The Violent Femmes were a big part of my life around their first album. I can't tell you how many times I've sung Blister In The Sun. For a time, I was regularly playing solo sets at a local restaurant/nightclub in the aforementioned big country town and Blister... was a regular house favourite. I've had chorus' of very drunk football players accompanying me, I've had a roaming trumpeter jump up and play an unforgettable solo accompaniment and I've had just about all the bar and wait staff on the stage one night, backing me up. It's a true classic and one I never tire of hearing. I still have the single of their version of Children Of The Revolution.
Listening to this collection takes me back to the start of the 90s, when, over a period of a few weeks, I saw The Violent Femmes, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Nirvana, all at the same venue in the big country town known as the Capital of Australia, Canberra. It was crazy, it was wild and it burnt away more brain cells than I care to think about (not that I can tell, anyway).
My Violent Femmes story starts when, as a music journalist for a street-press publication, I was given the task of interviewing the bass player, Brian Ritchie, before the show. Ever the consummate professional, my nerves got the better of me and I asked the most inane question of him right off the bat - why he had cut his well-known long hair. His response was basically "its just fucking hair, who cares?" Suffice to say, the interview didn't go too well after this horrendous start, despite my fawning. At least I still got my free tickets.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
Huh. Odd, after yesterday's Teenage Fanclub fiasco, I can now tell you about a band I successfully saw at Selinas. And the only mosh pit I've ever been in (for any time, that is, I did try and mosh to The Cult but that crowd was BIG and MEAN and we ran away quickly.)
So this would have been in about 89 or 90, right in the middle of this compilation, which as far as I'm concerned gives you all the best Femmes songs. Gone Daddy Gone, Blister, Add It Up, 36-24-36, Gimme The Car - I can go on, but hey, if you like the Femmes, but don't want to buy all the albums, this is the CD for you. It has some great live versions too.
So there I am, about three rows of heaving humanity from the stage at the Femmes and this guy falls down in the mosh pit in front of me. I'm doing my best not to fall over or stand on him, and he reaches back to grab me to help him up. And this other guy, moshing next to me, who sees that I am about 50 kilos wringing wet (those were the days) reaches out, grabs his hand and helps him up. A polite mosh pit, but then wouldn't you expect that at the Femmes?
Unlike the Pogues, who I saw later that year and where I counted about 10 to 15 people emerging from the pit bleeding from varous parts of their bodies.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
For more information: http://www.vfemmes.com/