The Violent Femmes, Milwaukee’s legendary purveyors of teen angst (despite the founding members being well into middle age territory these days!), are about to embark on an eagerly awaited tour of these parts, taking in sold out slots at the Sirromet Winery’s A Day on the Green concert, (together with legendary Oz acts Hoodoo Gurus, The Sunnyboys, Died Pretty and Ratcat), as well as a headlining club show at The Triffid on 7 March.
Having recently dropped a return single Memory, which we’ve reviewed here, and with a brand spanking new record We Can Do Anything ready to foist upon us, the band are sure to be firing on all cylinders with the Promise of Good Feeling(s).
So in anticipation of their return here’s five regale-worthy facts on the Violent Femmes across their amazing 35 year journey thus far..
1) They were discovered busking out the front of a Mailwaukee venue that The Pretenders were about to play by Pretender’s guitarist James Honeyman-Scott in 1981 and subsequently invited by Chrissie Hinde to perform on the bill that very night.
2) Founding bassist Brian Ritchie is a naturalised Australian, residing in Tasmania and being the ongoing musical curator of the amazingly eclectic Mona Foma (MoFo) festival in Hobart. He has also performed in instrumental surf rock group The Break, together with Midnight Oil stalwarts Rob Hirst, Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey. Oh and apparently he also plays a mean shakuhachi, which is a Japanese bamboo flute!
3) Australia loves the Violent Femmes…fact! The band headlined the very first Big Day Out festival in 1992 and have managed to score six top 50 albums in this country, making us their biggest per-capita territory. They are also Double J’s ‘artist in residence’ for the month of March, where they’ll be curating a bunch of playlists and guest hosting across some slots.
4) The core three piece incorporate a horn section known as The Horns of Dilemma for many of their live shows. They aren’t your typical brass backing band though, tending to take on more free-noise tendencies while incorporating such exotic instruments as cajon box, kazoo and antique hunting horn, in addition to more standard fare such as saxophone, trombone and clarinet.
5) As well as their nine studio albums, the band have also recorded a handful of one-off songs for motion picture soundtracks, including I Swear It (I Can Change), from South Park, Bigger, Longer and Uncut, Colour Me Once, from the soundtrack to The Crow, and a 34 second cover of the SpongeBob SquarePants theme song! In addition Gnarls Barkley has covered their classic track, the xylophone driven Gone Daddy Gone, with the Femmes returning in kind by recording a cover of Barkley’s big hit Crazy in 2008.
Fans of the Femmes rejoice and sort your tickets. They’re at The Triffid on Monday 7 March.