Kids Don’t Follow is the first track off the Replacement’s first release, the EP Stink. It’s a bold statement from a band that would go on to make many statements. The Replacements are a band that took on a far greater prominence than the drunken shenanigans of Stink would promise. But, then, this is the Replacements and their influence, lazy ambition, sneaking brilliance, and pure, astounding genius and capacity to bring the shock and awe (or one good dose of thunder) made them one of the greatest bands ever to never really make it. Starting with Stink, and hopping along like an exposed electric wire for a total of 6 more albums and a few lifetimes of madness, what the ‘Mats did for music is almost immeasurable. Even if they would deny it. Then or now. Which they do.
I like to talk a lot about firsts in music. First tracks, first times a song was played, first time one heard a band, what must it have been like to see a legend in the making when they first started out. Kids Don’t Follow is another first, an opening shot of punk muscle that would start a career that would morph and go in unexpected directions, but never lose that ‘fuck you’ attitude that in retrospect was so essential.
One of the best parts of Kids Don’t Follow is the opening recording of a party being broken up by the Minneapolis Police. Amid the ambient noise comes out a clear, angry, “Hey fuck you, man!” to the otherwise kindly, Barney Fife-kind of sounding cop politely asking everyone to please disperse. It’s such a visual moment. Supposedly it was recorded at First Avenue. Supposedly, the kid who yells the expletive is Soul Asylum’s Dave Priner. Supposedly the cop was Danny Murphy’s father. Supposedly, the Replacements put their original demos in the river and set them adrift, hoping Prince would discover them, ala the infant Moses in the Nile in a reed basket…There are a lot of what ifs with a band like The ‘Mats. And a lot of could have been...But what they left behind is like a great promise that might still come true.
...The Replacements, one of rock’s closest near-miracles...Kids Don’t Follow. A song like this makes sure they never will…