Back in 1983, The Violent Femmes’ self-titled first album came as a surprise out of nowhere, bringing some new tendencies into the folk side of indie rock.
Released on vinyl and cassette in April 1983 — and certified Platinum by the RIAA in 1991, the same year it charted on the Billboard 200 for the first time — Violent Femmes has achieved cult status and served as a perennial discovery for music lovers partial to unbridled expression of teen angst.
In July 1982, Violent Femmes headed to a Lake Geneva studio and cut their debut album’s 10 songs in just a week, funding the sessions with a $10,000 emergency loan co-signed by DeLorenzo’s father. Produced by Mark Van Hecke, Violent Femmes mostly consists of the band’s first takes and centers on a raw and potent sound augmented by their idiosyncratic instrumentation (Ritchie favored an acoustic, mariachi-style bass, while DeLorenzo’s minimalistic drum kit included an upside-down metal tub). “We were using tape, which was expensive, and paying for this record ourselves,” Ritchie says today. “We might have a few, false starts. We’d get a take, then say, ‘That sounds pretty good, let’s try a few more.’” After sorting through a deluge of rejection letters from record labels, the band released their full-length debut via Slash Records (a now-defunct offshoot of the Los Angeles punk zine, also home to punk trailblazers like X, the Germs, the Misfits, the Gun Club, and more).
Now, 40 years on, the band will reissue the album in a special anniversary edition on December 1, 2023.
The deluxe 2-CD and digital formats will feature newly remastered audio and over a dozen demos, B-sides, and live performances from the pioneering folk-punk trio — including alternate versions of iconic songs like “Blister in the Sun,” “Please Do Not Go,” “Gone Daddy Gone,” and “Add It Up.” A special 4-disc vinyl box set will follow on February 9th, 2024, limited to 5,000 copies worldwide.
Housed in a lift-top box with die-cut window detail, this collectible edition offers three 180-gram LPs — the original album, alongside the demos, and live material — plus, a replica 7-inch single (“Ugly”/“Gimme the Car”). The original album and single discs are cut from the original analog tapes, while lacquers for the complete set were cut by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio. Both the CD and LP editions will feature an expansive book with new liner notes by journalist and Rolling Stone senior editor David Fricke, complete with interviews with Violent Femmes members Gordon Gano, Brian Ritchie, and Victor DeLorenzo.
You can pre-order the Violent Femmes reissue here.
Special (Live At Beneath-It-All Café, Milwaukee, WI – 9/12/1981)
Country Death Song (Live At Beneath-It-All Café, Milwaukee, WI – 9/12/1981)
To The Kill (Live At Beneath-It-All Café, Milwaukee, WI – 9/12/1981)
Never Tell (Live At Beneath-It-All Café, Milwaukee, WI – 9/12/1981)
Break Song (Live At The Jazz Gallery, Milwaukee, WI – 12/8/1981)
Her Television (Live At The Jazz Gallery, Milwaukee, WI – 12/8/1981)
How Do You Say Goodbye (Live At The Jazz Gallery, Milwaukee, WI – 12/8/1981)
Theme and Variations (Live At The Jazz Gallery, Milwaukee, WI – 12/8/1981)
Prove My Love (Live At Folk City, New York, NY – 1/26/1983)
Gone Daddy Gone / I Just Want To Make Love To You (Live At Folk City, New York, NY – 1/26/1983)
Promise (Live At Folk City, New York, NY – 1/26/1983)
In Style (Live At Folk City, New York, NY – 1/26/1983)
Add It Up (Live At Folk City, New York, NY – 1/26/1983)
Tour Dates for Violent Femmes
10/11 – Queen Elizabeth Theatre (Toronto, ON) 10/12 – Mtelus (Montreal, QC) 10/13 – MGM Music Hall at Fenway (Boston, MA) 10/14 – Ulster Performing Arts Center (Kingston, NY) 10/15 – College Street Music Hall (New Haven, CT) 10/17 – Webster Hall (New York, NY) 10/18 – Starland Ballroom (Sayreville Station, NJ) 10/20 – Rams Head Live! (Baltimore, MD) 10/21 – The NorVa (Norfolk, VA) 10/22 – The National (Richmond, VA) 10/27 – Arizona State Fair (Phoenix, AZ) 11/16 – The Novo (Los Angeles, CA) 11/18 – Darker Waves 2023 (Huntington Beach, CA)
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.