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no more Victor 
10:07pm 16/07/2013
  Today, I heard that Gordon and Brian had kicked Victor out of the band. Again.

The band had sort of taken a hiatus, back in the late eighties, probably because of Victor. Then he left the band in 1993. Or they kicked him out. Or both. Then they took him back, in 2000. This caused then-drummer Guy Hoffman to be out of a job.

Victor apparently hasn't been very happy in the band. In a statement, he called the recent reformation "business as usual" and not in a good way. I don't think the rest of the band has much patience for Victor. Besides the previous dismissals, their nickname for him was "Queenie." I know Brian doesn't think much of his drumming talent, but then he doesn't think much of Gordon's either. That's why they have John Sparrow and Jeff Hamilton backing the band. Speaking of which, I wonder if they'll keep Sparrow around, along with their new drummer.

Apparently, the organizations who made the offer to the Femmes to play the shows, said they only wanted the original lineup. As soon as those gigs were over, they dumped Victor.

The new drummer is Brian Viglione, of the Dresden Dolls. He's the one who apparently broke this news, with a statement on the Dolls' Facebook page. Should be good. The statement reads

Good morning! It's with inexpressible joy that I announce this news today. 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. But to now be their new drummer is a dream come true and hope to see some of you out there on tour!

A dream come true, huh? The tour consists of two more dates. And I don't think they'll be making any new music, so he's basically a stand-in for Victor and Guy. Too bad, he seems like a pretty cool drummer.

So here are some links...

This gives more detail about how the Femmes got mixed up with the Dolls, including a video:

A video of the Dresden Dolls, showing Viglione's drumming:

article at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"A href="http://expressmilwaukee.com/blog-9428-victor-delorenzo-has-been-kicked-out-of-the-violent-femmes-%2528again%2529.html">article at the Shepherd-Express</i>, which includes DeLorenzo's entire statement.
Summerfest, June 27th 2013 
09:16pm 16/07/2013
  As per previous headline gigs, the Femmes were tacked onto an existing tour's stop in Milwaukee. It used to be some alternative rock bands. This time it was more of an alt.country thing. The Avett Brothers were the big draw. There was a certain amount of concern that more people were there to see the Avetts than the Femmes. I think this concern was not unfounded.

Cyn told me that she heard the Avetts were booked on opening night before the Violent Femmes were added to the bill, but I didn't believe her. I mean, I'd never even heard of them before. But now I see how that could be true. They've probably sold more albums than the Femmes. But we were still wondering how many people would leave after the Avetts were finished. Which brings us to our featured attraction...

The Violent Femmes got back together! Woo woo! Earlier this year, they were approached by Coachella for a reunion show. Summerfest decided to get in on the action and also made them an offer, and they were added to the opening night lineup on the main stage. This year is the 30th anniversary of the release of their debut album, so they decided they'd play it straight through. That's not too exciting, since they normally play most of the songs on it, but hey, it was Violent Femmes!

Victor Delorenzo, Gordon Gano, Brian Ritchie and John Sparrow took the stage. It was kind of odd to see John there, but he keeps time, and also fills in some of the drum sound for the songs where Victor played a full kit on the original album. Victor had a tom, a snare and a high hat. Brian played his acoustic bass, for the most part, the electric once or twice, and xylophone for "Gone Daddy Gone" of course.

So they opened with... "Blister In the Sun," and played almost without stopping until the end of side 1, when Gordon spoke a bit. He apologized for not thanking us for our applause, with the excuse that they were playing the songs as they appear on the album, and there's no talking in between songs on the album.

So, "Blister," "Kiss Off," "Please Do Not Go," "Add It Up," "Confessions," "Prove My Love," "Promise," "To the Kill," "Gone Daddy Gone" and "Good Feeling." "Confessions" included the noise jam by the Horns of Dilemma. This featured Sigmund Snopek, who played various instruments on various songs throughout the show, including keyboards, like on "Good Feeling." Gordon played violin on that song.

After the album was over, they did a few more early songs. First, was "Jesus Walking On the Water," followed by perennial favorite "Country Death Song," for which Gordon played banjo. "I Held Her In My Arms," "Gimme The Car." "Black Girls" and "American Music." The encore (the word, which Brian reminded us, means "again") was "Blister In the Sun." I was guessing (or just hoping) it would be "Add It Up." "Black Girls" included Snopek on alpenhorn. Peter Balestrieri on baritone sax, for "I Held Her In My Arms." Jeff Hamilton played guitar or mandolin on most of the later songs. For "Jesus Walking," Gordon played violin, and his sister Cynthia came onstage for vocals. They didn't introduce her, but she sounded exactly like the voice on the record, so I have to assume it was her.

After the Avetts were finished, a lot of people left, but the place still looked pretty full (but there were few bleacher seats sold). My friend Steve mentioned that the age of the crowd had gone up. That's probably true, but there were still a lot of kids there. The two teenage girls behind us were singing along with every song. After the Femmes started, the remaining audience went wild. But since three of the first four songs were their biggest hits, and the fifth song was kindof obnoxious, that's when people started filtering out.

So... musicianship. As mentioned earlier, Sparrow was onstage to provide the beat. Enough said. Gordon's guitar playing actually sounded pretty album-like, at least early in the show. He hasn't exactly done a lot to advance his practice over the years, though. Ritchie has. His bass guitar solos are always changing and improving. He must be out of practice, though, after the five-year hiatus. He seemed to be off his game. A couple of solos just didn't have the magic.

The show let out shortly before midnight. They started somewhere around 10:30, so they played for barely over an hour and a half. Too short. (I think the Avett's played for over two hours.) It was so much fun!
09:24pm 27/03/2013
  The last time I saw the Femmes was June 29, 2007. They broke up later that summer, after a lawsuit between Brian and Gordon. *sigh*

But then... a few weeks ago, they announced a reunion for Coachella music festival! Woo! So that was kinda exciting.

And now... they announced they're playing the main stage for Summerfest on opening night! Woo woo! Very exciting! June 26th, Marcus Amphitheater.

I think the Femmes announced it before they were cleared by the Fest. According to the article below, John Boler, chief marketing officer with Summerfest's parent company, Milwaukee World Festival Inc., confirmed the booking Tuesday afternoon. Ticket prices, show times and sale dates have yet to be announced. This was not a press release, it was a "confirmation." And they still haven't announced any of the other opening night bands or festivities.

Anyway, here's an interesting article about the band in recent years...

Ritchie "did confirm that they buried the hatchet before Coachella officials contacted the Femmes' booking agent, Frank Riley, proposing a reunion show last year." That's cool.
Femmes show at Summerfest 
01:34am 29/06/2007
  It was a late show, starting at 11:00. I guess that was because of the fireworks show at 10:30. Opening day of the fest.

My memory is pretty bad. I'd forgotten half the stuff by the time it happened. I'll see what I can remember.

They started out as the trio plus John Sparrow on cajon. They did a song off their debut album. Umm... "Promise." For the second song, "Out the Window" a guy joined them on washboard (didn't catch his name). The next song was also from Why do Birds Sing?. "Hey Nonny Nonny." To continue with the country flavor, the next song was "Country Death Song." A little bit into the song, Jeff Hamilton came on stage, quickly trying to plug in his mandolin. Ritchie seemed amused.

They did "Jesus Walking on the Water," with a country sounding bass solo, a mandolin solo and a violin solo. They did "Color Me Once," "Freak Magnet," "Hallowed Ground," and "Children of the Revolution." Hamilton played a lot of guitar, often taking solos, and sometimes duetting with Gano. Gano often sounds irrelevant with his guitar, but he stood out in a couple of spots, showing that he still knows how to play. The first song of the encore was "Kiss Off," and he and DeLorenzo played it by themsleves. Gano was able to fill in the high and the low parts.

It was the smallest Horns of Dilemma I've seen in many years. Aside from Sparrow, Hamilton and the washboard player, there were only Darren Brown (tour manager and "big man on a little horn"), somebody Kaminski on trombone and Silas Ritchie on harmonica. They did "Black Girls," as usual, and followed that up with a different song than usual (can't remember what).

Ritchie started with his acoustic, then switched back and forth between electric and one-string basses. He had some kind of heavy distortion unit on the electric. Huge fuzz, and a high pitch. He used it mostly for noise, and often in places I thought inappropriate. Didn't seem quite in tune, either. His washtub bass was on stage, but he didn't play it. He did the conch during "Black Girls." His xylopnone sounded really weird, for "Gone Daddy Gone." It sounded really... squeaky, and not quite in tune. He had some technical issues early in the show.

Victor was his usual zany self.

There didn't seem to be any animosity between the guys, but they didn't seem as close as they used to be.
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not dead yet 
09:21am 12/05/2007
  Date                   City, Venue
October 13,'07 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Casino
October 12,'07 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Casino

August 11, '07 Belville, South Africa

August 10, '07 RSA (South Africa) Eoppikoppi Festival
August 6, '07 Johannesburg, South Africa
August 3, '07 Del Mar, CA Race Track
August 1, '07 Anaheim, CA House of Blues

July 28, '07 Los Angeles, CA Bet Tzedek Justice Ball (www.thejusticeball.org)
July 27, '07 Las Vegas, NV Hard Rock Hotel
July 13, '07 Louisville, KY 4th Street Live
July 11, '07 Columbus, OH Promowest Pavilion
July 6, '07 North Kansas City, USA Voodoo Lounge
July 4, '07 Denver, CO Red Rocks

June 28, '07 Milwaukee, WI Summerfest
June 23, '07 Brooklyn, NY Warsaw
June 22, '07 Brooklyn, NY Warsaw
June 21, '07 Buffalo, NY Lafayette Square
June 16, '07 Chicago, IL Q101 Block Party

May 26, '07 Seville, Spain Territorios Festival
May 24, '07 Milan, Italy Rolling Stone
May 23, '07 Rimini, Italy Velvet
May 22, '07 Rome, Italy Alpheus
May 20, '07 Malaga, Spain Teatro Cervantes
May 18, '07 Lyon, France Nuits Sonores Festival
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he doesn't sound happy 
09:17pm 15/04/2007
  You may have heard that the Violent Femmes licensed the use of "Blister in the Sun" for a Wendy's commercial. Some have remarked that it is strange considering both Gordon and Brian are vegetarian. A writer at onmilwaukee.com blogged about the use, and got a response from Brian. He said:
"For the fans who rightfully are complaining about the Wendy's burger advertisement featuring Blister in the Sun, Gordon Gano is the publisher of the song and Warners is the record company. When they agree to use it there's nothing the rest of the band can do about it, because we don't own the song or the recording. That's showbiz. Therefore 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, it is his karma that he lost his songwriting ability many years ago, probably due to his own lack of self-respect as his willingness to prostitute our songs demonstrates. Neither Gordon (vegetarian) nor me (gourmet) eat garbage like Wendy's burgers. I can't endorse them because I disagree with corporate food on culinary, political, health, economic and environmental grounds. However I see my life's work trivialized at the hands of my business partner over and over again, although I have raised my objections numerous times. As disgusted as you are I am more so."
Hmm. Do you think he's a little unhappy about it? Their website shows only one more show, on May 18th in Lyon, France.
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Step by Step 
10:31am 28/12/2006
  Remember that show? Someone says the Violent Femmes appeared on that show. Does that ring a bell with anyone?  
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tour dates 
12:03am 20/11/2006
  The Femmes are doing a few shows in Spain and then Portugal. Then a show each in Paris and London. Then, at the end of the year, they'll be in California and Arizona. In the end of January, they're doing New Zealand and Australia.

recent shows? 
06:53pm 02/11/2006
  I missed the Femmes both times they played in this area this summer, although I did see them in May.

Did anyone see them this summer? How did they sound?
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03:05pm 06/10/2006
  what the crap is going on with archive series 2?  
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active community 
08:59pm 05/10/2006
  This is an active community... depending on how you define "active." Okay, people don't post here very often, but that's just because we can't think of anything to say, and not because nobody cares anymore. So if you're thinking about joining, then join. Don't pass us by because you think we've all packed up and gone home. And don't decide to start a new community, because then each of us will have half the members than one community could have had.

If you want to drum up some interest, then post something.
5th grader backs the Femmes 
11:12pm 25/06/2006
  I found this in an online school newsletter.

Fifth-grader and Cougar Band alto saxophonist David DeMark was unphased by the water that covered the gym floor only hours before the band’s Spring Concert last Thursday. Perhaps it was because several days earlier, he’d played with a rock band in front of 1,500 people at the First Avenue nightclub in Minneapolis. It was actually David’s third time sitting in as a guest musician with The Violent Femmes.

Formed in Milwaukee in 1981, The Violent Femmes released their first album in 1983, and have since followed it with 15 more. David’s father, Michael DeMark, worked as the band’s live sound engineer in 1983-84 and remains friends with the band. The Femmes have a long tradition of inviting local musicians to join them onstage during concerts, in an ever-changing section called the “Horns of Dilemma.” When the band’s drummer, Victor DeLorenzo heard that David had taken up the sax, he invited him to join them at First Avenue last July.

David has been playing alto saxophone in the Cougar Band for about a year and a half.
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updated website 
09:23am 25/06/2006
  The Femmes site has a new look.

I see they've got a Myspace. They said their previous two were deleted. I wonder why.

This is their latest post there (about last night's show):
OK so tonight we are supporting Bob Dylan in Kilkenny. That should be interesting because it is obvious that Gordon has had a strong influence on Dylan's songwriting and singing. Sometimes it's amazing how similar he sounds to Gordon, we wonder how that happened.
And speaking of odd lineups, they've got this show: August 19 - Irvine, CA - Verizon Ampitheather w/ Def Leppard, Journey, Cheap Trick

There are interviews with tour manager and Horn of Dilemma Darren Brown, supplemental guitarist Jeff Hamilton and cajon boxer John Sparrow, here.

I guess John Sparrow was in the local Milwaukee band, The Danglers. I was hanging with some people, one weekend several years ago, and we saw them play. One of the girls hooked up with the drummer. The next day she reported that she saw himplay drums in the nude. I can only assume this was Sparrow.
07:59pm 23/06/2006
  Does anyone have any info. on the show in Pittsburgh on the 1st of July?  
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11:05am 28/05/2006
  The Femmes were invited to the opening of Miller new stage at the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee. A friend of mine works at a place that buys a lot of beer, so he was able to get me tickets. This was one of the first warm nights of the year, so everyone was up for a night of fun.

The show was... interesting. Fun, as always, but things were a little different.

Since Victor's rhythm is a little uneven sometimes, Ritchie has another percussion player onstage. John Sparrow on the cajon box. That's a wooden box that you sit on, and rech down between your legs to hit. You can get a surprising amount of sounds out of it - it sounds like a whole drum kit (minus cymbals).

Gordon's guitar has been getting weak, lately. He's always been rather minimalist, doing very few solos, and mostly little staccato strums, rather than strong chords. Tonight, they had a backup guitarist named Jeff Hamilton for a few songs. Half a dozen, maybe. He still didn't add that much to the sound, except on "Children of the Revolution," where he did a loud, distortion filled lead.

As an intro to "Jesus Waslking on the Water," Gordon did a short a capella (or was he strumming his violin, too?) hymn. Something about jesus walking on the sea. Then Perry DeLorenzo (Victor's daugther? Niece?) joined him on the violin. There was also a washboard player and a mandolin player, who also played on "Country Death Song," and one other I think.

Songs included, Blister in the Sun, Kiss Off, Please Do Not Go, Add It Up, Confessions, Prove My Love, Gone Daddy Gone, Good Feeling, Gimme the Car, Country Death Song, Jesus Walking on the Water, Hallowed Ground, Black Girls, I Held Her in My Arms, Children of the Revolution and American Music. Almost all early songs.

The Horns of Dilemma played on their usual "Confessions" and "Black Girls". They also played on "I Held Her in My Arms," but that seemed like a mistake. Aside from some technical difficulties, the Horns generally did not play well. That's how they're usually supposed to play, but I don't think it worked on this song. The band seemed to agree, but maybe that was my imagination. After "I Held Her in My Arms," the band seemed to need to regroup. They then played "Hallowed Ground," with just the three of them (plus Sparrow) - no keyboards. It sounded pretty good.

Sparrow did a nice cajon box solo in "Black Girls." The audience really got into "American Music" and "Gimme the Car." Victor knocked his drums over a couple of times, and played them on the floor. I think it was accidental, once. Brian only played electric bass, acoustic bass, one-string bass, and conch shell.
set lists? 
12:38pm 26/05/2006
mood: excited
so i just found out i'll be seeing the violent femmes on august 3rd

i was just wondering if anyone had any set lists they were aware of. i'm just curious as to what they might play :]
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David Gilmour 
12:22am 15/05/2006
  You know him, right? Pink Floyd? He just put out a new solo record, and he's got Dick Parry playing on tour with him. Parry is the one who did such fabulous saxophone work for the Floyd in the seventies. He's also one of the Horns of Dilemma. Check out this page from Gilmour's tour book: http://www.hokafloyd.com/DGTourbook/Bild%2016.jpg  
Louisville Concert 
05:45pm 03/05/2006
mood: excited
Just found this, but I do plan to be there:

Better Than Ezra, Violent Femmes, Thumper and the Plaid Rabbits

Churchill Downs, 700 Central Ave. Crown Royal Festival in the infield. Gates open at 11 a.m. Free with $2 general admission. www.churchilldowns.com 636-4400.
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interview with Ritchie 
10:40pm 11/10/2005
  From a New Zealand newspaper called Salient.

12:57am 02/10/2005
  I did some research and wrote a bio for Victor DeLorenzo.


It's a little awkward in places, but I'm proud of it.

Read more...Collapse )
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