List archive online at

TOUR DATES (*=New Dates)

Saturday 9/13/03 Noblesville IN WRZX XFest Verizon Center Tuesday
9/16/03 Petaluma CA McNear’s Mystic Theatre Wednesday 9/17/03 San
Francisco CA Great American Music Hall Thursday 9/18/03 San Francisco
CA Great American Music Hall Friday 9/19/03 Santa Cruz, CA The
Catalyst Saturday 9/20/03 Devore CA KROQ Inland Invasion Hyundai

UpcomingnTour Dates & Ticket Info
It All Adds Up
RE: VF Video Compilation
Violent Femmes: The Question That Remains

For upcoming show tickets:

9/13 XFest – Noblesville Indiana – Verizon Music Center Main Stage:
Godsmack, Seether, Alien Ant Farm, Violent Femmes, & Eve 6 Coors Light
Second Stage:
Mudvayne, Powerman 5000, Smile Empty Soul, Ill Nino, & SR-71
TICKETS: Tickets will be available for ONLY $19 for lawn, $29.00
(reserved upper pavilion) and $39.00 (reserved lower pavilion & pit)

9/16 Mystic Theatre – Petaluma California Doors 7:00 Show 8:00pm 21+ Show (Limited
Seating) $30

9/17&18 Great American Music Hall – San Francisco California Doors 8:00 Show 9:00 General Admission $26
Tickets available in person at the Great American box office or by
downloading the fax form at Tickets also available
online at or or charge by phone
415.478.2277) Tickets also available at all outlets
including Rasputin Music & Giants Dugouts.

9/19 The Catalyst – Santa Cruz California
21+ Doors 8:30 Show 9:30 $25 in advance, $28 at the door
Purchase tickets in advance from or
or call 831-423-1338 for “at the door”

9/20 KROQ Inland Invasion II – Devore California – Hyunda Pavillion
The Cure, Duran Duran, Violent Femmes, Echo and the Bunnymen,
Dashboard Confessional, Psychedelic Furs, Hot Hot Heat, Bow Wow Wow,
Interpol, General Public, Fountains of Wayne, Soft Cell, Berlin,
Dramarama Doors at noon $40 (price includes parking & facility fees)
venue website Tickets are available at
all ticketmaster outlets including Tower, Warehouse,Ritmo-Latino,
Robinson’s May. Charge by phone
213.480.3232 or 714.740.2000. Tickets are on sale
now, but listen to KROQ for the next 3 weeks for your chance to
win.Call 800-520-1067 to win.

It All Adds Up
The Violent Femmes are so well-regarded that the nonmainstream band
headlined Woodstock ’94. Among the sounds the Femmes influenced is the
alternative rock of the Smiths, the pop-punk of Blink-182 and the indie
rock of Ben Kweller. But no one looks or sounds like folk-punk Femmes.
They’re just too bizarre to duplicate. Femmes bassist Brian Ritchie
says that’s good, because he’d rather inspire people to be original, than to
influence musicians to become copycats. “What we do comes out of a
certain time and place, and three really weird individuals,” he says.
“So there would be no reason (anyone else) would organically sound like that. It would
have to be imitation.” The strangeness of the Femmes is led by singer Gordon
Gano, who, Telecaster guitar in hand, has been pegged for two decades
as an angst-ridden vocalist who sings about love, lust and Jesus with
the zeal of a man on fire, metaphorically at least. Although, when this reporter
suggests to Ritchie that Gano sounds crazy and not just angst-ridden, he laughs hard.
“You’re putting words in my mouth. As long as you phrase it like
you’re the one who said that, I won’t disagree with you,” he says, then changes tone.
“Nah, I think you can really tell about how Gordon’s mind operates by
listening to the lyrics of his songs.” What Ritchie means is that
Gano’s lyrics, many of them indelible in punk history or just plain
peculiar, are contradictory and irreconcilable but are true to Gano’s nature:
“Let me go on, like a blister in the sun. Let me go on. Big hands, I
know you’re the one.” “I look at your pants and I need a kiss.” “I was
with a whore in Copenhagen, drinking $800 worth of champagne in Kroner …
Death sits on all our laps, while Christ the redeemer towers high over
Rio.” “Old Mother Reagan went to Heaven, but at the Pearly Gates, she was
stopped.” “Yes sir, I come when you call, and yes sir, yes sir, yes
sir, sweet Jesus, my all-in-all.” “Mo my momma momma mo my mum.”
During the dawn of the Femmes, in the early 1980s, the band was played
only on college-radio stations. But now, Femmes songs are played on
’80s radio stations, on music-TV shows, and in movies for
Generation-Xers, such as “Grosse Pointe Blank.” “We were not popular.
We were not embraced by anybody in those days, except our fans,” Ritchie says.
“Now people have this impression that `Blister in the Sun’ was this
gigantic hit, like `She Blinded Me With Science’ by Thomas Dolby. “We just
stuck around long enough, and the fans kept coming to us. So now, I
guess, we’re kind of popular. But it’s a strange popularity. It’s so
word of mouth. It’s so underground.” The sound of the Femmes was inspired by Lou
Reed, the Ramones, Sun Ra and Television. Ritchie plays loping, melody
lines on an Ernie Ball Earthwood acoustic bass, which sounds something
like an upright bass. The jazz-trained drummer uses brushes and a tranceaphone, which
he fashioned himself. It’s “a tom-tom with a metal bushel basket on
the top of it, mounted on a snare drum stand,” the drummer has said. The band began
in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1982. In the rare warm months of summer, the
group didn’t want to be locked indoors. So it practiced songs on sidewalks with
an open guitar case. “We would go out in the street, and play the (songs)
we knew, and run through the ones we didn’t know. And that’s how we
got into this nonrehearsal mode we’ve continued all these decades,” Ritchie says.
“We weren’t working hard. It was just kind of fun.” To this day, the
band never practices. In fact, for almost a decade, original drummer
Victor de Lorenzo left, and when he got back into the fold a year ago,
the band performed cold. “He hadn’t played with us for eight or nine
years, and we just went up onstage and played,” Ritchie says and
laughs heartily. “We weren’t really too concerned. I don’t know if
that’s unprofessionalism, or if it’s arrogance or self-confidence.” Seriously, Ritchie contends that
rock music should be raw like that. “If you look at any band that
starts out very raw and ends up very polished, the raw stuff is always better. If you
think of the Kinks … the Stones,” he says. “Van Morrison, he does raw
stuff and sophisticated stuff well, but he’s an exception.” In the recording
studio, Ritchie has played an eight-string bass, a 12-string bass and a
one-string Japanese bass. But he doesn’t rehearse any of those instruments.
“Here’s a scoop for you. I never touch the bass guitar unless I’m on
stage with the Femmes. But I do practice music a lot, but I practice
other instruments,” he says. That is, when he’s not been on tour with
the Femmes, for the past seven years, he’s been writing Japanese music
for bamboo flute, he says. “I’m pretty good at reading Japanese music,”
the says. “And I can compose with Western notation, but my
sight-reading is pretty poor.” If you think that’s unusual, consider this. Ritchie began
his career as half of an Irish folk duo. That’s what he was doing when he
and Gano decided to play together. Ritchie has since played a lot of
jazz, blues and world music on his own solo albums. “It’s a lot of fun to get on
stage and act like a fool, and look at these young kids, and rock out
really gonzo,” he says. Then, “I like to turn around and do something that’s
completely the opposite, that’s really meditative and introverted. You’ve got to
balance things out, or you turn into Axl Rose, or even worse. You can die from it.
You can end up like Kurt Cobain or Jimi Hendrix, if you don’t balance
out the music.” Wait. Ritchie’s personal life has been odd, too. He
met his wife at a Femmes show. She’s a mosquito scientist from Sri Lanka.
“She wanted an autograph. I invited her to cocktails and we hit it off,”
the says. “Until recently, she was in charge of the West Nile virus
program in New York City, but she quit (last month).”
With the Femmes, Ritchie has played gay bars, Carnegie Hall, the North
Pole and Woodstock ’94. But the band now only plays concerts that
appeal to band mates. The group doesn’t even have an album in works.
Ritchie won’t say why. “I think it’s always a great time to make
music, but I’m not sure we’re going to,” he says. “It’s just a matter of
having the will to do it. Going to the studio to record, or even writing them,
could be a problem at this point.” Could this be a Gano problem? He laughs.
“I don’t want to elaborate too much.”

Doug Elfman
RE: VF Video Compilation Project
Hi Nick,
Of course I would be willing to share a set of the master tapes from
the original VF Video Comp. I thought I understood from your earlier
messages on the list that you weren’t interested in any of that
footage because it wasn’t good enough quality. I also have a few other pieces to contribute
including the Blister 2000 video! Just let me know where to send it.
Also, did you notice that the All I Want video is now available to
view at I can’t get it to load but if someone can, is there a
way we can capture a copy of it?


PS – Anybody curious what Guy Hoffman is up to these days?
I feel better knowing he’s banging the skins again!
Check out
Violent Femmes: The Question Remains
The question remains: “Are they still . . . well . . . the Femmes?”
That trademark raw angst and sexy sarcasm seem impossible to maintain
after all these years. We shall see. While tearing the shrink-wrap from a new
Violent Femmes album, even loyal fans wonder, “Are they still . . . well . . .
the Femmes?”
That trademark raw angst and sexy sarcasm seem impossible to maintain
since the early ’80s. But “Freak Magnet” is powerful, and jittery as a
double espresso, its bitterness ameliorated by the creme of humor. Some
free-association from “Happiness Is”: I don’t know what one means by happy / I’m happy
spasmodically / If I eat a chocolate turtle I’m happy / When the box is empty I’m
unhappy / When I get another box / I’m happy again / Happiness is a word for
amateurs. Gravity and juvenility meld smoothly here: the irreproachably
Christian lyrics of “Rejoice and Be Happy” reference lead singer Gordon Gano’s Baptist
upbringing, but are paradoxically followed by the gleefully vulgar “Mosh Pit.” A
14-year-old acquaintance (who recently referred to the Beastie Boys as
“middle-aged men” and who believes his age group discovered the Violent Femmes) offered
thoughtful commentary: “‘Freak Magnet’ is totally the best one ever.
When Gano yells, ‘Mosh pit, mosh pit!’ he rocks! And the album cover is, like,
all freaky and cartoony. You could say that in your review.”
So I did.
Sarah Sabalos LaSpaluto
violentfemmeslist or violentfemmeslist