wall LP from my backpack and dropped the needle on Another Brick in the Wall for show and tell. My musical taste expanded into heavy metal and glam metal in the following years, until Pearl Jam changed my life with the album Ten in 1991.
At no time between 1975 and 1991, coincidentally the year of their last show, did anyone in my life mention The Replacements. The only thing crazier would've been if the band was from my home town, played gigs, and recorded albums ten minutes from my house. Oh wait, add all of those to the cart. These guys were more accessible than Amazon Prime, but I was unaware of their music until the Summer of 1992 when the Singles movie soundtrack was released.
Included on this album between Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Chris Cornell, Soundgarden, Midhoney, The Smashing Pumpkins, Screaming Trees, and Jimi Hendrix songs, were a couple tracks from a guy named Paul Westerberg. Some 1992-style sleuthing lead me to understand this guy was the singer for a Minneapolis band named The Replacements. I listened to the two tracks on Singles, but they couldn't compete with all the aforementioned bands' tracks, in my sixteen year old brain.
Fast forward a couple decades. By this time I'd listened to some Replacements music, but couldn't get into it. It sounded like my friends from high school recorded it in their garage. Plus, I had a thing with musicians from Minneapolis. They couldn't be that good could they? Everyone must have played them up over the years solely because they're a hometown band. Or so I thought. A word to the wise, never turn down attending several after-hours Prince shows at Paisley Park Studios, because he's just a local guy and there will always be another one to attend.
On September 22, 2023 something called the Tim: Let it Bleed Edition was released by Rhino. The Replacements' album Tim was originally released in 1985. Produced by Tommy Ramone, it wasn't what I consider sound quality demonstration material. I saw the album pop up in Apple Music's Spatial Audio section, so I decided to give it ten seconds to impress me. Whoa! WTF is this? Where has this been all my life? I immediately connected with the music and haven't stoped listening since.
How could I go from "not a fan" to "I can't get enough?" It's all about being able to connect with the music and nothing brings down walls like a high quality mix. Forever, the sound quality glory has always gone to mastering engineers. In my opinion, this is going to change big time. The recording engineers will remain unseen, despite their job being of critical importance, but the mixing engineers are about to get much more recognition, and rightly so.
Ed Stasium's 2023 remix of Tim has not only turned me into a Tim fan, but a Replacements fan. I've even begun testing the waters of the band's other releases as well. In addition to the stereo remix, Ed absolutely nailed the Dolby Atmos mix of Tim. How can an alternative rock album that originally sounded less than desirable, now sound so good on twelve channels? I have to give a big tip of the cap to Ed Stasium. Good engineers who understand the music and the delivery format can work wonders with any style of music, and bring new fans into the fold by tearing down walls between listeners and the music.
Note: As I played this album for my eleven year old daughter in my listening room, she asked, who is Ed Stasium? It was a perfect moment to educate her about what a mixing engineer does and specifically what Ed did on this release. I'm please Ed's name is front and center on this release, and deservedly listed on every track as (Ed Stasium Mix).
Tim is one of those perfect albums. I love every song and every song has a perfect Atmos mix. The mix serves the music exactly how it should. Ed Stasium has used technology to serve the music, rather than using technology just because he could. For example, the acoustic track Here Comes a Regular, has an immersive mix that envelopes the listener in a way that makes one feel the emotion of the track much more than when having the music projected at the listener from front left and right channels. I have chills just listening to it as I type this.
This morning as I drove my daughter to school on Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, we listened to this remix of Tim. And, as we passed 2541 Nicollet Ave, I shared with her that the album we were listening to right now, was created right there. 2541 Nicollet was the home of Nicollet Studios and the Hüsker Dü offices. This was one of those music loving dad moments that I'm sure meant much more to me than her, but perhaps someday she will appreciate it as much as I do.
This afternoon I'll have my head buried in Bob Mehr's Best Selling biography "Trouble Boys: The Story of the Replacements." I sampled the audiobook only to learn that it's narrated by Mary Lucia. I listened to Mary on local radio stations for decades. As part of my new found love of The Replacements, I also learned Mary is the younger sister of singer Paul Westerberg. Such a small and wonderful world.