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Friday, April 20, 2012

"Blister in the Sun"

Violent Femmes - "Blister in the Sun" (1983)

The one that started, and ended it all.

Debut single from their debut eponymous album, the Violent Femmes kicked off the "Alternative Rock" label almost a decade before America embraced it. The album went platinum, eight years after its release. The music was written by the bands youngest member, singer and guitarist Gordon Gano, while he was still in high school. The song, as well as the album it came from helped launch a new sub genre in America: folk punk. Kick-started in Ireland by The Pogues, the Violent Femmes played a similar style of blended music. Acoustic guitar based, but short punchy songs, witty lyrics sang by a almost whiny untrained voice, and as few chords as possible. Even their bass player is playing acoustic. The drummer is playing on a single tom drum set, bare bones stuff, which is actually right in line with both Folk and Punk sensibilities. Two verses and a chorus, just repeated for two and a half minutes long, and yet it's one of the songs that stands the test, and sounds as great today as the first time I heard it.

The version from Grosse Pointe Blank ? That was new, they had to record it again because the original master tapes weren't available, at the time they had a new drummer, so it Guy Hoffman who got to share the huge success the band was enjoying while he played with them from 1993 until 2002. Victor DeLorenzo was the original drummer with the band from its start in 1980 until he left the band to do his own solo work. The original lineup did reunite in 2002 and played together until a long ugly public lawsuit eventually caused the band to disband. The lawsuit was about this song.

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