• Title: You Say It’s Your Birthday: Violent Femmes’ Gordon Gano
  • Author: Beth Winegarner
  • Publication: Addicted To Noise Magazine
  • Date: 06-24-97

Today is the birthday of Violent Femmes front-man Gordon Gano, who was born in 1963. Aside from being one of the longest-running alternative bands in history, the Violent Femmes have enjoyed a small amount of mainstream success with singles like “Blister In The Sun” and “Add It Up.” Before founding the Femmes, Gano had toyed with a career in acting, taking roles in a version of “Carmen” with Lou Reed. However, the minister’s son decided to veer in the direction of music and the Femmes

Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie and drummer Victor DeLorenzo released their self-titled debut in 1980. The album, which includes “Blister,” “Add It Up,” and other Femmes’ tunes such as “Gimme The Car” and “Gone Daddy Gone,” is considered a classic by fans. The band followed with Hallowed Ground in 1984, The Blind Leading the Naked in 1986, 3 in 1988 and Why Do Birds Sing? in 1991. The band also released two best-of collections, Debacle in 1990 and Add It Up in 1993. That same year, DeLorenzo left the group for unknown reasons, and was replaced by former BoDeans drummer Guy Hoffman, whom the band members had known from their pre-Femmes Milwaukee days.

In 1995, the band released their latest album, Rock. Some of their earlier songs have been included in recent albums; Ethan Hawke’s character in Reality Bites sang a cover of “Add It Up” to a rabid Winona Ryder, and the Grosse Point Blank soundtrack includes two versions of “Blister,” the original and a newly-recorded version called “Blister 2000.” Gano has also released some solo work, like 1987’s The Mercy Seat and contributions to albums by Tony Trischka and Sixteen Horsepower. Other birthdays: Eric Kretz (Stone Temple Pilots),Liam Tyson (Cast), Tom Jones, Bill Kreutzman (The Grateful Dead), Joey Scarbury, Prince and actor Liam Neeson.