The 1st International Rock Awards (ABC-TV) 1989
If anyone wondered which came first, the idea for their appearance or the actual song itself, Paul Westerberg’s opening “What the hell are we doing here?” removed any doubt. But it sure was just a stroke of genius to get The Replacements to play this song from their current record on this “talent show” of sorts.
This short-lived music awards show was just another one crowding the airwaves back in the days when MTV’s impact on the medium was still settling. Westerberg acting irreverent could not have been unexpected, and his opening self-defacing insult wasn’t the only incident. In addition to sticking his tongue out at the camera during a close up, he later got a good poke back at the censors.
As was most certainly planned, the network bleeped out the key word in the song’s drug reference of “feeling good from the pills we took.” However, when he got to the song’s ending refrain of “it’s too late to turn back, here we go,” Westerberg spitefully changed it to “it’s too late to take pills” and managed to repeat it several times on live television getting his revenge.
This great moment was priceless to anyone who understands what this band is all about. One who got it was actor Matt Dillon who is seen at the very end of this video offering up a big whistle. The only thing missing for me was that as the show opener, the song could not prophetically live up to one of the greatest all-time Westerberg lyrics: “We go on after some lip-sync chicks.”