Violent Femmes Celebrates Four Decades of Making American Music

The Violent women celebrate 40 years of being one of the best active alternative rock bands. With a series of reissues under the arm of Why do birds sing?, his fifth studio album, and the compilation Add it Up (1981-1993)In acetate format, the band formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the early 1980s continues to make their own version of American music.

When in April 1991 the Violent women they edited Why do birds sing?, the band commanded by Gordon Won it still had a unique sound that mixed punk and new wave with gospel, American country, jazz from Sun Ra and other apparently unrelated sounds, which helped define what today could be pigeonholed under the label of “alternative rock.”

Led by Gano on acoustic guitar and vocals, Brian Ritchie on acoustic bass and originally Victor DeLorenzo on the percussions or “mixing the soup”, as they referred to in their concerts, the Violent Women They were always a band of weirdos who did not fit the stereotypes of the time. They never made the covers of magazines or had a number 1, but they managed to generate a cult of followers that has adored and accompanied them through various separations, personnel changes, legal lawsuits, but yes, a formidable musical legacy.

“We are avant-garde because we are very reactionary,” Gano told the magazine. Rolling Stone in 1983, the year they released their self-titled debut album which contained the explosive “Blister in the Sun”. And he added: “Most of the music today is formulaic, anti-emotional and decadent crap. We return to improvisation, to pure and primitive emotions and to the sounds of yesteryear ”. For the rest of the decade, the band tried to get away from the very formula that had brought them into the spotlight. On their subsequent albums they dabbled in country punk with almost gothic overtones, something we could call alternative gospel in an acoustic punk that mixed rock and roll, jazz and something else. A real musical soup.

The music on his fifth album seemed to return to a basic acoustic instrumentation: guitar, bass, drums and vocals without much frills or elements of the time. He professed to us that Violent women they liked that thing called just “American music.” At that time this was a true musical antithesis, where the pompous still reigned hair metal —Genre that dominated the previous decade—, while the successes of bands like Metallica O Guns ‘n’ Roses they were everywhere. At the other extreme, Violent Women maintained a completely alien spirit and with meeting points closer to Camper By Beethoven, Meat Puppets, The Minutemen O The Replacements and bands adored by the university radio of the time.

The band participated that 1991 in the first edition of the festival Lollapalooza, created by Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction. The world was just preparing for the sonic revolution that Nirvana would cause and that would give rise to the explosion of the alternative.

Michael Beinhorn was the one who helped to achieve an austere and very minimalist production. Having previously worked alongside Bill Laswell, Brian There and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, producer Beinhorn helped make the band sound raw without much frills again as on their early recordings. I was also in the studio Susan Rogers, the trusted engineer of Prince for many years; they even worked on an unpublished composition by the Minneapolis genius that was left unfinished.

Four decades after starting his career on the streets “mixing the soup”, the Violent women They have survived lawsuits for royalties, separations, lineup changes, and the back and forth of various musical fads. True to its origins, the band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, always chose to forge their own sound from the most primitive and simple. A guitar, bass, drums and a good choir are all you need to keep the audience dancing to that American music that we love so much.

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Antonio Becerril

Operations Coordinator of El Economista online

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