By my count, this is the fourth book in recent memory about The Replacements. I’m certainly not complaining, as they are one of my favorite bands of all time. I once lied to my parents (gasp!) as a teenager to get to a Replacements show in DC on a school night at age seventeen, but that’s another story. While never claiming to be a biography, instead this book tells a story from someone who was actually there, tour after tour after tour, until (almost) the bitter end.
This is the journal of being in the smelly van with the band. Spirited hi-jinks regularly occur. By not actually being a member of the band seems to provide the author with a more balanced perspective. Roadie, and later tour manager, Bill Sullivan tells it like it was, with grainy, off-the-cuff photos included. There is some really funny stuff here. There’s also crap in here that will make you wonder how he survived for so long. It is insightful, hilarious, but sometimes tragic. While only one former band member gives a ringing endorsement, that shouldn’t stop you. Lemon Jail presents a highly entertaining look at a fantastic band that played for keeps out on the road. To the victor the spoils. –Sean Koepenick (University of Minnesota Press)