Things were a bit ugly when Mars, after ten years of loyal service, parted ways with Westerberg and company (it also signaled the downfall of the band he co-founded). Mars is not one to hold a grudge, which is a good thing. No matter what he accomplishes, being a Replacement is mandatory obituary fodder.

"It's nice, because now that I've done things on my own, people are starting to consider me outside of the Replacements," he acknowledges. "But it's always going to be there, I always get questions about it and I'm used to it. It's part of my life; I spent a lot of time there. I guess we made some sort of a mark. It's interesting to hear people say we've influenced people. When you're inside of it, you don't really know--you just did what you did."

Out of different climes come different types of art, and the arduous Minnesota winters have had their effect on Mars. "The winters get just dreadfully long sometimes," he groans. "It is taxing, and it can be depressing--the overcastness, the deadness of everything, the cold. But it's good for creativity; when it's a nice day, you're always thinking, 'Geez, I should be out where everybody else is.' In the winter, you don't have that. Everybody else is doing the same damn thing. Staying inside."

And that's a good thing, especially for a man of Mars' talents. All he's ever wanted to do is exercise them.

"I've worked my share of factories and fast-food places growing up; that's about the only work experience I have," says Mars. "But my head has always been down the creative avenue--that's why I got into the Replacements--and I guess that's still where my head is. I don't know what else I could do.

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