Violent Femmes formed in 1981 as an acoustic punk band playing on the streets of Milwaukee. Their main influences at that time were Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps, and The Velvet Underground. Their goal was to rock harder than any other acoustic act on the planet.
They were rejected for an audition by a local nightclub and set up outside a Pretenders gig. Chrissie Hynde asked them to open that night’s show. This gave the early Femmes a publicity boost which led to them being invited to play in NYC supporting Richard Hell. A rave review in the New York Times led eventually to a record deal, which in turn spawned worldwide touring.
Their eponymous first album became the first and only album in Billboard history to enter the charts as a platinum album, eight years after its release. The Femmes became a mainstay of festivals, clubs and theatres in over 30 countries worldwide in the ensuing three decades.
MTV’s “Unplugged” show was inspired by the Femmes, although they never actually appeared on it. Their raw sound and honest lyrical perspective has been cited as an influence by artists as diverse as Pink, Keith Urban, The Smiths, Nirvana, Lou Reed, John Cusack, Mark Morris, and Wim Wenders.
Violent Femmes are currently touring in commemoration of the thirtieth anniversary of the release of their first album.
Videos & Press
For Immediate Release April 4, 2017 VIOLENT FEMMES ANNOUNCE NORTH AMERICAN CO-HEADLINING TOUR WITH ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN NEW ALBUM SLATED FOR LATER IN THE YEAR “Violent Femmes have rightly earned their place in musical history with their outstanding debut alone.” -NPR “The Wisconsin punk-folk trio’s first album in 18 years occasionally summons the warped […]
Violent Femmes We Can Do Anything Album Available March 4, 2016 Available March 4th, 2016, We Can Do Anything is Violent Femmes 9th studio album in the band’s 30 year history & first studio album in 15 years. LISTEN HERE!
[Journal Sentinel] By Piet Levy Steve Miller wasn’t the only famous Milwaukee-born rocker with big news Thursday. The Violent Femmes — the folk punk pioneers featuring natives Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie — announced Thursday that it will be releasing its first full-length album in 15 years on March 4. Titled “We Can Do Anything,” […]
[Stereogum] By Tom Breihan The 1982 self-titled debut from the Violent Femmes is a near-perfect ball of tuneful anxiety; it’s basically a perfect album. And while the band never released another one of those, they spent the ’80s and early ’90s cranking out great songs at an alarming clip. Other than a four-year period where […]
[Consequence of Sound] By Michelle Geslani While most artists unearth old B-sides and demos for Record Store Day, Violent Femmes have quite the special treat for their fans: the band’s first collection of new songs in 15 years. The Happy New Year EP features four new tracks and serves as the follow-up to 2000’s Freak […]
Journal Sentinel April 15, 2013 By Piet Levy “Good evening everyone, we’re called Violent Femmes and we play songs,” Victor DeLorenzo, drummer for the famed Milwaukee band, said at the start of the group’s Coachella show Saturday. He has a way with understatement. What DeLorenzo said was true, but he was definitely downplaying the significance […]