Steve Foley (drummer)
|Birth name||Steve Foley|
|Died||23 August 2008
|Associated acts||The Replacements, Curtiss A, Bash & Pop|
Steven Foley (1959 – 23 August 2008) was an American drummer who played for Curtiss A, Things That Fall Down, The Replacements, Bash & Pop, Wheelo and several other bands in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He played live for the most part but he recorded with songwriter Peter Lack and he appears in a Replacements video, "When It Began", nominated twice in the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards. Foley toured Europe and the United States with The Replacements and played their final show at Grant Park in Chicago in 1991.
Foley grew up in the Hopkins, Minnesota area with six siblings who were all interested in music. He played for the Overtones and Things That Fall Down who were among the favorites of Kevin Cole then of First Avenue, and with the Suprees, Snaps, Routine 11, Bang Zoom and Trailer Trash. Foley was a drummer for Curtiss A for ten years when he most likely did not record on Twin/Tone Records.
Two members of Curtiss A bands replaced two members of The Replacements. Bob Dunlap, now known as "Slim," replaced guitarist Bob Stinson, who was fired in 1986 after the tour for Tim and died at age 36 in 1995. Foley replaced drummer and painter Chris Mars, who left the band in 1990.
Westerberg and Tommy Stinson went out looking for a drummer in 1990, decided on Foley, who was willing, and asked him to drive them all to an audition. They skipped the audition which became their first practice together when their just-released album All Shook Down happened to be in his car's CD player—loudly when Foley turned on the ignition. The band as well as observers knew at the time that it was self-destructing.
Foley first played with The Replacements publicly for First Avenue's twentieth anniversary. After seeing him play with this band at the Orpheum Theatre, his father finally decided that Foley was a professional musician. Starting in January 1991, The Replacements toured Europe for Warner Bros.' Sire Records for All Shook Down as the opening act for Elvis Costello. But their review in New York was poor and they broke up, perhaps because Westerberg was in pursuit of a solo career, or they just quit. What is known is that Paul Westerberg, Mars, and Bob and Tommy Stinson who formed The Replacements played rock music that was perhaps the most legendary and might be the most influential so far to emerge from Minnesota. Second only to Bob Dylan, Westerberg has been called the state's most influential rock songwriter.
At number 69 (Don't Tell a Soul reached 57) on the Billboard 200, All Shook Down was The Replacements' second-best selling album. It received four stars from Rolling Stone who called The Replacements "America's best band". Allmusic didn't like it but gave the album four and a half stars, and, undated, appears to predict the band's breakup.
Early on The Replacements refused to make videos but later made commercial videos for Sire and MTV. Approximately at the time of Foley's tenure, "Merry-Go-Round" with a supporting video with Mars on drums reached number 1, "When It Began" with a clay animation video with Foley on drums reached number 4, and "Someone Take the Wheel" reached 15 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks.
When Warner's Rhino released four early Replacements albums from Twin/Tone in April 2008, Stinson and Westerberg discussed a reunion in Billboard. Westerberg was in favor of waiting for the reissues of the four Sire albums later that year. Which drummer they had in mind might be unknown. Stinson had praised Foley's work which was on beat rather than behind it like Mars. Westerberg was impressed initially that Foley knew so much of The Replacements' material but also criticized him as he did most of his bandmates. Josh Freese played drums and Mars contributed backup vocals but not drums on a Rhino compilation in 2005. Practice in October 2008 was with Michael Bland.
After The Replacements disbanded, Foley joined Stinson in Bash & Pop and in 1994 both Steve and brother Kevin Foley toured for and may not have played on their 1993 album Friday Night Is Killing Me on Sire / Reprise. In 1997 Foley recorded Something Wonderful with Lack in the band 69 later known as Wheelo.
More recently Foley sold Nissan cars. He married in 2007 and lived in south Minneapolis across the street from Mars, both of whom owned BMW motorcycles. Wheelo reassembled in late 2007 at least for practice throughout 2008, and according to a bandmate, "Steve's last cymbal crash came down during a raucous, frenzied, and ridiculously silly jam in the key of 'b'." He had been sober for fifteen years but he had been medicated for depression and anxiety. Foley died at age 49 from an accidental overdose of prescription medicine; though some papers reported it as a drug overdose. He is buried in Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.
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