VIOLENT FEMMES – American Music Email List 9/6/2004

9/6/04 Online Issue
List archive available online

Tour Dates: (new dates in red)
9/11/04 Vitovia-Gasteriz Spain – Azkena Rock Festival

9/25/04 Seattle, WA End Fest

10/1/04 Baltimore, MD Power Plant Live
10/2/04 Norfolk, VA The Norva and

10/15/04 Arcadia, CA Santa Anita Park KROQ concert series.
10/16/07 Phoenix, AZ Celebrity Theater

12/3/04 London U.K. Forum
12/5/04 Camber Sands U.K. All Tommorows Partys (Southcoast of England)

12/31/04 San Diego, CA BIG NIGHT SAN DIEGO Qualcomm Stadium

In This Issue:
New Tour Dates
Milwaukee Show
Destination Ursa Major
RE:Dialogue with Delorenzo / Milwaukee & Chicago
RE:Dialogue with Delorenzo
RE:Dialogue with Delorenzo
Shakuhachi Club NYC show 7/31 at Tonic in NYC
Brian Ritchie Spanish Interview


Bigger! Brighter! Better! Visit and check out the new website design! Do you have a favorite VF story, photo or memory? Click the link at the bottom of the home page to say “Hi” to the NEW webmaster (just call him Gris) and let him know what you’ve got. He’s hoping to make the new site more fan interactive!


Milwaukee Show


I was at the Milwaukee show and I wanted to add that the Femmes played a Pogues song. In addition to playing a brilliant version of Freak Magnet they also played Life is an Adventure. Don’t give up hope on Victor learning the new songs, the show was a blast! I took my family and it was great to be able to dance to the Femmes music with my daughters.



Destination Ursa Major

I?m 35,000 feet above the earth, slowly sipping from that all-too-familiar green and white ?grande? that has become a necessary evil as I get older. I am running on empty after following VF from Del Mar to Anaheim the last 3 days and drinking like I was 20 on Friday night. The iPod in my lap spins and Modest Mouse implores me to ?Please, Bury Me With It.? I ponder the irony in the title of their new album, ?Good News for People Who Like Bad News?? I close my eyes, sit back and exhale, waiting for the exhaustion to really settle in. Surprisingly, it doesn?t. Instead, another familiar voice fills my head. ?Now?I? can start? now, I? can? start, now, I can start writing ?? The HOB is dark and hot. Sweat, cigarettes and alcohol ? the distinct smell of rock ?n roll. Eager faces join mine in anticipation of a sold-out show. Lots of disappointed faces being turned away to spend the evening alone with Mickey. A woman taps me on the shoulder and asks me to turn around and show my T-shirt to her son (Ramones). ?Son,? explains ?Mom,? has just turned 16 and she and ?Dad? have brought him tonight because they want VF to be his first concert. Earlier, ?Son? had said, ?Relax Mom, it?s not like it?s a Ramones concert or anything.? I sit down against the back wall and 2 girls tell me about their summer road trip and how Blister was their theme song. They have never seen VF before so they get up to try to make it to the front. A 52 year old investment banker takes their place and tells me he has come tonight because his wife recently died and he listens longingly to ?All I Want.? Too many stories in this room to tell them all? I’ll just journal them for later.

This has been a good couple of VF weeks for me. I took in the Zoo gig with my husband (for only the 3rd time in 18 years). The gig was fun, but unremarkable. Two nights later my favorite VF partner (my youngest sister, Carrie) and I went to the Chicago show and were there for the best variety of songs I have heard VF do in at least 4 or 5 years! Pandora?s box opened and Agamemnon, Mirror Mirror, Rejoice, Life is an Adventure, Just Like My Father and other oddities sprang out!

So…I waited, and wondered what would happen in California?

The show in Del Mar proved Chicago was no fluke. Most of those wonderful songs made a repeat appearance AND were tighter and stronger than they had been in Chicago! Of course it didn?t hurt that the Femmes were joined by the mighty Steve Mackay on sax for all 3 California dates. Mr. Mackay (of Stooges fame among other things ? see ) unleashed some sparks in Ventura that melded into a slow burn in Del Mar and an outright fire at the HOB in Anaheim. Also along in Del Mar and Anaheim was the newest ? and at 14, the youngest ? member of the HOD, Blaze (kinda ironic yeah? Blaze?) Blaze plays the world?s largest saxophone the Contrabass. The combination of Steve?s silver hair, lightening-fast transitions and raucous improvisations with Blaze?s youth, fearlessness and enthusiasm made for some seismic Sax! Those of you in Del Mar saw Steve step up to Gordon?s mic and they both wailed. In Anaheim not only did Gordon wail ? he also DANCED! In fact, during ?Waiting for the Bus? Gordon went almost delirious on us. But when Agamemnon came around he went Baudelaire. According to Mackay (and probably just about every other professional musician in the world) HOB was also witness to the 2 greatest bass players of all time on one stage on one night ? Brian Ritchie and Mike Watt. And Victor has flat out regained the title for best drum solo during Black Girls. It was some of the best VF in all its sound and fury. ?Good News for People Who Love Bad News?!?? They?re back ?

One side note about Del Mar – VH1 was on hand taping the Del Mar Racing/Concert Series. They recorded the guys receiving the star-treatment in the Winner?s Circle after the race and did an interview with all three afterwards!

And ? since I?ve now gone through, Low-retta?s Van Lear Rose (have new respect for Jack White), Interpol?s HOT pre-release tunes from the upcoming Antics album and the triumphant return of PUSA (Love Everybody) while I wrote this ? anybody listening to any good stuff they want to talk about? It’s been too long since VF fans shared their top 10 listening lists. I love rock ?n roll ? put another dime in the jukebox baby ?



PPS – Has anyone else noticed that when you burn Freak Magnet (onto CD or into an iPod) the title for “A Story” comes up as ” Can I Take My Gun to Heaven?” Very weird…


i went to the milwaukee show a couple of weeks ago and it was totally predictable. my roomate made me go again the next day to chicago beacuse we already bought the train tickets. TOTALLY UNPREDICTABLE. i don’t know where in the hell that set came from but maybe they are coming out of it for a change. i think there were songs from every album like rejoice, agamemon, i see a damsel, just like my father, im nothin, hey nonny and life is an adventure to name a few. please dudes keep it up!


RE:Dialogue with Delorenzo / Milwaukee & Chicago

After reading over Victor’s interview I am at a complete loss as to what he said that infuriated so many people. I couldn’t find anything that could be construed as insulting to the fans or Brian and Gordon. I thought he was pretty upbeat about his whole Femmes experience.
For anyone who has ever complained about the Femmes failing to play anything but the “Best of” at their concerts, the Chicago show was a ‘Should have seen” show. All of them presented a bunch of seldom played songs with such enthusiasm and gusto. Victor appeared to be concentrating more and was just slightly less jumping all over the stage than usual, but the results were some really tight, well done versions o such favorites as: 36-24-36, Just like my Father, Hey Nonny, Nonny, Agamemnon, and my personal favorite Mirror, Mirror. I must say that Agamemnon has never been one of my favorites but since Sunday night’s version, I was singing the “Now I can write……..Poetry” part all the next day. I also love hearing All I Want live. It’s such a cool song. Gordon was chatty during the show and on fire for his solos. And even more than usual, Brian’s solos elicited such a positive response from the audience. I loved seeing the wide range of age groups at the show. Lots of parents were there with there 10 and up offspring who knew all the words to the most familiar songs and sang right along with their parents. It was one of my all time favorite Femmes shows.
I also went to the Milwaukee zoo show on Friday night. The audience was also a very age diverse group and I found it a very warm show since they were playing for their home town audience and there was so much palpable affection for them in the air. Both nights featured a really good HOD. They added some really good sounds to Black Girls and Confessions.
I’ll be curious to see if they keep playing different gems from their albums at future shows. I hope so. The audience really appreciates it.


RE:Dialogue with Delorenzo


YEAH CHAD! thankd for a positive entry! WOW some of you people are pretty bitter. All I can say is, I missed the Newer stuff too when BVic came back and I was sligtly annoyed with the attention he wanted. But ya know…I think that if I was in his position I would have been the same way. He was probably really excited to be back, yet maybe a litel intimidated to take Guy’s place, and probably wanted to avoid some of that new stuff. BUT THEY ARE PLAYING IT NOW! They dabbed into almost all their CDs on Friday and Sunday. Hey how many bands are still around after 23 years, still creating fans and making great music, and not charging much to do it!!!! The shows are cheap and the best have ever been to. Granted I’ve been to 8 shows in the past 3 years, but I have seen some good ones some mediocre ones…seems to me like these past two where two of the best.



RE:Dialogue with Delorenzo


WOW did people get worked up over Victor’s responses!
I’d have to say I’ll be a bit disappointed if they don’t add any new material to their shows and shelf 95% of the Guy-material. I tend to agree that if Guy bothered to learn the songs that Victor helped craft (like they weren’t going to play BINTS if Victor wasn’t around), Victor should do the same. On the other hand, I understand his attachment to his songs and detachment from the others. It probably feels a bit like playing cover songs to him. It’s someone elses music.

I have a solution. Make some new music. I liked his line about they would only make new music if something truly special came along. How can anything special come along if they don’t practice, rehearse or work on it as a group. I’m afraid it will be what we all dread most, a drift into meaningless obscurity and irrelivance.

NICE JOB GETTING VICTOR TO TAKE PART. Your next challenge is to get Gordon to sit next to a computer (if he will get that close) and listen to questions while someone else types in the answers.

Greg Flores


Shakuhachi Club NYC show 7/31 at Tonic in NYC


I thought this show was an interesting collection of musicians producing a unique and surprising performance . If you looked at this collection of instruments (shakuhachi, banjo, tuba and percussion), you would think, “How can they produce cohesive music?”. But after the opening song, it became apparent that this was going to be an interesting night. Each musician was a “Master” in his own right, least but not last was the man (Walter Baker) who played the rubber band, Yes, I said the RUBBER BAND. If you closed your eyes, you would have thought your were hearing a trumpet or a saxophone, but all of that sound came from a rubber band.

Billy Ficca easily added his intricate drumbeat to support the band as well as showcasing his own solo genius.
Listening to Tony Trischka on banjo , I was struck with how he abandoned classic bluegrass and stepped so effortlessly into eclectic Jazz. Tubist, Dan Nosheny shattered the image of the marching band tuba and created a brilliant accent to the music. It would take a very visionary personality to form such a diverse group of musicians into the fluid, cohesive band I watched at this show. Brian Ritchie on Shakuhachi and Iwabue excelled in his own right on his instruments, yet he was smart and generous enough to allow each band member to shine through their own improvisation. Brian sat out in his own audience and observed and enjoyed the band perform. I got the feeling that we were listening to something very,
very good. The whole show was performed by a group of accomplished, experienced musicians who delivered a show that was greater than the sum of each musician and his instrument. And best of all , they seemed pleased with both themselves and their audience.



Brian Ritchie Spanish Interview



What kind of show can we expect from the 2004 Violent Femmes? Something close to your “Viva Wisconsin” live album or to the wider range of influence you showed in “Freak Magnet” .
BR – We are currently doing songs from all of our albums in the live set. We don’t use a set list so the songs change from night to night. That way we can react to the audience.

Any of the covers of your albums (C Club, T REX…)
BR – No we are not doing those covers, but sometimes we are doing other covers.

Do you still play the songs of your debut?
BR – We still play most of the songs from our debut album every show because the songs are fun and popular with the crowds. Sometimes we play them like the recorded version, and sometimes we change the arrangements by improvising or having guest musicians.

You have only release to studio albums in near a decade? What kind of problem or tribulations have you had with music industry?

BR – We have had our record companies go out of business several times in the last 5 years. Before that one of our record companies fired their entire staff the week our album “New Times” was released. Naturally it is difficult to have successful records in these circumstances.

Any battle for creative control ?
BR – We have maintained creative control over our recordings. However that doesn’t mean we haven’t made mistakes on our own.

Hasn’t anything change after breaking with Interscope and gone independent?

BR – We are free to do whatever we want now.

Are you releasing new stuff soon?
BR – We just recorded a new version of “Batman” which will hopefully come out soon.

You are considered one of the most influential bands but it seems that the industry has ignored you a bit, Have you never feel tired of your cult status?
BR – We just play our music for whomever want to listen to it. We are happy with the audience we have and we don’t care if we are playing in front of 500 or 50,000. We always try to communicate with the fans.

Have you ever feel you havent had the credit or the commercial success you deserve?
BR – Like all musicians there are better bands than us who are less famous and worse ones who are more famous. That is the nature of the music business in the 21st century. It’s best not to worry about fame and just think about the music.

Did you ever thought you could last over two decades?
BR – When we started in ’81 there were very few rock bands who had been around 23 years. So we probably never would have guessed that it would last this long.

23 years its not that much in blues, country or jazz, but how does a veteran band manage to mantain the energy of the early days?
BR – When we get on stage, it’s like “Picture of Dorian Grey”. We become young again.

How did you start doing music with a punk attitude?
BR – Music in the 70’s had gotten overproduced and ridiculous, just as it is now. Punk came out and taught us and everybody else that it’s OK to be primitive as long as you have something to say. Rock should never get too elaborate or it loses its edge.

Violent Femme is one of the first cornerstones of the so called alt. rock, Don’t you feel that the youth anger has became something fashionable or that can be marketed by the industry?

BR – They have been selling youth anger ever since the 50’s with Elvis and James Dean. It’s nothing new or alternative rock. As long as there is money to be made off of youth rebellion there will be people exploiting that. It’s up to the fans to decide whether it’s real youth rebellion, or just a bunch of posers.

Which has been your main contribution in all these years?
BR – I think the main thing Violent Femmes have accomplished is to demonstrate that it’s possible to play a lot of different kinds of music in a simple way and survive for 23 years. Sincerity is the key.

Talking about Violent Femmes three different friends of mine thought you were disbanded? Does that mean anything?

BR – It means either that your friends don’t own computers or that we should tour in Europe more often. Or both.

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