City Pages: Bill Sullivan's memoir 'Lemon Jail' revisits his glory days as the Replacements’ roadie

By Erica Rivera
City Pages

Sullivan_Lemon coverBill Sullivan could tell you stories.

And in Lemon Jail: On the Road with the Replacements, a “more hysterical than historical” tour diary about his experiences as a roadie in the ’80s, he does just that.

It all started at the Walker Art Center, where Sullivan now nurses a Gluek’s as he recalls his past. His curly brown hair is a touch bedraggled, his goatee graying. He no longer quite resembles the “skinny and cute with guyliner” portrait of himself in the book.

Sullivan first heard the Replacements on KDWB during a shift at the Walker as a night guard. After the band played the museum, Sullivan befriended them, and in April 1983, he quit the guard gig and joined band members Paul Westerberg, Bob Stinson, Tommy Stinson, and Chris Mars, along with fellow roadie Tom “Carton” Carlos and manager Peter Jesperson, for the Replacements’ first national tour.

Lemon Jail, named after the band’s derelict van, takes readers on the road, behind the scenes, and in-studio over six years, highlighting tours with the likes of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, R.E.M., and X.

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