Tommy Stinson wasn't old enough to drink when he started getting kicked out of bars.

As a founding member of the legendary Minneapolis post-punk band The Replacements, the young bassist was even booed off the stage at Kirby's in Moorhead for one of the group's equally legendary drunken shambles of a show. As local legend has it, Stinson turned to the crowd as he was packing up and announced he would never play in Moorhead again.

Almost 20 years later, Stinson doesn't recall that night, but he's holding true to his word - he's playing the House of Rock in Fargo on Friday night.

Though the last Replacements lineup parted ways in 1991 (original drummer Chris Mars had split and Tommy's older brother, guitarist Bob, left in '86 and died of a drug overdose nine years later), the quartet's blue-collar rock ethos still pumps on Stinson's new disc, "Village Gorilla Head."

The 11 tracks had been kicking around for five years when Stinson's adoptive band, Guns N' Roses, went on hiatus - again.

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"The moment and opportunity came at the same time," Stinson says of the recording. "But now how do I feel about it? That was fun. I'm glad I did it and now I'm ready to start doing another one."

While Stinson enlisted fellow Guns-slingers drummer Josh Freese, guitarist Richard Fortus and keyboardist Dizzy Reed, "Gorilla Head" sounds more like latter-day 'Mats. He aligns it closer to the work he did with Bash and Pop and Perfect, the two bands he fronted in the '90s.

"This is probably a lot closer to the Bash and Pop record than Perfect, because for all intents and purposes, the Bash and Pop record was a solo record," he says from his home in Burbank, Calif. "The Perfect stuff was more of a group collaboration thing. This one is more like a solo record."

Since "Village Gorilla Head" was released in July, Stinson has toured the states and Europe with it and found support in "G N' R fans and old 'Mats fans as well as anyone else who crept out of the woodwork over the course of the year."

While he gets an even, though small, mix of requests for Roses and Replacements material, Stinson opts to play his own tunes.

Even in the revolving Guns lineup, Stinson rocks out on his own. When the group played the Fargodome in 2002, Stinson's suited and spiky-haired appearance hadn't changed from his final days with the 'Mats, but still stuck out when flanked by the puffy, jersey-wearing frontman, Axl Rose, Fortus' Klingon appearance and the mysterious KFC tub-topped guitarist Buckethead.

"I can't really be anything else but me," the St. Paul native says, describing his style with a laugh. "I'm not smart enough."

Stinson joined Axl's army when Freese invited the bassist to sit in on a session. His new outfit shocked and outraged diehard Replacements fans who saw G N' R as the antithesis of everything his former band stood for.

Stinson's still proud of the music he made with the Replacements.

"It's cool," he says. "I'm pretty happy that we left something that people are still listening to after 20 years."

That doesn't mean he's pining for the old days. Ask him who is easier to work with, the famously mercurial Rose or the 'Mats belligerent bard, singer/guitarist Paul Westerberg, and Stinson doesn't even need to think about an answer.

"Axl is a lot easier to work with," he responds.

As recently as 2002, Westerberg had openly discussed the possibility of doing a Replacements reunion in Rolling Stone, saying, "We'll get together again one day. It will take a while, or it might take a few legal swipes of the pen, but we ain't over."

Though the two worked together on Westerberg's 2002 album "Stereo," any chances of a future collaboration seemed scuttled when the singer dissed Stinson for his work with Rose.

When asked what fans could expect first, a new Stinson solo album, a Replacements reunion or the long-awaited arrival of Guns N' Roses' "Chinese Democracy," Stinson is quick with a reply.

"I'd be willing to wager the new G N' R Record will come out before any of those things."

Stinson might have to eat his own words and share a stage with Westerberg if the Replacements are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, their first year of eligibility.

Otherwise, Stinson might have to wait until 2012 when Guns N' Roses is eligible for induction, though it's anyone's guess who Axl will share the stage with then.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

John Lamb at (701) 241-5533

If you go

Who: Tommy Stinson

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Where: The House of Rock, Fargo

Info: Tickets range from $8 to $15 for this 21 and older show. (701) 232-6767