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20 facts for the owner of the Slim Dunlap poster

The poster is an incredible artifact of rock & roll history and a true original that celebrates a true original: Slim Dunlap.

Jon Clifford, Minneapolis music superfan and owner of Hi Fi Hair in Loring Park, who wanted to do something positive with the sorrow he felt about Slim being struck down in February 2012 with a crippling stroke.
MinnPost photo by Jim Walsh
  1. What you hold in your hand, what you or some smart museum curator purchased via the Songs For Slim auction house shortly after it went up for bid in late summer 2013, is an incredible artifact of rock & roll history and a true original that celebrates a true original: Slim Dunlap, guitarist for Minneapolis trouble boys The Replacements, longtime Curtiss A collaborator, ace singer/rocker/songwriter, and “Proof of the existence of God, a guitar genius, a role model, a credit to the gene pool,” as fellow rocker/songwriter Tommy Womack put it in his ballad “The Replacements.”
  2. Several different shades of Sharpie (primarily blue, black, and silver) account for the 142 musicians’ autographs that are splashed across your prize, a 1993 Medium Cool Records promotional poster for Slim Dunlap’s killer solo debut CD, “The Old New Me.” 
  3. The artwork, designed by Minneapolis artist Cat Gilfillen, consists of a silhouette of a photo of Slim in all his classic guitar-slinging splayed-legged glory, taken by Crackpot and Flipside Records founder Dave Biljan at the old Crackpot/Gear Daddies nerve center/rehearsal space that is now the location of the Wedge Co-Op in Minneapolis.
  4. The autographs were procured by the indefatigable Jon Clifford, Minneapolis music superfan and owner of Hi Fi Hair in Loring Park, who wanted to do something positive with the sorrow he felt about Slim being struck down in February 2012 with a crippling stroke that left the guitar hero in a wheelchair and reduced his wonderful wry voice to a whisper. 
  5. Clifford’s quest began on March 3 at a benefit for Slim at Famous Dave’s in Uptown, and ended Aug. 21.
  6. “The ‘Songs For Slim’ thing started, I just recently opened this salon, so I don’t really have money to put in the kitty, but I wanted to do something,” Clifford said on Aug. 21, sitting in the picture window of Hi Fi Hair with the framed poster. “My original thought was to have a couple of musicians sign it and they can auction it, and it just kept going.”
  7. That day at Famous Dave’s he got signatures from Curtiss A and members of the Suburbs, Flamin’ Oh’s, and a few others, and decided he wanted to get more.
  8. All surviving members of the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, and the Suburbs signed.
  9. So did Jakob Dylan, the Trashmen’s Tony Andreason, Babes In Toyland’s Lori Barbero, and Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner.
  10. “When I first started doing it,” said Clifford, “the response was sort of, ‘You’re gonna do what with this? OK, whatever.’ And after about three or four shows, it became, ‘Hey! Do you have the poster?!’ Or I’d get a call or email from someone who wanted to sign it. I took it backstage at The Rock For Pussy show (in May at First Avenue) and that’s when it hit me that this was a really big deal. People really wanted to sign it.”
  11. People like former Vikings punter and musician Chris Kluwe, author/comic/Daily Show co-creator Lizz Winstead, and record producer/label founder/former Replacements manager and “Songs For Slim” instigator Peter Jesperson.
  12. Clifford’s favorite signature came from the man himself. “[Slim’s wife] Chrissie [Dunlap] called me and said, ‘Slim wants to sign the poster.’ So I brought it over there (to the Dunlaps’ home in Linden Hills), and it was about half full at the time. It was amazing. It was one of the most powerful moments in the world. He was just holding it, and looking at it, and raising it up to see it. His only words were, ‘We are so blessed.’ He held the pen, and signed it right there on his right leg.”
  13. The cast of signees includes Biljan, John Eller, Mary Lucia, Chris Osgood, Tom Cook, Rob Rule, Jenny Russ, Bobby Z, Little Man, Dan Israel, Ken Chastain, Robert Wilkinson, Chan Poling, Terry Walsh, John Eller, Gary Louris, Marc Perlman, Frankie Lee, Erik Koskinen, Robert Wilkinson, Gini Dodds, Steve Price, Steve Brantseg, Monty Lee Wilkes, Ken Chastain, Bill and Ernie Batson, Bongo John Haga, Brian Drake, Kevin Bowe, Sprague Hollander, Johnny and Tommy Rey, Phil Solem, Paul Odegaard, Adam and Noah Levy, Jim and Dave Boquist, and KFAI deejay Jackson Buck.
  14. Cancer survivor and former Prince & The Revolution drummer Bobby Z wrote, “Rock/live onward.” Chris Mars drew a little face not far from “A true legend – Angela from l’assasins,” “Love you Slim, John Freeman Mags,” “One of the very best, Ernie Batson,” “Your pal Chris (Osgood),” “Slim Moves The Earth, Molly Maher,” and “Modest and talented, my favorite combo – Gini Dodds.”
  15. The members of Wilco signed it after their show at Midway Stadium in St. Paul on July 10, and Jakob Dylan signed it after his show with the Wallflowers at the Myth in Maplewood July 9. The poster made it onto Bob Dylan’s tour bus at Midway, but Dylan never saw it.  
  16. Around the same time, The Replacements’ Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson signed it. Not long after, the band announced the first ‘Mats show in 22 years – in Toronto at Riotfest on Aug. 25.
  17. “All the Replacements were very enthusiastic about doing it,” said Clifford. “Unbeknownst to everybody else in the world, Tommy came into town to record some music with Paul and it was the big ‘Mission Impossible’-nobody-can-know-they’re-recording-together type of situation. So [local rock historian/journalist/tour manager/’Songs For Slim’ volunteer] P.D. Larson said, ‘OK, Paul and Tommy are both hip to doing it but I have to bring it over to the recording studio because they don’t want anyone around, or know they’re recording.’ So P.D. hung out at Dunn Bros. coffee (in Uptown) and they came over during a break and signed it. I ran into Tommy the following night and thanked him and he was great, and Chris [Mars] was the same way. He came down [to Hi-Fi Hair] and double-parked on his way to a Twins game and signed it.”
  18. The prize you hold in your hands is the only one that exists. Clifford made one copy, framed it, and gave it to the Dunlaps, who also own the PDF file of the poster, “in case they want to make coffee mugs or something.”
  19. The energy of this treasure, a fomentation of all those people gathered at different times in the solemn Slim celebration, is palpable and inspiring.
  20. “It’s given me a chance to say thank you to, number one, Slim,” said Clifford. “I can’t say that I knew him personally, but his genuine life, his genuine everything, kind of speaks to everyone about who he is. I hope it raises some good money for him. I have no idea how much it will bring. Fifty dollars or $2,000, I don’t know. Outside of that, I hope it raises some awareness about Slim and his situation. I hope it becomes a catalyst for other people doing stuff, because I see a great community here, working together, all the time.”