Dean Clough

September 25, 2023

Portico Darwin: Paper Planes and Tim


<3 Minute Read
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Gosh, it's a shame you're not retired like I am.  If you were, you could fully utilize today's post.  But it's a Monday for you (another Saturday for me!), so you better not pour a Paper Plane and put on Tim.

"My God, Portico - even for you, that is obtuse."

Well, in the interest of relating to my working readers, this past Friday and at Happy Hour, I discovered two different things simultaneously:

  • a new cocktail, the "Paper Plane"
  • a remastered/remixed version of a favorite album, The Replacements' Tim.

Paper Plane
While I've published a cocktail recipe book previously, and consider myself a patron of the drinking arts, I had not heard of this absolutely Diamond Certified cocktail.  True story:  I recently ordered a shot of the SF go-to Fernet Branca at a local watering hole, and the female bartender AND a female patron asked if I had ever had a Paper Plane.

Of course, I thought they were both hitting on me (weren't they?), but rather it was because of a key ingredient in a Paper Plane:  an Amaro (Fernet Branca is also an Amaro) called Amaro Nonino

I looked it up, and it piqued my interest, as it seemed like a nice Italian take on a Whiskey Sour.  But I hesitated because Amaro Nonino is not inexpensive - even at a warehouse like Total Wine or BevMo it's $50. 

But finally, I caved.  As part of a massive bar re-stocking last Thursday, I included a bottle.  It was a very smart move.

Here is the recipe.

3/4 oz. Bourbon
3/4 oz. Aperol
3/4 oz. Amaro Nonino
3/4 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker three-quarters filled with ice.  Shake vigorously for 15 seconds.  Strain into a coupé or martini glass, and garnish with a lemon peel.  And get ready.

Because I think you'll agree this drink is Italy at cocktail hour in a glass.

The Replacements Tim
I made the cocktail and then listened to this on headphones.  Was I glad I did.

Because I have simply never heard an album as transformed as this, via a remastering and/or remixing.  That includes great renovations like Rush's Vapor Trails, Stone Temple Pilot's Tiny Music From The Vatican Gift Shop, and R.E.M.'s Monster.  What do I mean?  The famous producer Ed Stasium took this rock classic and completely refreshed it, dumping the original murky and flat (and shitty) mix for something bright and electric.  And f'ing Killer.

Some background.  To many, The Replacements, from Minneapolis, are the definitive indie rock band.  Formed in 1979 and throughout the 1980s, they released music now considered foundational, including the heavy-duty Let it Be.  Their talent was only outshone by their mindless partying and behavior, off- and onstage.  The Replacements were famous for shows that could be amongst the best or worst you've ever seen - on any given night.  The band split up in 1991 and never really hit the big time. 

Their stunning dysfunction is captured in a top-drawer biography of the band entitled Trouble Boys:  The True Story of The Replacements, a book I've read and highly recommend to anyone interested in rock music.

Tim was their major record label debut, and it was originally released in October of 1985 - nearly 40 years ago.  It was great then and since, but holy shit, this new release - included on a 4 disc retrospective - literally leaps from speakers and (especially) headphones. 

Where there used to be gunk - a morass of guitars, an inaudible rhythm section, and indecipherable vocals - there is now shimmer and clarity.  Again, I have not heard an album reinvigorated in this manner before.  Here's a quote from a recent review in Slate that captures my thoughts nicely:
It’s barely an exaggeration to say that Stasium’s new mix is like hearing Tim for the first time.  Sometimes when an eminent producer is tasked with a project like this, there is a tendency to over-tinker, to impose their own sonic vision to such a degree that it once again drowns out the band’s own work through overcorrection.  But every choice made here feels in concert with the spirit of the Replacements and everything that made them great.

For me, it is the new ability to hear the individual instruments that makes all of the difference.  I simply did not know they could play this well.

The reviewer also asks and answers the obvious question:  if this album had been released in this form from the beginning, would it have made a difference in terms of the band's overall success?  The author says "no," and I agree.

If you've read Trouble Boys, you'll understand why:  The Replacements are a sad story of mostly wasted talent.  I offer "Waitress in the Sky" and "Swingin' Party" on this new Tim as evidence.  

In fact, the whole album.  Wow.


I was humbled to see the elder stateswoman of our family, my first cousin Lally Darwin Heinz Esq., sing my praises in her own quasi-newsletter.  

Goodbye coast; NW through mountains and woods of NH & VT across a favorite route along the winding Ottauquechee River into Woodstock VT midafternoon.  Lunch places were either crowded or closing up.  Cousin Portico Darwin to the rescue.

We enjoy his blog commentary on music, politics and culture and the travel tips are golden.  But for Portico it really never would have occurred to me to march right into the intimidating Woodstock Inn, set amidst flowers back from the main drag.  With Portico beaming at me from San Francisco, we sailed through the grand doors, doormen, lovely lobby(ies), past the day time restaurant and onto the back porch.  Portico likes to match the cocktail to the setting and this was the day to follow his advice.

10 Seconds of Seriousness:  I sincerely appreciated hearing this! 

And for the record, here is the Woodstock Vermont Travel Guide Lally mentioned . . .

Thank you for reading this newsletter.  


The cool thing is that Tim is not the first Replacements album to be remixed to greater effect.  What's also fun is that while the new version of Tim is great because of its sheen and crispness, a remix from just a couple of years ago of The Replacements' penultimate album, 1989's Don't Tell a Soul, is the exact opposite.

Don't Tell a Soul was their last shot at stardom and popularity, and the production reflected it - but it was too smooth and too poppy.  It mostly flopped.  But in 2019, producer Matt Wallace remixed the album to make it sound more like The Replacements.  Oh boy, did he.   

So today, it's a Twofer Monday and I give you both masterpieces.  One is better because it's cleaner, the other because it's dirtier and together they showcase this band properly.  Because of the way both were packaged upon release, neither uses their original name or cover art.  Tim is officially Tim:  Let it Bleed Edition, and Don't Tell a Soul was re-issued as Dead Man's Pop.

None of that, of course, here on KLUFHere is the Ed Stasium remix of Tim, and here is the Matt Wallace remix of Don't Tell a Soul.  But with the original cover art.

About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.