Violent Femmes

Violent Femmes were founded in 1980 by bassist/multi-instrumentalist Brian Ritchie and drummer Victor De Lorenzo. The name is a contradiction in terms, with "Violent" being self-explanatory and "Femmes" being Milwaukee slang for wimp.

The rhythm section added high school singer/songwriter Gordon Gano in 1981. Gano and Ritchie had previously performed together at Gano’s National Honor Society induction ceremony, where they caused a near riot. Gano was expelled from the Society and suspended from high school for this outrage.

One of the only stable aspects of the band is their aversion to rehearsal. Due to this, they would take the music to the streets in an attempt to hone it and earn some spare change. It was on one of these occasions that they were spotted by the Pretenders. Chrissie Hynde and the gang were so amused by Violent Femmes' antics that they invited them to open their show. The hometown Milwaukee audience initially booed them but ended up converting approximately 50% of the audience during their set.

The Femmes borrowed $10,000 from Victor De Lorenzo's dad to record their legendary first album in 1982. Slash Records in Los Angeles was the only label to offer them a deal with no advance payment. Despite facing numerous challenges such as world tours, nervous breakdowns, band members quitting, solo albums,


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