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TOUR DATES (*=New Dates)

Thursday 8/21/03 Anaheim CA House of Blues Anaheim
Friday 8/22/03 Las Vegas NV Skin Pool Lounge (Palms Hotel)
Saturday 8/23/03 Del Mar CA Thoroughbred Club
Sunday 8/24/03 Ventura CA Ventura Theatre

Wednesday 9/17/03 San Francisco CA Great American Music Hall
Thursday 9/18/03 San Francisco CA Great American Music Hall
Saturday 9/20/03 Devore CA Hyundai Pavilion at Glen Helen

Saturday 8/9/03 Milwaukee, WI

Question for Brian from Nilton
Question for Brian from Kirt
Question for Brian from Erik
Question for Brian from Jeff
Question for Brian from Monica
Question for Brian from Renee
Question for Brian from Michael
Question for Brian from Stacy
Main ingredient Gordon…???
RE: Be That Guy
VF Video Compilation Project
Included in this issue is the second series of Q&A with BRIAN RITCHIE.
Thanks to EVERYONE for participating!
For upcoming show tickets:
8/21 ANAHEIM $32
8/22 LAS VEGAS $20-25
8/23 DEL MAR $Free$
8/24 VENTURA $22
Question for Brian from Nilton
Valeu Brian! (Thanks Brian!) Brigad?o cara! (Thanks a bunch man!)
I would like to say thank you very much, man! It must have taken you a long time to
answer all those questions. Your answer was beyond inspiring. You recommended not
doing things the way you did, but you know what occurred to me? There are probably
thousands of kids who gave up trying to learn, in school or not, and went back to the
streets (or jail) because they don?t know your story. I think that if they heard stories
like yours and the Femmes?, they would find somebody who was a lot like them and
happened to beat all the odds and reached professional success. They would probably
think like “Shit, maybe I can make it too! I hate school but I like rock”. As a psychologist
and musician-after-5 (and a Femmes fan), I?ve done shows in public and private schools
to gather kids and talk about life, professions, motivation, etc. That?s been the most
rewarding thing I?ve done in my life. Shit man, they need it so much. Specially kids who
don?t have o stable financial situation. Music works as a way to connect and offer them
hope, or at least keep them there. Like you said, it?s the only reason some kids would
keep going to school. It?s sad that schools in the US don?t have a musical education
program anymore. In Brazil, it?s certainly worse. Only few private ones do (not even
0.0000001% of all schools), and they?re expensive – only for rich kids. What I?m doing
now is trying to start a musical program after school hours, I already have a group at one
school. They learned to sing, play percussion, guitar, and bass. We recorded a CD with
(originals and a Femmes song) and gave it to friends and parents. We played Hallowed
Ground! I could go on and on, but what I?m trying to say is that your music came all the
way down to Brazil, reached Brazilian kids, and motivated them to stay in school and to
learn music and English – believe it or not! Believe me, most of them hate school, but
love rock. Sounds like that one part of your story… They always ask (in Portuguese):
“Who is this insane bass player?” “Why does the singer whine so much?”
“Why does the drummer play on a bucket? What does “dance, motherfucker” mean?”
I guess my last question to you, Brian, is…and ignore it if you want, I know I?ve asked
toooo many: How does it feel to know that your work and life story has helped kids
from a far away country? I personally think that it would be great if one day you
decide go to a school, talk about your life story, and jam with the kids. That would be
really something, man. OK, I?ll shut up now!!!
Have a good one
BR Hi Nilton,
It sounds like you are doing some good work teaching the Brazilian kids music. I’d love
to hear the Brazilian version of “Hallowed Ground”! To answer your question: yes I think
about the fans in far away countries and even a fan who might be right around the corner
from me in Brooklyn and I don’t know it. Because I was that fan once. It’s easy to be
isolated and geography is not the only way. Sometimes music is like a lifeline to people.
I spent countless hours listening to music in my room in Milwaukee as a teenager. I have
heard similar stories from a lot of my friends, many of whom have told me that rock was
their gateway into the English language. Obviously we wouldn’t have much reason for
going on after 23 years if not for the fans. I try not to forget that. Keep up the good work.
I do talk in schools and give demonstrations sometimes. If I come to Brazil I’d be happy
to do that for you.
Party on,

Question for Brian from Kirt
Brian, why is it that the Violent Femmes never headlined Lollapalooza?
I always thought the two of you would have been perfect for each other.
Were you ever asked to play the festival? Also how is it that the
Femmes always seem to play to huge crowds, but don’t sell very many

BR Hi Kirt,
We have played Lollapalooza at least 3 or 4 times. I can’t remember
what years they were. Maybe some people on this list can remember.
The funniest time was in Canada. We were supposed to play after the
Ramones but they didn’t want to go on before us (can’t blame them
really) so they just didn’t show up on time!!!!! The promoter asked us
if we would mind playing their slot while we waited for them to show
up. We said “sure” because then we would be done working and relax
and enjoy the Ramones. Poor guys. I miss them. I don’t know what the
relationship is between our record sales and our popularity, but it
seems like most people know some of our songs. Maybe we are a bit
like the Ramones in that sense.


Question for Brian from Erik
Brian, are there any instruments you dislike playing or can’t play? If so, why?
Erik from Ottawa
I bought some bagpipes in honor of my Scottish heritage. Playing them wouldn’t be
too much of a problem, but the maintenance is a pain. It’s like having an old car. So I
decided to give up, because I didn’t want to spend 1 or 2 hours a day taking care of
the thing. Harmonica always mystified me, but I got over it when John Popper
cancelled on our session for “Positively 4th Street” which can be heard on the
“Something’s Wrong” internet CD. When he didn’t show I walked over to Music
Row in NYC and bought one and figured it out. I love to play Arabic and Indian
oboes, but I get very frustrated with them because the reeds are really unreliable.
They freeze up and stop working. When you see the Master Musicians of Joujouka
they have about ten guys playing them, but 5 guys play and 5 are fixing their reeds.
That’s why I concentrate my wind playing on the shakuhachi now. No moving parts.
As far as string instruments are concerned I don’t really like playing small ones
because my hands are too big. Generally I enjoy playing any instrument for the
duration of time it takes for me to get the results I need on tape or in front of an
audience. Then I might never think about that instrument again. The only
instrument I can’t live without is the shakuhachi.

Question for Brian from Jeff
Here’s a question for Brian–

Have you ever found use for a tuba in VF performances (or anywhere else)? I
recall hearing one do the umpahs in the Add It Up collection’s “Degradation”
track, but haven’t heard one used elsewhere. Has it been tried?

Jeff Cross

BR Hi Jeff,

Yes we do use tuba sometimes. It’s a great instrument. My
nephew Carl Johnson usually sits in with the Horns of Dilemma
when we play in Milwaukee. The first time was when he was 9
years old. He went up there in front of over 10,000 people and
started playing so wildly that the rest of the band stopped and
just let him go off on his own. He brought the house down. You
can see him on the “Viva Wisconsin” CD booklet. He’s the kid.

We also play a lot with Dan Nosheny who is an amazing tubaist.
He plays with the Dilemma on the East Coast gigs. He is also
on my forthcoming “Shakuhachi Club NYC” CD that will be out
soon. On “Degradation” it was a synthesizer trying to sound like
a tuba.


Question for Brian from Monica
Hi Brian, Monica here from Phoenix,

Is Willie still your tour manager? When are you coming to Phoenix? Are you not
coming back because of what happened last time (things were thrown at them
during the first song). I need a Fenix Femmes Fixx. Hope to see you soon! I’ve
never seen the Femmes with Victor only Guy!


BR Hi Monica,
Willie is no longer with us but he still shows up from time to time. Rob Hirst from
Midnight Oil has come out with a book called “Willie’s Bar and Grill” and flew
Willie down to Australia for the book release party. We were there too, so we hung
with Willie for a few days. I don’t know about Phoenix. Last time we had an offer
there we declined because of that other stupid gig. If we could play in a nice theater
or club we would go.
Question for Brian from Renee
Hey Brian, Are there any plans for putting together a video of concert footage, or
even a rockumentary about the band, like They Might Be Giants and Sex Pistols
have? And if there is a video that is already in existence, please do tell. It’d be great
to see 20 years worth of Femmes on the big screen! I would also like to thank you
guys for coming to Perth earlier this year, it is becoming a trend for bands to boycott
the western side of Australia. Cheers!

BR Hi Renee,

That’s a good idea. We already put one out in Europe which had some
really stupid footage inserted by the editor. Otherwise it was OK.

The problem with a retrospective video is obviously tracking down
footage from all different sources, dealing with ownership issues and
licensing. I could imagine a very interesting video being assembled. We
haven’t been documented very much, like U2 or anything, but there would
still be enough to make a 1 1/2 or 2 hour video.

Unfortunately this would require a record company or video company to
support and finance the project. The legal fees alone on something of
this nature would be prohibitive. The unfortunate fact of the music
business is that the artist doesn’t really own any of their own
product, so we wouldn’t be able to do something of this nature on our
own without the cooperation of our previous record companies.

However it’s a great idea, thanks for bringing it up. Maybe I’ll make
some casual inquiries in the biz to see if anything like this is even



Question for Brian from Michael
Brian, I have been a fan for many years and seen you guys live over a dozen
times, also had the pleasure of meeting you guys on several occasions. Though
I think the best is when my band played the same festival as you guys (Bayfest)
and ended up staying in the same hotel ; )

Anyway I agree that the show was very energetic having Victor back in the band,
he is definitely a stage presence. In regards to the songs, you mentioned some
of the post-Victor stuff will hopefully get worked in which is cool. I have always
had one thing I would like to see. Have you guys ever considered NOT playing
Blister in the Sun at a show? It always annoyed me at some shows (particularly
at colleges or festivals) that it would be the one song all of the Frat boys and other
non-fans would jump up and dance/mosh to. Then whenever anything else was
played they really don’t care. I recently made a mix CD for myself of several songs
from every album which you guys do not regularly play – and it is great. Just
wondering if you would ever consider doing a set consisting of very rarely played
out songs.


Mike Galante

BR Hi Mike,
I think I remember meeting you on the elevator at Bayfest. If you’re the same guy.
That’s a wonderful idea, not playing “Blister in the Sun”. I actually thought of it
myself for the Australian tour because I am disgusted by the way the song is
being exploited for commercial uses it was never intended for in the first place.
Victor (who agrees with me on the basic point) talked me out of it by saying,
“Don’t punish the fans because of your beliefs.” As far as doing a concert of rare
material I would be all for it. The way to do it would be multiple nights at a small
club like maybe the Knitting Factory or Village Underground in NYC. Cheap Trick
and They Might Be Giants (both stellar acts in my opinion) sometimes do one
album a night for several nights. This would require some rehearsal, which is a
problem in our band. It’s a great idea and I will mention it to the boys, but I have
no idea what their reactions will be.
Question for Brian from Stacy

hey, i hope that i am not too late to ask brian a question…i have been
a fan for many years, and i have lots and lots of albums. i really like to
delve into them and could probably find one or two songs on each of
the 12 or so albums that i really really love. needless to say, not many
of these are heard at live shows. don’t get me wrong, i love the live
shows–love, love, love. at one show, i made a banner, and hung it
over the balcony for the band to see, requesting one of the more
obscure songs that i love so much. to my utter delight, they stopped
between songs, read my banner, admitted that they hadn’t played
that song in a very very long time, but then proceeded to improv
their way through it. i in a state of sheer glee. i was touched,
honored, thrilled, the whole nine. sorry, i tend to ramble, but here is
my question–is stuff like that aggravating to the band? do requests
annoy you, or throw a wrench into the show that you have already
planned? if so, i will cease and desist at once. i love the shows, i
love all of my cds, and i will always have that show as one of my all
time favorite memories. thank you for a great night!!!

BR Hi Stacy, Maybe this incident of the banner happened in St. Louis?
I remember that. “Breakin’ Hearts”. Was that it? I love requests.
Sometimes I bump into fans before the shows and ask them if there is
a song they’d like to hear. I try to comply if possible. Some songs we
can’t play without a keyboard player or the Horns of Dilemma. There
are some songs one or more of the band members can’t remember
therefore making it difficult to play. There are other songs we all
remember, but one or more of the band members simply doesn’t like
to play. Sometimes I can get them to play a song in that category if I
tell them it’s a request. So requests can be useful! As you may or
may not know, we don’t use a set list, I call the tunes on stage, so
throwing a wrench into a show we’ve already planned is not an
issue. There is no plan. The only annoying thing is if people shout
out the same song over and over again. If you shout it once I
probably hear it. And to start yelling “Add It Up!!!” after every song
in the set is silly because it’s a pretty safe bet that we will do
that one by the end of the show. Obscure requests are better. Some
songs I won’t call if I think the acoustics of the room are not right.
“Never Tell” is one of my favorite songs, but I never call it unless
we are in a good sounding room because the subtleties of the
song are lost in a college gymnasium for example. Then I don’t
care if people are requesting it. I hope that answers your question.
>I know some of you guys never want to see them again unless they
>start playing a better variety of songs, or release new material, etc…
>But I have NEVER seen them! So for me, seeing them live would be
>awesome, even if I was surrounded by drunk people who only
>wanted to hear the hits. Crappy and boring live Femmes are better
>than no Femmes at all.

Crappy and boring live Femmes? You have got to be fucking kidding
me. Any fan who has been to a show, be it 1 or 100 knows that you
don’t just get to watch a band play their songs, you get to experience
something new and be a part of it every time. I haven’t seen the
Femmes play since I moved out to Hawaii 4 years ago but before
that I saw them atleast a dozen times and each show was incredible
and brilliant. It’s such a release being able to feel the energy of the
band and know they’re totally feeding on what the audience is giving
them. My girlfriends and I would always rest a day or two before the
show because once the music starts its like having a 2 hour orgasm.
For me atleast. It doesn’t really matter to me whether they play new
stuff, old stuff, hell they could play Blister in the Sun 20 times in a row
and I’d still be stoked.


RE: Be That Guy
>The only thing that keeps you going is looking out into the audience and
>seeing some goofball enjoying the shit out of every song and singing along at
>the top of his lungs with every obscure lyric. Be that guy. Make it worthwhile.

James – I don’t think it can be said any better than that. I wanna be that guy!

Main ingredient Gordon…??
I for one can say that I wouldn’t still be listening to the Femmes today
if it weren’t for the mix. Gordon’s voice, Victor’s drums… and more
importantly Brians bass! I’ve listened to solo stuff from all the guys, and
none of it compares to what they time and time again accomplish
together. So as for Mr Knutsen’s dissing of the rythm section… my
comment is… whatever dude!
VF Video Compilation Project
The Femmes Video Project has now been updated from VCD —
DVD-R for many reasons but I hope to include not only all Video
footage possible but as well unreleased Songs, and Photographs
from the femmes. If any of you have ANY Femmes footage please
notify me reguardless if it’s listed on the page or not you might have
something different than I’m reffering to as well if you think it’s ok
Quality then please E-Mail me! And Remember I’m looking for any
type of footage TV Appearances, Videos, Commercials,
Promotional, Interviews Ect
Late Exodus
violentfemmeslist or violentfemmeslist