By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Apr 29, 2015 at 3:16 PM

Back when he was in high school, Graham Hunt – singer and guitarist for the Milwaukee-based rock band Midnight Reruns – was obsessed with The Replacements.

"They were always my favorite band in high school," Hunt said. "Absolutely total fanboy. I read like everything I could possibly find out about them on the Internet."

For Hunt and the rest of Midnight Reruns, those high school dreams are becoming a reality. The local rockers will take the stage with the legendary and beloved ’80s alternative music icons – reunited in 2012 and playing shows together the following year for the first time in two decades – when they make their return to Milwaukee on Saturday, May 2 at The Rave. It’s likely to be one of the most buzzed about shows of a year already packed with massive concerts – and there Midnight Reruns will be, playing opener.

"It’s pretty crazy for me," Hunt said. "I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet though. Until we start loading in, I don’t think it’s going to hit me."

The news was only made official a few weeks ago. However, when Hunt and the rest of Midnight Reruns – drummer Sam Reitman, guitarist Karl Giehl and bassist Brady Murphy – first heard about The Replacements’ return to Milwaukee, they had a good feeling they might be picked as the show’s opener. After all, they had also just spent some time last November with Tommy Stinson, recording their upcoming album with The Replacements’ bassist in his New York City studio.

"Our friend who managed an old band I was in manages Tommy Stinson, and he gave him our last record a while back," Hunt recalled. "He really liked it, I guess, and he’s been thinking about producing bands for a while because he has a studio in his house. So he said to Ben (Perlstein), ‘If these guys want to come to my house, we can do a record,’ and when we got that news, we’re like, ‘Yeah, we’ll go to Tommy Stinson’s house! Yeah, why wouldn’t we do that?!’"

The recording process for the new full-length album – thematically inspired by ideas of "confusion, anxiety and chaos … not knowing what’s going on," according to Hunt – with Stinson went very well. Hunt describing the bassist’s producing style as "more hands-off," mostly just letting Midnight Reruns do their own thing in the hopes of capturing the band’s live sound and energy. That is, until the final day.

"We only spent like four days with them, and on the last day, when we were adding all the extra stuff, we just bought a bottle of whiskey and stayed up until four in the morning, just adding a bunch of stupid stuff over everything and getting really excited about it," Hunt said.

"Some of it was cool," Reitman jokingly added. "Like, 30 percent of it was actually cool."

Midnight Reruns hopes to get the new album – the first since its 2013’s glowingly received self-titled record – out in the fall. Right now, however, the band is still in the process of shopping it around, hoping one of its current leads turns into something concrete.

Even though the record is currently in a limbo state, Midnight Reruns isn’t sitting still. A day before Saturday’s big Replacements show at The Rave, the group will release a new four-track EP, "Get Me Out," on Bandcamp. For those wanting something more tangible to own, the EP will also be released in a limited number of cassette editions.

"We don’t really know what’s going on with our record, like when it’s going to come out, and it’s been a really long time since our last album came out," Hunt said. "We just wanted to have new music, have something, so it doesn’t look like we’re just not doing anything. And also just for us to be doing something. We didn’t want to be sitting around waiting; we want to be active still."

The EP includes one song off the upcoming record as a single, as well as three songs with Stephen Strupp from Sat. Nite Duets ("He did it for a bottle of gin," joked Hunt) – two new songs exclusive to the EP and one cover of The Mistreaters’ "The Other Man" with all of the members switching instruments.

"Our boss at the Vanguard used to play with The Mistreaters, and he’s always super self-deprecating that band and doesn’t want to talk about it, but I felt like I had to ask him before we recorded it," Hunt recalled. "I thought he was going to say no, but he was super cool about it. He was like, ‘I don’t ever want to hear that sh*t again, but I’m really stoked you guys are doing it.’ So that was cool."

The EP is currently streaming via Punktastic. And as for the record, the wait is certainly pesky for Midnight Reruns – but performing on stage with one’s high school idols likely makes for a fine distraction.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.