• Title: AM Fan Club Interview With Brian Ritchie
  • Author: Pat Wary
  • Publication: American Music Fan Club
  • Date: Oct. 1, 1998

PW: There have been some rumors about Victor becoming re-involved with the band. What do you have to say about that?

BR: There is not a lot going on in Milwaukee. Consequently, idle speculation and gossip is rampant. This rumor was started by someone who stands to benefit from such an occurrence, but it is not on our agenda to get Victor re-involved in any way. If we are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, we will invite him to come along. He has attended several of our recent shows, and relations are friendly again, but the musical relationship is in the past. We wish him the best of luck.

PW: What is your opinion of the Great Victor VS. Guy Debate?

BR: Victor was an interesting stylist as a drummer,and played a significant role in developing the Femmes sound. Unfortunately he was not always enthusiastic. Guy is technically far superior vocally and instrumentally and he is more dedicated to the drums. He is more consistent and versatile. Some people think that since they like the early albums better that Victor is a better drummer, but what that means is that they like the early songs better. Anyone who hasn’t seen them both live should refrain from forming opinions. This means most of our current fans, who were wearing diapers when Vic was with us. They were both in the right place at the right time. Of course even if the Femmes got Ringo Starr we would still be delightful.

PW: Are you going to dress in costumes for the Halloween show in Milwaukee?

BR: I don’t know.

PW: How do you feel about recording covers? What song/artist would you cover if forced?

BR: We’ve recorded a lot of covers and usually we enjoy that. We have many covers in the can. Maybe we’ll release a collection of them some day. When we do a cover it’s because we think it would be amusing to do the song, not as a tribute to the artist who did it originally.

PW: Have you ever heard another band cover one of your songs? What was your opinion of it?

BR: We have heard many covers of Blister, someone did a nice version of Hey Nonny lately and we always love to hear people doing our tunes. They never figure out the bass lines properly however.

PW: Many subscribers would like to see a Violent Femmes/They Might Be Giants collaboration. Do you see that happening? If not, why not?

BR: We have done many gigs with them. They sing on Gordon’s soundtrack album which might come out next year. We invited the skinny guy to play sax with us, but he declined. We enjoy doing concerts together and both bands have discussed touring together, so I wouldn’t be suprised if that happened. It would have to be better than Lilith Fair.

PW: If the VF were to release albums on their own label, how would you anticipate those self-released albums to differ from what you have released in the past?

BR: They will be more frequent. Otherwise we do what we want anyways.

PW: You often have long jam sessions in concert. Why have you not recorded any instrumental pieces, other than Reckless Stones? Would this be something we can anticipate for the future?

BR: Vancouver and Peter Jest are other instrumentals we have done. There is also an instrumental version of Didgeriblues out in Germany. We will be doing more instrumentals in the future. There are numerous instrumental tracks featuring the Femmes on Pierre Henry’s new album Interieur/Exterieur, out in France.

PW: What would you recommend as the farthest distance one should drive to see a VF concert?

BR: We always try to do great shows every night regardless of circumstances. We do not go through the motions. If it’s a club or theater it’s worth driving 1126 miles, but if it’s a gymnasium I wouldn’t drive as far, because the sound is usually poor. We are pleased to see some of the same faces in various locales.

PW: What musician have you most enjoyed collaborating with on an album (any album)? Live?

BR: In the studio, Pierre Henry was the greatest person we’ve worked with, but live maybe Dennis Rodman. He’s not a musician though. The Horns of Dilemma have been blessed with the presence of many greats.

PW: Do you feel in general that the fans are becoming more violent at concerts? Have you noticed more problems in certain geographical areas, and if so, has this caused the band to avoid those places?

BR: If it’s a Violent Femmes concert they are usually alright. If it’s an “event” like Spring Break party they are usually stupid. We cannot control the younger generation, nor do we attempt to understand them.