What is the best type of music? That is a question that gets thrown around a lot nowadays. It can range from rock to punk, to rap to even opera. Yes, some people really enjoy opera, in my opinion its mostly very proper folks or old guys who have a fetish of watching a fat lady sing. The point is, the question is subjective and doesn’t have a right or wrong answer.
Whenever people ask me what my favorite music is it puzzles me. I don’t know, music isn’t really my thing, however whenever people ask me what my favorite band is I always say two words: Violent Femmes.
Violent Femmes is an intriguing name, when I first heard of them I thought they were just a bunch of dudes who wear dresses and have anger problems. People have always questioned what does Violent Femmes mean? Perhaps I have finally found the answer.
On Saturday night (July 29th, 2017), I was lucky enough to see the Femmes live at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, California. It was probably the eighteenth time I have seen them live, and let me tell you they put on one heck of a show, and as the previous seventeen times they did not disappoint. This time was different though, as I was ten feet away from one of my personal heroes, Gordon Gano.
Gordon Gano is the front man of the band, also the lyricists to 95% of their songs. Each song Gano has written has a different main component to it, including sex, religion, and even love. His lyrics have always inspired me to write poems. His talent has really made me feel that he may be a genius hidden behind a three minute song.
In between songs that the Femmes played, Gano enjoyed talking to the crowd like he was a comedian, he was funny and personable. He played a song called, “Waiting for the Bus,” which is a song about being on a bus forever and the bus driver not knowing his way around town. Gano told the sold – out crowd he didn’t know what type of music the Femmes were playing. “Is it rock? Or is it the blues?” Gano joked. “Am I singing? Am I not singing? I don’t know.” The crowd laughed not because it was really funny, but because they like me, love Gano.
As I watched him sing his classic songs, I was surprised that the entire crowd cheered when the band started to play, “Country Death Song.” Which is a very dark song about a man who killed his daughter, then killed himself. It’s an upbeat tune with a daring subject matter, perhaps that is what Violent Femmes mean, daring. The crowd went nuts as Gano shouted, “Close your eyes dear, and count to seven.” The Femmes then did seven fast musical beats showing their sense of humor.
The Femmes are mostly known for their songs, “Blister in the Sun, Kiss Off, and Add It Up.” These songs are songs the entire crowd sang every word to, but a song that the Femmes do perform that isn’t as popular is a song called, “Good Feeling.”
The song, “Good Feeling“, is about not wanting a good feeling to go away, I am sure the song is coming off a drug high or any other good feelings that sadly go away over time. The Femmes did not play this song on July 29th, 2017 but I wish they had because I wish they would have stayed onstage just a little longer.
I didn’t get a chance to meet Gano, as the Femmes signed autographs for merchandise after the show. I overheard one of the band’s security guards say that Gano had a stomachache and wasn’t coming out. I wanted to shout, “ I know where to buy some Pepto Bismol!” I waited all night hoping to meet Gano but that chance never came and as the crowd left the concert to ride rides at the fair, or head home, my hopes slowly went away.
My hopes were to have interviewed Gano on my podcast Reza Rifts (check it out on iTunes, the apple podcast app, subscribe rate and review, show me some love make Adam Carolla jealous) so I can interview him and tell him how much of an inspiration he has been for my writing and my career. That would have meant the world to me but it will have to wait for another time. I was ten feet away from Gano, and it was one of the few times in my life I was star struck.
Magic, perhaps that’s the meaning of the Violent Femmes, because that night magic was in the air. The Pacific Amphitheatre were singing along to all the songs the Femmes did in tune and it was a night of peace and comfort. That is what Gano’s music has done for me, and I’m certain that is what he has done for entire sold-out crowd in the theater that night.
I was thinking what does Violent Femmes mean at the beginning of this blog, and then after I wrote it I realized that I have the perfect answer. To me, Violent Femmes means a good feeling, kind of like the feeling that we all wish just stayed a little longer.
Now you are probably asking yourself this. Will Gordon Gano ever do Reza Rifts? (which I don’t know if I mentioned but it’s on iTunes, and the apple podcast app, subscribe rate and review the show, show me some love and make Adam Carolla jealous) I can only hope! But I do know one thing for sure is, I got a good feeling and no one will ever take that away.
Check out the Violent Femmes new album on iTunes called 2 Mics & the Truth: Unplugged & Unhinged In America. (while you’re at it...) You can also follow them on twitter @violentfemmes
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PS. Love you Adam.