Chelsea Spear is a huge Replacements fan—the local busker already has a handful of Replacements covers in her repertoire, and she follows Bob Mehr, who wrote the Replacements biography Trouble Boys, on Twitter.
So, as it turns out, is Democratic vice presidential candidate Tim Kaine. He’s listed their record Let it Be as one of his favorites, and when Hillary Clinton shared a Spotify playlist of Kaine’s favorite tracks last week, you can bet that “Bastards of Young” was on there.
“[Mehr] made a joke on Twitter that Tim Kaine was a fan of the Replacements, and that means someone who knows the lyrics to ‘Gary’s Got a Boner‘ could be a heartbeat away from the presidency,” Spear laughs.
Spear had also read that the VP candidate was a recreational harmonica player, and she started wondering if maybe she could invite him to busk with her. There were initial reservations. “One of my friends said, ‘You’re gonna be put on a watchlist if you do that,'” she says. But that changed when she was volunteering at the Hillary for Boston offices while wearing a Pleased to Meet Me tee. (For the uninitiated, that’s the Replacements album that bears the artwork Spear has repurposed for the invitation you see pictured above.)
Upon seeing the shirt, a volunteer manager at the offices laughed about how Kaine was also into the Replacements. He said that if she did want to invite him to play together, he’d tweet out a link and see if maybe—although it was certainly a long shot—they might be able to make that happen.
So she filmed a video invitation at Sullivan Station over a few days with friend and Kingsley Flood keyboardist Chris Barrett. She shared it just before the first presidential debate, and it caught the eyes and ears of Mark Shanahan, who wrote about her “dare” in the Globe. Spear says that link may have even made it all the way to Replacements frontman Paul Westerberg’s manager.
“If rumor is true, Paul Westerberg has quite literally seen the video,” she says. “Though Tim Kaine has yet to comment on it.”
Kaine’s commitment aside, Spear says that her goal in filming the video and extending the invitation was really just to bring a little cheer to what has been a somewhat doom-and-gloom filled election season.
“If I can take even that 53 seconds of attention away from whatever ugliness is going on out there, and I can make people laugh, and I can make people smile and introduce someone to Let it Be, then I think that’s a good minor claim to fame to have.”
You can watch Spear’s call to Kaine here and—why not?—listen to Let it Be below. Happy election day!