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Violent Femmes


Between the time Milwaukee's Violent Femmes were 'discovered' by James Honeyman-Scott (of The Pretenders) and their third album "The Blind Leading The Naked," which was produced by another fellow Milwaukee native, Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads, they made their mark with their '83 self-titled set.

The album, which eventually went platinum, featured the songs "Gone Daddy Gone" and "Blister In The Sun."

Both songs were written by guitarist Gordon Gano. After eight albums and nearly a quarter of a century, "Blister In The Sun" was licensed for use in a Wendy's commercial. That didn't sit well with bassist Brian Ritchie.

"Neither Gordon (vegetarian) nor me (gourmet) eat garbage like Wendy's burgers," stated Ritchie. "I can't endorse them because I disagree with corporate food on culinary, political, health, economic and environmental grounds."

Then it got personal. "When you see dubious or in this case disgusting uses of our music you can thank the greed, insensitivity and poor taste of Gordon Gano."





This was a harsh chapter in a history that began when Honeyman-Scott saw the Violent Femes busking on a street corner in front of the Oriental Theatre, the Milwaukee venue that The Pretenders played later that night. The Pretenders' frontwoman, Chrissie Hynde, invited the Violent Femmes to play a brief acoustic set after the opening act.

Following their debut album's success, the Violent Femmes released "Hallowed Ground" and "The Blind Leading The Naked," which featured the minor hit "Children Of The Revolution."

In concert, the group was often backed by the Horns of Dilemma, a loose collection of horn players and other musicians, given card blanche to play as wildly as they could.

The Femmes briefly disbanded in '87 but regrouped the following year.

Founding drummer Victor DeLorenzo departed in '93 to pursue an acting career and make solo albums.

Violent Femmes came to a halt again when the "Blister In The Sun" dispute morphed into a legal action as Ritchie sued Ganon over the rights to the group's music.

It had been sixteen years since '00's "Freak Magnet" when the Violent Femmes issued their ninth studio album "We Can Do Anything."

The set had Ganon and Ritchie. Brian Viglione was credited as the drummer, though he left before the album was released, and was replaced by John Sparrow.


Violent Femmes Discography

Studio Albums:

1983 Violent Femmes
1984 Hallowed Ground
1986 The Blind Leading The Naked
1989 3
1991 Why Do Birds Sing?
1994 New Times
1995 Rock!!!!!
2000 Freak Magnet
2016 We Can Do Anything



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