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Violent Femmes

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.

With 1984's Hallowed Ground, Gano's lyrics began to reflect his devout Baptist upbringing, while the Femmes' music approached more traditional folk and country structures. Produced by Talking Heads' Jerry Harrison, 1986's The Blind Leading the Naked advanced towards a more mainstream sound; a cover of the T. Rex chestnut "Children of the Revolution" even became a minor hit. After the record's release, the Femmes temporarily disbanded: Gano recorded a self-titled 1987 album with his gospel side project the Mercy Seat, while Ritchie issued a series of solo LPs including 1987's The Blend and 1989's Sonic Temple & Court of Babylon for SST. (I See a Noise appeared on Dali Records in 1990.) In 1989, the group resurfaced with 3, and followed in 1991 with Why Do Birds Sing?, which featured the Femmes' deconstructionist cover of Culture Club's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?"

Following the release of the 1993 compilation Add It Up (1981-1993), DeLorenzo exited the Violent Femmes to resume the solo career he began two years prior with the release of Peter Corey Sent Me; his sophomore effort, Pancake Day, appeared in 1996. Former Oil Tasters and BoDeans drummer Guy Hoffman was tapped as DeLorenzo's replacement in time to record 1994's New Times for Elektra Records which proved their sole release for the label. Rock!!!!! was released in 1995 on Mushroom Records only in Australia; the live Viva Wisconsin followed on the American indie label Beyond in 1999, trailed early the next year by a new studio effort, Freak Magnet. In the spring of 2001, the Femmes released their first MP3-only album, Something's Wrong, through the website EMusic.com; it collected an assortment of rarities, including covers, acoustic live tracks, alternate versions, demos, and the like. In 2002, Rhino/Slash reissued their debut as a two-disc Deluxe Edition that featured twenty-two previously unreleased tracks, followed by Permanent Record: The Very Best Of in 2005. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

agould10499
You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in two da... Now you've started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least five songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters . This is so scary because it actually works
nicko252008
Yeah these guys should have been HUGE. if they were from LA they would have.
simonl760
Cheavinece what does it do
Say Arianna
Clap 5 times post this on 5 other songs and check your voice
You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in two days. Now you've started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least five songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
amye45
bobo can't help it, he's old..he wrote Dylan a letter back in the day that said unplug that guitar from the amp you no good talent-less hack
Obviously bobonnit.... . y o u don't get it.
Band of my childhood.

Rock.
On.
Violent Femmes!
Rip Tommy Ramone
Uh huh
Saq them at 930 club jn dc in 88 and again at first lollapalooza in 91. Amazing band
Is it sad that I only remember them cuz they were on Sabrina the teenage witch? I'm such a loser XD
They sucked back then and haven't gotten better with age
saw them in 89 for 3$
Saw them on my college campus back in 1989. They sucked live.
Im high as a lite and im so strung out
phil.lalli4
Add it up is my guilty pleasure song. I love the looks I get from people who have never heard the song before and they catch a few of the lyrics....
you like the femmes, you will love my band Gays against Homosexuals
ritchiec53
My cousin Brian Ritchie, most creative bass guitar player ever. Big reason they were so special.
My New York art school days still lesson to .
They should of been bigger
nice! my chick loves these guys
you broke your nose??? must ahve been a great time! hahaha awesome!
johnnydbrown
Saw them at the House of Blues in LA in February of 1995. Broke my nose via an elbow on the dance floor. Definitely worth it.
good s**t
1987 Rupp UK
I Dig The Black Girls is one of their best but Pandora please rotate it through. Femmes 4 ever
Don't read this, because it actually works.You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday, by the love of your life.Tomorro w will be the best day of your life. However, if you don't post this, you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading this, don't stop.This is so scary. Post this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done, press f6 and your lovers name will come up on the screen .This is so scary, because it works.
The violent femmes bring all their equipment on the bus.. And you can't f**k with the violent femmes
They had another song called dance motherf**ker dance which was a big hit too
I am so happy this song is playing in my ears.
Don't you know nothin'
You never tell on someone!!!
(Never Tell) <----- life lesson people & kick a$& song!!
I'd loved this band for years and for my littlest sister's sweet sixteen I took her to a Femmes concert at PDX Crystal Ballroom in 2000. Sooooo glad I did. One of the best concerts ever, a mix of abrasive, anthemic punk and jazzy jammed out weirdness. They love their fans and play what the fans love without remorse or butthurt.
Classic college rock.
I am a big fan of this band so subjectivity will be difficult, but any hardcore/tra d punk hater of these guys might want to look at it this way: a) punk was/is just a magazine that promoted alternative music of it's time (you know television, grandmaster flash, etc.) B) music is like mass transit, some people take the L some the 18 A, doesn't make em wrong, just on a different bus. But don't worry guys the Beatles will still always suck. At least we can all agree on something...
Meh
I stain my sheets
The s**t.
I always sing along to Blister In The Sun :)
One of my favorite bands of all time!
Blister in the Sun is one of the best songs ever!
I love Big Hands
seveerekaj
Poor kids...
adarkstar1
First concert I took my kids to. Think they where around 10 and 13.
Brian Viglione, previously of the Dresden Dolls is the new drummer for Violent Femmes!
This is a great 80's group.
Kiss Off is honestly my favorite song!
nicko252008
Gordan Gano is awesome!!
dcjunky2010
These guys rock!
Crazy xylophone solo on Gone Daddy Gone.
omsocr
This song is just amazing. It's that perfect mix of catchiness and thrash that it's not soft and lame but not full on screaming. The Femmes have their own genre that nobody can recreate.
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