With the 2014 reunion of legendary Minneapolis rock band the Replacements and the 2017 return of his long dormant Bash & Pop group, Tommy Stinson hasn’t taken much of a break since his gig as Guns n’ Roses’ bassist ended. While he’s done high-profile reunions the last few years, Stinson is ready to scale things back a bit. Hence the intimate acoustic tour with frequent collaborator/ guitarist Chip Roberts as Cowboys in the Campfire.
The duo play Lunchbox Records Wednesday.
“He and I had been writing together for 10 years or so now. But I was in Guns n’ Roses and then the Replacements thing happened. I’d gotten too busy to do other things – but we’d always joked about doing this band,” Stinson says traveling from his home in Hudson, New York, to the first gig of the tour in Philly.
Two years ago, neither musician had much on schedule for the summer, so they hit the road, taking the band’s name from one of Robert’s watercolor paintings.
“People seemed to like it. It’s a little different from Bash & Pop. It gives me an opportunity to do both things I like to do – acoustic, poignant stuff that you don’t have to fight with the amps to be heard,” he adds.
The material isn’t much different than what fans are used to.
“It’s just the approach,” he says.
Stinson knew of Roberts from the early days of the Replacements. He’s also Stinson’s ex-wife’s uncle.
“He was a hotshot guitar player in Philly through the ’70s and ’80s. He was playing shows when the Replacements started coming to town,” Stinson says.
The pair co-wrote Stinson’s “One Man Mutiny” album and material for Bash & Pop’s critically acclaimed 2017 comeback album, “Anything Can Happen” (which landed on several best-of-2017 lists). As Cowboys in the Campfire, they’re working on an upcoming EP before tackling the next B&P record.
It’s a complete 180 from working with Guns n’ Roses, touring arenas and knocking out three-hour sets.
“That’s how Axl rolls. I saw them a couple times last year. He’s not going to shortchange you. He’s going to give Bruce and everyone a run for their money.”
Although he has decades of material to pull from, Stinson caps the Cowboys’ shows at around an hour.
“A lot of people have jobs and the demographic that still listens to anything I do, they have to be up early,” he says. “We try to keep it an early show. Chip does all the driving. I don’t have a license and never did.”
Besides, he enjoys the intimacy.
“I’ve always preferred to have people close. When you’re playing an arena there’s a barrier and security,” he says of the audience. “We do our Cowboys’ shows and we get to smell ’em.”
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Where: Lunchbox Records, 825 Central Ave.
Tickets: $20-$50/$100 VIP.