Violent Femmes Drummer Ditches Reunion; Accuses Bandmates of 'Disrespect, Dishonesty and Greed'

4:15 PM PST 07/17/2013 by Mick Stingley
Francis Ford
Violent Femmes' original lineup (from left): Victor DeLorenzo, Gordon Gano and Brian Ritchie.

In a scathing letter, founding member Victor DeLorenzo writes: "As John Lennon once said, 'The Dream is over.' … In regards to my history with Violent Femmes, 'the Dream never quite got there.' "

Brian Viglione of The Dresden Dolls is the new drummer for the Violent Femmes, replacing founding member, drummer Victor DeLorenzo. The band recently reunited for its first shows since 2006 and played Coachella, celebrating the 30th anniversary of its self-titled debut. The band was three shows into the reunion when DeLorenzo announced his departure Tuesday.

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Victor first posted a comment on Facebook this week announcing his exit from the band. “…don’t let yer past inter-fear with your future, yeah…,” and has since followed with an official statement indicating acrimony over contracts. This is not the first time the Femmes have faced internal band controversy in recent years. In 2007, bass player Brian Ritchie sued singer-guitarist Gordon Gano over the licensing of “Blister in the Sun” to Wendy’s. The suit was settled out of court in 2012.

DeLorenzo’s statement, in full:

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 3 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 2 of the biggest concert Promoters in the World that handled 2 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

On Monday, Viglione posted his own announcement, via the Dresden Dolls' Facebook page. “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!”

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Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls posted about Viglione’s new gig on her blog at Amandapalmer.net, suggesting that the band has not broken up. “I couldn’t be more proud of my friend, Mr. Brian Viglione… he’s scored a new gig as the official new drummer of the violent femmes. We were both raised by their music, and it’s so awesome and fucking fitting that a band like the femmes, who were such a huge influence on the dresden dolls, would fill their drum-throne with The Vig Himself. …As for the dresden dolls, we will never die. I’ve said it time and time again, we will keep playing when and where it makes sense. We love each other and love playing together and it’s like a rich dessert, needs to be the right dose at the right time. Maybe an epic femmes/dolls mega-double bill is in order, somewhere… THE DRESDEN FEMMES? THE VIOLENT DOLLS. I’m in.”

Violent Femmes is now Brian Ritchie, Gordon Gano and Brian Viglione. The band plays Rumsey Playing Field in Central Park, New York, on Sept. 12 and Chicago on Sept. 14.

Twitter: @THRMusic

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