Andy Tarnoff over at OnMilwaukee.com comments on the use of the Violent Femmes anthem “Blister in the Sun” in a new Wendy’s commercial. Brian Ritchie (bass) commented on the talkback section and disclosed a bit more than I think Andy was looking for, taking Gordon Gano and Warner music to task for letting Wendy’s use the song. He revealed that he has little to know respect for Gordon anymore.
Tarnoff closes the article by stating “I’m not sure I’d want to watch a band play out knowing they hate each other’s guts.” I think that Andy has a pie in the sky view of many touring rock bands. Joey and Johnny Ramone, members of one of the best bands of all time, hated each others guts and didn’t speak for years, yet they toured together. For many of these bands its a business and a career and as with all jobs you don’t always like your co-workers.
The Violent Femmes haven’t released a decent record since “Why Do Birds Sing” which was released 16 years ago. Anyone who has seen them in the past 5 years realizes they are just in it for the money. They show no energy, passion, or enthusiasm for the songs. They are going through the motions. I saw them at Zoo Ala Carte a couple of years back and they were so boring that we left before the concert ended. I also saw them open for the BoDeans at a New Years Eve Party at Navy Pier in Chicago and somehow they managed to make the most festive night of the year into an hour long yawn-fest.
As for fans anger over them “selling out” to Wendy’s, who cares? Put yourself in their shoes. These guys get to play music for a living and the extra money from Wendy’s allows them (or at least Gano) to continue to do that even though they haven’t had a hit in years. It is unfortunatee that one band member can make this decision without the input of others, but if Gordon wrote the song and Warner holds the rights, there isn’t much the other members can do. I do agree with Ritchie’s assessment that Wendy’s burgers are garbage. Plus, who in the hell wants to eat a square burger? It’s unnatural.
Unfortunately, Brian Ritchie is as much to blame as Gordon Gano for the demise of the Femmes. His ignorance and arrogance has cost the Femmes all credibility in the music industry. He is a complete embarassment.