Magazine article Guitar Player

Songcraft: Violent Femmes

Magazine article Guitar Player

Songcraft: Violent Femmes

Article excerpt

Eighteen years ago, there wasn't a single Milwaukee club that would let the Violent Femmes play, so the band made the sidewalk their stage. The street performances led to their discovery by Pretenders' James Honeyman-Scott, and the teenage anthems penned by guitarist/ frontperson Gordon Gano for the band's 1983 self-titled debut still resonate--as evidenced by the audible reactions on the band's recent live CD, Viva Wisconsin. The Violent Femmes' seventh studio album, Freak Magnet [Beyond Records]--which includes the comedic punk thrasher "Mosh Pit"--shows that the band's music is still spiked with an adolescent charge.

"The way a song turns out can depend on the guitar I play when I'm writing," says Gano. "I'll usually write with an acoustic, but if I think a song should be more trashy, I'll grab an electric--even if it's not plugged in. An electric makes me want to play barre chords up high on the neck, but my mid-'30s Martin acoustic really wants to be played with open chords in a folk or country way. …

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