Title2 Mics & The Truth: Unplugged & Unhinged In America
LabelsAdd It Up, PIAS
Format12″, CD
VariantsBlack & Pink 12″ (Limited 1500 Each)

Track Listing

  • Blister In The Sun (WXRV)
  • I’m Nothing (PASTE)
  • It’s Gonna Rain (PASTE)
  • Breakin’ Up (WFUV)
  • Traveling Solves Everything (KINK)
  • Good For/At Nothing (WFUV)
  • Memory (KINK)
  • American Music (KINK)
  • Gone Daddy Gone / I Just Wanna Make Love To You (WXPN)
  • Love Love Love Love Love (KCMP)
  • Big Car (WXPN)
  • Untrue Love (PASTE)
  • I Could Be Anything (WFUV)
  • Rejoice And Be Happy (KCMP)
  • Add It Up (WFUV)
  • No Killing (WYEP)
  • You Move Me (WXPN)
  • Run With It (WFUV)
  • Ugly (WXRV)
  • Kiss Off (WXRV)
  • Jesus Walking On the Water (WFUV)
  • Prove My Love (WFUV)
  • Country Death Song (WFUV)
  • What You Really Mean (WXPN)

*Black Original Pressing limited to 1500 Copies Sold from PIAS.Com (Hand Numbered).
*Pink Pressing limited to 1500 Copies, Sold @ Their Concerts.

this is an unorthodox live LP. Here’s how it came about: We were on a USA Tour in support of we can do anything. Inevitably in these situations there are requests to visit radio stations and digital music outlets for interviews and general schmooze. We asked our radio promo person Ellena Osis to build acoustic performance into the events. There were two reasons for this request. VF specialize in a peculiar brand of acoustic punk and can deliver the goods 100% in that format. And to reinvent our oeuvre with a new recording concept.

We bought two Ear Trumpet Labs Edwina microphones in Portland, Oregon the day before we started the radio gigs. They are bluegrass mics designed for acoustic bands to stand around and mix themselves into proximity. We gathered around the mics and created the desired sound hierarchy depending upon relative volume. One mic pointed towards gordon (voice and guitar/banjo/fiddle) and one on my acoustic bass guitar and vocal. The other instruments (John sparrow’s percussion, Blaise Garza’s baritone sax, various guests) were not individually mic’d but grabbed through sound bleed. This is a similar method to the beloved early jazz, blues, country, rembetika, rockabilly and folk records which informed our aesthetic in the beginning.

Recording is in a decadent and effete phase. Engineers and producers ensconce performers in individual soundproof booths with comfy headphones. They build fortresses around musicians to stop the sound from leaking on each other’s hermetically sealed performances. That’s if there is a live element at ll. Psychologists define such concepts as separation and isolation as negative but it’s the goal of the modern recording environment. That’s why modern recording is stiff. All human element is polished away and we’re left with something that sounds like it is laid out on a grid. Because it is. This album is an antidote.

All Bands of our era recorded numerous albums which are snapshots of a creative moment in time and relatively rising or falling fortunes in the music industry. But it’s illusory to depict VF as making a series of discreet artistic statements. We started with a motherload of Gordon’s prolific juvenelia, occasionally adding new originals or covers to the mix. Our catalog did not proceed in songwriting chronology. This project refocuses attention upon the repertoire as a whole by stripping songs to their essentials, conveying them without artifice, and removing them from any timeline.

One of the innovations that enables this is John’s use of the werber grill as a percussion instrument. It plays at the the same volume as the acoustic bass and blends perfectly with the strumming of the acoustic guitar. this allows us to stand close to each other and play in balance. This is the first time we’ve delivered a full scale recording to the public which captures the sound and spirit of the band the way we play together when we’re working out songs in the hotel or dressing room. We recorded at five different radio stations with the same 2 mics. Variables were the rooms, audience (or not), and the recording engineers.

Here are tight performances of songs we’ve played thousands of times, songs played live for the first time, rearrangements of our standards, chaotic renditions of songs played in new keys, spontaneous requests for sons we haven’t played in decades, defiantly mis-intonated vocals, wobbly improvisations, botched lyrics and other hilarity. It’s closest we’ve gotten to the essence of the Violent Femmes. Enjoy!

Brian Ritchie – April 2017

“A whiff of condensation is here elsewhere. It is enough. I go to spruce up.” – Nodrog Onag, 1720

GORDON GANO: lead vocal, guitar, banjo, fiddle
BRIAN RITCHIE: acoustic bass guitar, vocal
John Sparrow:BBQ, cajon, vocal
Blaise Garza: baritone sax, cabasa, vocal

Jeff Hamilton: mandolin, guitar, ukulele, vocal
Mike Kasprazak: percussion, vocals
Tony Trischka: banjo on Add It Up, Jesus Walking On The Water, and Country Death Song
Dan Nosheny: tuba on Gone Daddy Gone and You Move Me
Billy Ficca: Cajon on Run With It

Produced by Brian Ritchie
Mastered and additional mixing by David Vartanian at DV’s Perversion Room
Production Assistance: Jeff Hamilton

KCMP recorded and mixed by Michael Demark / WYEP recorded and mixed by Dana Cannone and Denny Strauser / WFUV recorded and mixed by Lee Foster and Phil Joly, live engineer John Horne and assistant engineer Gosha Usov at Electric Lady / PASTE recorded and mixed by Bob Mallory / KINK recorded and mixed by Samantha Stidham and Alex Arrowsmith /WXPN recorded and mixed by Christopher Williams for NPR’s World Cafe / WXRV at River Music Hall produced by Justin Bragg and Shayne Fitzgerald.

Album graphics: Antoine Moonen
Band Photo: Emmy Etie

Management: Tom Sarig and Polsia Ryder for Esther Creative Group
Booking Agent [North America]: Frank Riley for High Road Touring
Booking Agent [Europe]: Paul Boswell for Free Trade
Booking Agent [Australia]: Tim Pittman for Feel Presents
Legal: Jeffery Light for Myman Greenspan Fineman Fox Rosenberg & Light LLP
Business Management: Ted Byer and Jo-Anne Banks for Smolin, Lupin & Co., P.A.

Thank you: Alex Keauge-Davies, Alisa Ali, Allan Benedict, Cream City Music, Ear Trumpet Labs, Ellena Osis, Ernie Ball, Intune GP, Jeremy Thomas, Juan Vandervoot, Justin Gressley, Ken Weinstein, Liam Dennis, Lucious Yeo, Luke Ellis, Marshall Cullen, Maton Guitars, Paddy Davis, Regal Tip, Rita Houston, Robert Kroll, Russ Borris, Sara Wardrop, Schlagwerk Percussion, Sean Maxon, Stephanie Kibbe, Todd Piotrowski, Top Shelf Guitars, Webber Grills.

All songs written by Gordon Gano/Gorno Music/Kobalt [ASCAP] except: What You Really Mean written by Cynthia Gayneau for Bottle Music [BMI]. Love Love Love Love Love written by Jake Brebes/Sony/ATV Tunes LLC [ASCAP] / Gone Daddy Gone written by Gordon Gano/Gorno Music/kobalt [ASCAP]/Willie Dixon/Hoochie Coochie Music/BMG [BMI] / Run With It written by Spencer P. Jones/Mushroom Music Publishing [APRA]. (P)(C) 2017 Add It Up Productions, Inc.


(P)(C) 2017 The copyright in this sound recording is owned by Add It Up Productions under exclusive license to Play It Again Sam.