Violent Femmes Tickets for Sale

Like many promising rock acts, Milwaukee trio Violent Femmes had their finest hour on their first album. The fact that the band still exists some 15 years later is largely based on the strength of that album, the band's 1982 self-titled effort. The Femmes appeal lies in the fact that singer-guitarist Gordon Gano sings and writes songs like he's the mutant offspring of Lou Reed and Jonathan Richman backed by the whacked-out skiffle band of bassist Brian Ritchie and drummer Victor DeLorenzo.

The Violent Femmes are a rock n' roll band, originally forming in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the early 1980s. Gordon Gano (singer/guitarist), Brian Ritchie (bassist) and Victor DeLorenzo (percussionist) founded the group and were discovered by James Honeyman-Scott (of The Pretenders). They signed to Slash Records and released a self-titled album in 1983. The music was an innovative combination of folk and punk. The group quickly had a small, cult following that never burgeoned into widespread popularity, although a few songs from this album did get some fame, the songs being "Add it up," "Blister in the sun," and "Kiss off." The debut album went platinum ten years after its release.

The textbook American cult band of the 1980s, the Violent Femmes captured the essence of teen angst with remarkable precision; raw and jittery, the trio's music found little commercial success but nonetheless emerged as the soundtrack for the lives of troubled adolescents the world over. The group formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the early '80s, and comprised singer/guitarist Gordon Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie and percussionist Victor DeLorenzo; Ritchie originated the band's oxymoronic name, adopting the word "femme" from the Milwaukee area's slang for wimps. After being discovered by the Pretenders' James Honeyman-Scott, the Violent Femmes signed to Slash and issued their self-titled 1983 debut, a melodic folk-punk collection which struck an obvious chord with young listeners who felt a strong connection to bitter, frustrated songs like "Blister in the Sun," "Kiss Off" and "Add It Up." Though never a chart hit, the album remained a rite of passage for succeeding generations of teen outsiders, and after close to a decade in release, it finally achieved platinum status.
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The following year, The Violent Femmes released Hallowed Ground, which moved the group to a more country music sound. The third album, The Blind Leading the Naked was more mainstream, pop-oriented, resulting in a minor hit with "Children of the Revolution" (originally by T. Rex). The group then disbanded, with Gano releasing an album in 1987, the result of a gospel side project Mercy Seat. Richie also released several solo LPs. The group came back together in 1989, releasing 3 and then Why Do Birds Sing? (1991).

DeLorenzo left the group in 1993 to pursue a solo career. Guy Hoffman (formerly of the Oil Tasters and BoDeans) replaced him in time to record New Times (1994, Elektra Records). Rock!!!!! (1995, Mushroom Records) was released in 1995, in Australia only. Viva Wisconsin, a live album, was released in the United States in 1999 on the independent label Beyond, and was followed by Freak Magnet in 2001. Something's Wrong (2001) was an album of covers, alternate versions of old songs, demos, and acoustic live performances, and was released as an MP3-only album through Emusic.com.

In a sad testament to the band's artistic decline, the Femmes stooped to re-recording "Blister In The Sun" and a new version of the song, titled "Blister 2000," for the Grosse Pointe Blank soundtrack in 1997. Of course, the original is far superior.

The Violent Femmes Discography Year Title Label
1983 The Violent Femmes Slash/Rhino
1984 Hallowed Ground Slash/Rhino
1986 The Blind Leading the Naked Slash
1988 3 Slash
1991 Why Do Birds Sing? Reprise
1994 New Times Elektra Records
1995 Rock!!!!! Mushroom Records
1999 Viva Wisconsin Beyond
2000 Freak Magnet Beyond
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