05 March 2010

Something 4 The Weekend # 156

One hundred and fifty-six editions of S4TW, and this is the first time I've streamed the Femmes...amazing...
Now, I don't know how it was/is by you, but in Milwaukee, we always simply called 'em "The Femmes" and never "Violent Femmes" or even "The Violent Femmes". We called 'em "The Femmes" because they were a Milwaukee band, homegrown, familiar...
I don't know how it was/is by you, but in Milwaukee the Violent Femmes were pretty much legendary, at least among the hipper kids and the college crowds...Going from coffee house gigs and streetcorner busking to opening for The Pretenders at The Oriental on one fateful night in 1981, and from there they pretty much ruled the city for the next two to three years...
At least that's how I remembered it - I was a year or three too young to catch a full, first-hand account of the Femmes...By the time my friends and I were travelling into the city from the suburbs, the Femmes weren't busking anymore, and they were certainly too mighty for coffee houses and the smaller clubs around town...By the time I was old enough to see the Femmes, they were headlining the Oriental themselves, riling up 1000+ of the faithful, and that's a pretty impressive number for a band like Violent Femmes in a city the size and temperment of Milwaukee...By the time me and my friends started going to shows in Milwaukee, the Femmes were hanging out and recording in NYC, and starting to tour internationally...I seem to recall they "conquered" New Zealand and/or Australia on one short tour, and later on, from 85 to 87 when I was living on the east side of Milwaukee, I "ran into" bassist Brian Ritchie from time to time (well, four times, by my reckoning), including once at Lisa's Pizzaria where he recognized me enough to say "hello".
I sound like such a fucking fanboy!
But I don't know how it was by you...I don't know how much the Femmes meant to the typical youth in places that aren't Milwaukee, but considering the kind of raw, wild and literate kind of music the three of 'em made, they were loved enough, by enough, to get requested with regularity at our high school dances...And I also seem to recall RP The DJ getting his ass chewed out after spinning "Add It Up", during which he cut the PA as Gordon Gano sang "Why can't I get just one fuck?", leaving a cafeteria of 200-300 kids singing the line by themselves.
"Add It Up" never got played at a dance again, but there was still "Blister In The Sun" and "Kiss Off", "Prove My Love", "Gone Daddy Gone" and even "Good Feeling" during the slow dance romance segments of RP The DJ's 3 hour set. What I'm trying to say is that the Femmes debut album is really fucking good and solid from start to finish, because here we are with "To The Kill", which is perhaps my favorite song on this album. So now I've mentioned seven of the album's ten songs, which I think is a pretty good indication of just how undeniably great and huge this album is, to me, and a few others like me that I know or knew...
Like I said, I don't know how it was or is by you...The critics generally adore Violent Femmes, at least in those early years, those first two or three albums. I tend to respect the field of criticism, but your opinion may vary. I happen to like their weirder, more difficult second album, Hallowed Ground, a bit more, but this debut is certainly the better album, a true object of art, imbued with the magic of the time and place from which it came to be, pretty much perfect in it's completeness of tone and flow from beginning to end. Every song a slayer, and the whole thing still sounds good, like it hasn't aged a day, much less 28 years!

28 years!

I guess "timeless" is just a nicer way of saying "Holy fuck, I'm getting old! The Femmes are getting old!"
Hotcha! Hank

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Blogger AceAtredies said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 10, 2010 9:48 PM  
Blogger AceAtredies said...

This is my third try here. To quote Warren Zevon, your shit's fucked up", man. Heavy traffic?

I want to leave a comment, but find it hard to sum up the comlplicatedness of my positive femme feelings. Ever heard of GOIN (Get out of Iraq now), wth DeLorenzo? I got the dvd from Dr. Chad...

March 10, 2010 9:51 PM  
Blogger Hank Mohaski said...

Heavy traffic? LMAO!

Have not heard of GOIN, but will look into it.


March 16, 2010 3:22 PM  

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