Violent Femmes formed in 1981 as an acoustic punk band playing on the streets of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 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.
After being rejected for an audition by a local nightclub, the Femmes set up outside a Pretenders gig and began to play. Pretenders’ lead singer Chrissie Hynde asked them to open that night’s show, which gave the young band a publicity boost and caught the attention of Richard Hell, who invited the Femmes to open for him in NYC. A rave review in the New York Times eventually led to a record deal, which in turn spawned worldwide touring.
Violent Femmes eponymous debut album became the first and only album in Billboard history to enter the charts with a platinum certification- eight years after its release. Over the ensuing three decades, the Femmes became a mainstay of festivals, clubs, and theaters in more than 20 countries worldwide.
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, The Pixies, John Cusack, Mark Morris, and Wim Wenders.
More than 30 years into their careers, Violent Femmes spent 2019 touring extensively and released Hotel Last Resort. After the COVID shutdown they successfully completed a full US tour with Flogging Molly in 2021. US touring continues through 2022.
2023 will mark the 40th anniversary of the band’s debut album. The songs continue to impact younger generations to this day.
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