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|Birth name||Christopher Edward Mars|
|Born||April 26, 1961|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, producer, painter|
|Instruments||Drums, vocals, guitar, keyboards|
|Labels||Bar/None, Smash, Sire, Twin/Tone|
|Associated acts||The Replacements|
Chris Mars (born April 26, 1961) is an American painter and musician. He was the drummer for the seminal Minneapolis alternative-rock band the Replacements from 1979 to 1990, then joined the informal supergroup Golden Smog before beginning a solo career. Mars more or less left music behind in the late '90s in order to concentrate on his artwork.
In Rolling Stone's Alt Rock-a-Rama Mars detailed the kind of hell-raising that he and the other Replacements—singer-guitarist Paul Westerberg, lead guitarist Bob Stinson, and bassist Tommy Stinson—indulged in when they were together. Among other incidents, Mars was thrown in jail for playing chicken with an unmarked police car. Also, in conjunction with Bob Stinson, he sabotaged a gig where he knew there would be a lot of record-industry personnel in attendance by going to a novelty store and purchasing some bottles of stink juice.
Mars appeared on only a few songs on the Replacements' final album, All Shook Down (1990), and left before the subsequent tour, unhappy with Westerberg's increasing control of the band. The Replacements disbanded on July 4, 1991, the final date of the All Shook Down tour.
In late 2005 Mars rejoined Westerberg and Tommy Stinson to record two new songs for a Replacements best-of compilation, Don't You Know Who I Think I Was? (2006), but he only sang backing vocals on the tracks—Josh Freese did the actual drumming. Mars also contributed a cover of Slim Dunlap's 1996 song "Radio Hook Word Hit" to the 2013 EP Songs for Slim, a recording made to help pay the hospital bills of the former Replacement (Dunlap replaced Bob Stinson in the band's lineup in 1987), who had suffered a stroke one year earlier. Songs for Slim is credited to the Replacements, but neither Westerberg nor Tommy Stinson appears on "Radio Hook Word Hit," just as Mars doesn't appear on the EP's other four tracks. Mars didn't join Westerberg and Stinson for the Replacements' 2013-'15 reunion tours.
Mars's first solo album, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades (1992), was a revelation for fans and critics used to his fairly limited role in the Replacements. He wrote every track and played drums, guitar, and keyboards in addition to handling all lead and backing vocals. Except for the presence of bass guitarist J.D. Foster and brief contributions from Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner and Dan Murphy, it was essentially a D.I.Y. affair. Mars followed it up a year later with 75% Less Fat.
Mars wasn't interested in touring behind his third album, Tenterhooks (1995), so another band, the Wallmen, toured behind it with a cardboard cutout of Mars placed onstage. He released one more album, Anonymous Botch (1996), before fully turning his attention to his visual-art career.
His painting style, examples of which grace all of his album covers, is marked by nightmarish landscapes and grotesque, distorted figures. He draws inspiration from his older brother's struggle with schizophrenia.
He generally likes to use oils or pastels, although he ventures into other media, like acrylic and scratchboard. He created a 13-minute animated film about his work titled The Severed Stream.
His work, which has fetched prices of more than $30,000, has been shown throughout the United States and Canada. He has had solo exhibitions at Billy Shire Fine Arts, The Erie Art Museum, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Steensland Museum, Coker Bell Gallery and the Mesa Arts Center.
Mars lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Sally Mars.
- Horseshoes & Hand Grenades (Smash, 1992)
- 75% Less Fat (Smash, 1993)
- Tenterhooks (Bar/None, 1995)
- Anonymous Botch (Bar/None, 1996)
- "Biography of The Replacements". MTV.com. October 17, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
- "Chris Mars". TrouserPress.com. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
- Bahn, Christopher. "Interview: Chris Mars". The A.V. Club. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
- City Pages – Hospitals of the Spirit Archived April 20, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
- "Chris Mars- In Preparation of Barrier Transcendence". Billy Shire Fine Arts. Billy Shire Fine Arts. 2009. Retrieved October 14, 2014.
- "Chris Mars: Subderma at JOHNATHAN LEVINE GALLERY". Jonathanlevinegallery.com. Retrieved October 22, 2011.