- Title:Victor DeLorenzo speaks out about leaving Violent Femmes
- Author: Piet Levy
- Publication: Tap Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- Date: 07-16-13
Victor DeLorenzo, founding drummer of Milwaukee-born band Violent Femmes, issued a statement Tuesday saying that the band’s Summerfest performance this year will be his last with the group.
Victor DeLorenzo has issued a statement after being replaced as the drummer of the Milwaukee-born band Violent Femmes just three months after reuniting, and less than three weeks following the band’s homecoming show at the Marcus Amphitheater on Summerfest’s opening night.
“When I first heard the news about the possibility of the original Violent Femmes reuniting, I was excited that once again our group might be able to play music for the fans that love us and for the new fans that have never had the chance to see us create the music live,” DeLorenzo wrote in a statement issued to media at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday titled “Why the Summerfest show will be the last one I ever play with Violent Femmes.”
“What was finally being offered to me was ‘business as usual,’ with a great deal of disrespect, dishonesty and greed,” DeLorenzo continued.
The statement additionally suggests an unfair business model but does not offer a more detailed explanation as to what might have caused the rift.
DeLorenzo has yet to reply to a request for an additional comment. His fellow Femmes co-founders, Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie, both of whom are still in the band, have yet to return requests for comments.
On Monday morning, the Femmes posted a picture of its new lineup on its website, featuring Brian Viglione, from the Amanda Palmer-fronted cabaret rock duo the Dresden Dolls.
“Amanda and I have always loved and been inspired by this band and been fortunate enough to share the stage with them several times in the past,” Viglione wrote on the Dresden Dolls Facebook page. “But to now be their new drummer is a dream come true.”
The Femmes have had a notoriously bumpy past. DeLorenzo left the group in 1993 for seven years, telling the Journal Sentinel in June, “Gordon and Brian kicked me out–or did I quit? It’s probably a little bit of both.” Then in 2007, the band broke up after Ritchie sued Gano, seeking proper accounting of the band’s earnings and half ownership of songs.
Ritchie and Gano settled out of court in 2012, the same year they were approached to play California music festival Coachella. The two gigs in April, featuring the original lineup, were the first of a few booked this year in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the band’s self-titled debut album, its biggest commercial success, featuring several band staples as “Blister in the Sun.”
The latest lineup of the Femmes is scheduled to play in Central Park in New York Sept. 12 and Riot Fest in Chicago Sept. 14.
Below is DeLorenzo’s statement in full, edited for style and grammar.
“It’s always hard to write a eulogy for a lost loved one. In this case, I sadly lament the loss of a dream and an ideal that was once Violent Femmes.
When I first heard the news about the possibility of the original Violent Femmes reuniting, I was excited that once again our group might be able to play music for the fans that love us and for the new fans that have never had the chance to see us create the music live. The only conditions that I had were that the three of us move forward to repair our relationships within the band, and that we would strive to attain a fair business agreement that would reflect a new way of handling the business that wouldn’t be ‘business as usual.’ Sadly, my open-hearted approach to finding a way to move forward wasn’t shared by Violent Femmes. What was finally being offered to me was, ‘business as usual,’ with a great deal of disrespect, dishonesty and greed.
After having found out that the promoters of our recent concerts weren’t interested in booking our group unless it was, ‘the reunion of the original band,’ I spoke to two of the biggest concert promoters in the world that handled two of our shows, and they told me directly that this was true. So it confuses me that fans and the promoters see the value in presenting the original band, but not the band itself. I realize that I’m no longer part of the copyright after having given up my business interest in Violent Femmes years ago, but I will always be part of the birthright of Violent Femmes, for which I will always be very proud! I’m sorry and I apologize that the fans, promoters and agents won’t get to see the Violent Femmes show that was being offered and that people bought tickets to see.
As John Lennon once said, ‘the dream is over.’ In regards to my history with Violent Femmes, the dream never quite got there.
So on the evening of June 26th, 2013, on the stage of the Marcus Amphitheater at Summerfest, I gave to the world my last performance with Violent Femmes. Milwaukee, we were yours for the night, and now forever!
Sincerely and with warm regards,