Violent Femmes 2013

The Violent Femmes have only played a handful of shows since reuniting this past April, but the band’s already experienced a major lineup shake-up: Drummer Victor DeLorenzo — who promised the band’s Coachella reunion would be a “monstrous thing of beauty” — is out (again), replaced by Brian Vigilone of The Dresden Dolls.

Vigilone made the announcement on the Dresden Dolls’ Facebook page Monday, posting a photo of himself with new bandmates Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie (see above). It’s not clear whether DeLorenzo quit the band or was kicked out, as neither he nor the band have made a public statement.

UPDATE: DeLorenzo has now issued a statement about his departure from the Femmes, in which he blames the band’s business arrangements for his decision, writing that he was met with “a great deal of disrespect, dishonesty and greed” (see full statement below).

As for his involvement, Vigilone wrote on Facebook:

Hey Dolls Fans! IT’S OFFICIAL- I HAVE JOINED THE VIOLENT FEMMES!

Good morning! It’s with inexpressible joy that I announce this news today. Amanda and I have always loved and been inspired by this band, and been fortunate enough to share the stage with them several times in the past. But to now be their new drummer is a dream come true and hope to see some of you out there on tour!

The band’s performances at Coachella this past April were the first in five years. Apparently Ritchie has overcome his anger toward Gano, after having sued the singer over his decision to license the band’s masturbation-themed hit “Blister in the Sun” for use in a 30-second Wendy’s TV spot.

Of late, Ritchie, who lives in Tasmania, has been playing bass with The Break, an instrumental surf-rock combo featuring members of Midnight Oil, and also helped the Dresden Dolls perform the Femmes’ classic debut at a festival last year. As for Gano, he surfaced in Denver a couple times over the past year to play shows with a tribute band called Dirty Femmes.

According to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, DeLorenzo has been cryptic about his past departure from the band, in 1993, when he was replaced by Guy Hoffman until his return in 2000.

DeLorenzo told the paper this past spring:

“I lost my faith in what we were doing, and I lost faith in the people that I was doing it with. Gordon and Brian kicked me out — or did I quit? It’s probably a little bit of both, depending on who you talk to.”

The Femmes currently are only scheduled to play two shows: Sept. 12 in New York’s Central Park and Sept. 14 at Riot Fest in Chicago.

 

Statement from Victor DeLorenzo:

It’s always hard to write a eulogy for a lost loved one. In this case, I sadly lament the loss of a dream and an ideal that was once Violent Femmes.

When I first heard the news about the possibility of the original Violent Femmes reuniting, I was excited that once again our group might be able to play music for the fans that love us and for the new fans that have never had the chance to see us create the music live. The only conditions that I had were that the three of us move forward to repair our relationships within the band, and that we would strive to attain a fair business agreement that would reflect a new way of handling the business that wouldn’t be ‘business as usual.’ Sadly, my open-hearted approach to finding a way to move forward wasn’t shared by Violent Femmes. What was finally being offered to me was, ‘business as usual,’ with a great deal of disrespect, dishonesty and greed.

After having found out that the promoters of our recent concerts weren’t interested in booking our group unless it was, ‘the reunion of the original band,’ I spoke to two of the biggest concert promoters in the world that handled two of our shows, and they told me directly that this was true. So it confuses me that fans and the promoters see the value in presenting the original band, but not the band itself. I realize that I’m no longer part of the copyright after having given up my business interest in Violent Femmes years ago, but I will always be part of the birthright of Violent Femmes, for which I will always be very proud! I’m sorry and I apologize that the fans, promoters and agents won’t get to see the Violent Femmes show that was being offered and that people bought tickets to see.

As John Lennon once said, ‘the dream is over.’ In regards to my history with Violent Femmes, the dream never quite got there.

So on the evening of June 26th, 2013, on the stage of the Marcus Amphitheater at Summerfest, I gave to the world my last performance with Violent Femmes. Milwaukee, we were yours for the night, and now forever!

Sincerely and with warm regards,

Victor DeLorenzo

 

Violent Femmes tour dates:

Sept. 12: Rumsey Playfield, Central Park, New York NY
Sept. 14: Riot Fest, Chicago, IL

 

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