Like A Rolling Pin

Album: All For Nothing/Nothing For All (1997)
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Songfacts®:

  • "Like A Rolling Pin" is a parody of Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone." Playing upon the original song's opening lyrics ("Once upon a time you dressed so fine, threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?"), it opens with, "Once upon a time, you threw the 'Mats a dime" ('Mats was The Replacements' nickname, taken from "placemats"). The song might be forgettable if not for its amusing origin story.

    The year was 1990, and The Replacements were in Oceanway recording studio in Hollywood, recording their seventh and final (they didn't know it would be their final at the time) studio album, All Shook Down. Bob Dylan was in the same building working on overdubs for Under the Red Sky, his 27th studio album. He stopped to talk to the 'Mats because his son was a fan and because they came from Minnesota, as Dylan did.

    A few nights later, the 'Mats were messing around and started ripping into a parodic "Like A Rolling Stone." In the beginning of the song, bassist Tommy Stinson can be heard saying, "Hey, Bob, come on in here and play guitar." It was a joke, but apparently Dylan heard him, because he walked into the booth moments later.

    'Mats frontman Paul Westerberg didn't see Dylan because his back was turned to the booth, but the rest of the band did. No one knew what to do, so they let Westerberg rip.

    Westerberg was embarrassed when he realized Dylan was in there, reportedly falling to his knees in apology. Dylan took it in stride.

    Two accounts float around about his reaction. The one in Trouble Boys by Bob Mehr says that Dylan took it in stride and said the song was "cool" and sounded like Jimi Hendrix. Another, shared by producer Scott Litt in a 2012 New Yorker interview, says Dylan walked out after asking, "You guys rehearse much?"

    Dylan hung out with the group after that. He brought his son Jakob (of the Wallflowers) and daughter Anna in to see them. He liked that they played in a circle while they recorded, the way Dylan did when he was coming up.
  • The Replacements didn't include the song on All Shook Down, but they did include it on their 1997 compilation All for Nothing / Nothing for All.

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