And what about a Replacements album or tour?
Well, for the first 10 minutes, I thought, "Yeah! I'm ready." After a couple of hours, it was like, "Uchhh, man, you've got to be kidding." (Laughs) It's possible. I'm closer to it now than I was two years ago, let's say that.
People describe you as a recluse. Do you feel like one?
Like a wreck-loose? No, I don't. People toss that around when they think of me as a performer who doesn't perform. But I'm just changing hats. The way I look at it, it's taken a long time to go from childish to childlike, and shed a protective shell you need when you go out and perform. I felt pretty naked, and not that confident as a performer. So of course, one falls into substance abuse and all that. I don't [perform] as much as most people do. But I go lots of places in my brain.
Are you worried that if you go back on tour, you'll start drinking again?
That's not the major flaw. I think, "Oh, I'd have to re-learn the songs, sing lyrics from 20, 30 years ago." I talk myself out of it before I'm even there.
And in the same breath, I feel disassociated, like a 15-year-old, in a lot of ways. I want to go back to doing it because it was a form of expression that I could do pretty well. I have a hard time living in the world. I'm a musician. When I'm around guys like me, I feel perfectly fine. When I'm around people who ask, "When are you gonna play again?" I feel uncomfortable.
Are you immune to large offers of money for a Replacements tour?
No, I'm not. I've had offers to play with them, or without them, that are becoming stupidly ridiculous, to the point where someone thinks I'm playing hard to get. And it's not like I'm wealthy. I'm getting by.
It was never about making money. If we can have a lot of fun, and make a lot of people happy, and make a lot of money – which means making a lot of other people money – then okay, I guess that's spiritually and economically sound.
Can you relate to people who'd be overjoyed to see a Replacements reunion? Is there a reunion you'd like to happen – a band you never saw, or one you did see and really want to see again?
No. (Laughs) In a word, nooo. Did you happen to see [name of 1960s rock legend redacted] on TV the other night? How could I say this delicately? It was painful for me to watch. If I'm gonna write a new song, I'd need to use a TelePrompTer onstage, to remember the words. Is that rock & roll, using a TelePrompTer? I don't know.
I guess I spent as much time trying to be un-famous as I did trying to be famous. I'd hate to start it all up again. And be crap at it! I'm probably just a gardener who's sick of the dirt.