By Cutis AuCoin
VANCOUVER — Are the Violent Femmes the sickest alt-rock band to come out of the ‘80s? With a sound that stretches from bluegrass to punk and beyond, the Femmes have an eclectic collection of songs that bring together cross-generational traditions making them the demented leaders of “American Music.”
Eight years after their eponymous first album came out in 1983, it gained platinum status without previously appearing in the Billboard 200 charts; making them the first and only band to ever do so. The initial trio was composed of Brian Ritchie (bass), Gordon Gano (guitar/vocals), and Victor DeLorenzo (drums). They started out busking the blue-collar streets of Milwaukee, but after disbanding in 1987, with a stint of tours again in the early 2000s, the Femmes are back again to shred any stage. On the band’s now year-old tour, Dresden Dolls drummer Brian Vigilione accompanies Gano and Ritchie, ripping the band’s trademark drum kit containing an upside-down trashcan.
Attempting to contact Ritchie at his Tasmanian residence proved to be somewhat of a struggle, but after finding a brief connection over Skype, we chatted about how the band feels being the old guys at the more youthful festivals like Coachella and Sasquatch.
“We’ve always tended to have a young crowd,” said Ritchie. “We aren’t really the kind of band to have fans grow old with us. If anything the crowds have gotten younger.”
Ritchie spoke of how having people hardly know your set list is just a part of the current state of music and they’re hyped kids are hearing their stuff for the first time. After continually having energetic and knowledgeable Vancouver crowds, the Femmes are hyped to be back in Canada.
“Our best show ever was probably when we played the Molson Polar Beach Party cruise ship in Resolute Bay with the Chili Peppers.”
If you make it up to Pemberton, make sure you don’t miss out on the Femmes ripping up the stage with their wide-ranging sound, as it is sure to blow your psyched-out minds.
Catch the legendary Violent Femmes on Saturday, July 19th at Pemberton Music Festival.BC, British Columbia, Pemberton, Pemberton 2014, Pemberton Music Festival, The Violent Femmes