Violent Femmes 40th Anniversary Tour Diary by Brian Ritchie #3 - Life Is An Adventure -
Violent Femmes play The Stone Pony outdoor stage

Violent Femmes play The Stone Pony outdoor stage

Violent Femmes 40th Anniversary Tour Diary by Brian Ritchie #3 – Life Is An Adventure

by Brian Ritchie on September 14, 2021

in News

Violent Femmes are touring North America. This week the show winds through Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, Rochester and Saratoga Springs.

While on tour the Femmes Brian Ritchie is checking into Noise11 with the Violent Femmes tour diary. Here is Part 3 from Brian:

We have a song called Life Is An Adventure in which Gordon veers between very uplifting sentiments like: Life is an adventure, made for an adventurer, made just for the boy who can, grow up strong and become a man… gibberish such as: I told you once, I told you twice, Japanese eat lots of rice.

This is a metaphor for our reasoning behind doing one of the first major tours coming out of Covid restrictions. If you’re in a band for 40+ years there are not a lot of musical mountains yet to climb, and if you did, few would notice. But longevity will bring you to new challenges, new markets, new paradigms that arise from the environment. You don’t have to do anything. Just fasten your seatbelt.

We made a decision to risk touring in a volatile situation, commercially, logistically and even medically. Life is an adventure. Why not?

Our last episode had Violent Femmes (and probably the audience) brushing away the Covid cobwebs and gingerly re-approaching rock for the current time. It has been stated many times Rock & Roll Will Never Die but this theory has been put to the test in recent years. Even before Covid, youth energy has been moving towards video game design, DJs, the graphic novel and other endeavours. This swing of the tour brings us to the blood and guts American cities where Rock and Roll truly never dies. Columbus, Detroit, Cleveland and Springsteen’s breeding ground Asbury Park are die-hards.

First a culinary note: Skyline Chili is a classic Cincinnati style chili, incorporating Greek and Middle Eastern spices, spaghetti, beans, cheese, and delicious crackers. They also put it on mini-dogs. This is our after show food in Columbus, on our parallel tour of regional specialties.

Skyline chili and chili dog. Photo: BR

We do an overnighter from Columbus to Detroit, which gets us into our hotel at 7AM. We decided not to go into many public places on this tour and take our tourism outdoors but the Detroit Institute of Art is inescapable. It is one of the best museums in the world. I say this as someone who is a curator at one of the other greats, Mona (Museum of Old and New Art) in Tasmania. That’s my day job. Varuni and I had the entire museum to ourselves from 9- 10:15AM. To attend you must book an appointment, due to Covid restrictions. It was a heavenly experience. I will show a few artworks which will be of interest to rock fans for purposes of this blog.

Bronze replication of the shirt John Lennon wore when he was murdered. Artist: Yoko Ono Photo: Dr. Varuni Kulasekera.

Sculpture made of remnants of Jimi Hendrix’s apartment. Artist: Cornelia Parker. Photo: Dr. Varuni Kulasekera

Detroit is, as they say, Rock City. We are playing a spectacular Masonic Temple that has been refurbished with the assistance of Jack White (of White Stripes). Jack casts a long shadow in this town. He also has Third Man Records, which sells vinyl and merchandise, has a small performance space, recording studio and pressing plant. I rode my bike over to check it out. Jack’s persistence in adding to the community is admirable, in addition to his musical excellence.

Jack White’s Third Man Records. Photo: BR

The Masonic is our first indoor show on the tour. One of the most frequently asked interview questions is: So, what kind of venue do you like the best, clubs, theatres, festival stages? Covid has changed the answer to: Outdoor. Out of necessity. But this theatre is spectacular and Detroit rock fans are some of the most fervent. We dedicate a song to our long-time and recently departed saxophonist Steve Mackay. Steve was a treasure of Michigan music, having been in The Stooges.

The Midwest is full of cities like VF’s hometown of Milwaukee and our next tour stop, Cleveland, where the tedium of living in the 70’s and 80’s gave aspiring musicians plenty of time to create. Where live music became a respite for the fans from the industrial grind of their jobs and the environment. Jacob’s Pavilion is in The Flats. On our earlier tours it was a seedy area, but now it’s gentrified with plenty of clubs, venues and restaurants.

Jacob’s Pavilion Cleveland: Photo: Dr. Varuni Kulasekera

Cleveland fans attending by kayak: Photo: Dr. Varuni Kulasekera

Another overnight drive takes us to Asbury Park and The Stone Pony. This club is legendary as the dive bar where Springsteen and the E Street Band honed their act. We’ve played inside where Bruce and Co. played but now, due to popular demand, we play the larger outdoor stage. By this point we have been joined on the tour by Me First and The Gimme Gimmes. This is an amusing cover band featuring moonlighting punk royalty from the Ramones, Damned, NOFX and Social Distortion. It’s a beautiful night on the beach and boardwalk for an outdoor show.

The Stone Pony Outdoor Stage. Photo: KSPRZK

©2021 Brian Ritchie

Violent Femmes North American tour dates.

For Brian Ritchie’s previous tour diaries look no further than here:

Brian Ritchie Violent Femmes tour diary #1

Brian Ritchie Violent Femmes tour diary #2

Brian Ritchie Violent Femmes tour diary #3

Brian Ritchie Violent Femmes tour diary #4

Follow Noise11 on Social Media

NEW: Noise11 on YouTube SUBSCRIBE

Noise11 on Instagram

You’ll discover music news first following Noise11 on Twitter

Comment on the news of the day, join Noise11 on Facebook



Related Posts

Fugees Reform For World Tour

Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean and Pras Michel have reformed Fugees. The 90s hip-hop group has announced their first world tour in 25 years and first shows in 15 years.

1 day ago
Prince at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne on 21 October 2003. Photo by Ros O'Gorman http:://
The O2 Honor Prince

The O2 has unveiled a special piece of custom artwork commissioned to honour Prince and his record breaking ‘21 Nights in London’ residency at the venue in 2007, and has subsequently kick-started the ‘21 Club at The O2’ to celebrate any artist or performer who has played 21 or more dates at the arena.

1 day ago
Liam Gallagher, Beady Eye, Photo By Ros O'Gorman
Liam Gallagher Falls Out Of A Helicopter. Lucky It Was On The Ground

Liam Gallagher has cancelled his Belfast gig after he split his nose open falling out of a helicopter.

1 day ago
Guns N Roses perform at the MCG in Melbourne on Tuesday 14 February 2017. Guns N Roses are touring Australia on their Not In This Lifetime tour. Photo Ros O'Gorman
Guns N Roses Preview Another New Song

Slash has uploaded a video of what is expected to be a new Guns N Roses song called ‘Hard Skool’.

2 days ago
Tori Amos, palais Melbourne 2014, ros ogorman photo
Tori Amos Christens New Album ‘Ocean To Ocean’

Tori Amos' upcoming album is about being in her "own private hell" in lockdown.

2 days ago
Damon Albarn photo by Ros OGorman
Damon Albarn Teases Gorillaz’s Bad Bunny Collaboration

Gorillaz have teamed up with Bad Bunny on an upcoming song.

2 days ago
Damon Albarn Melbourne 2014, photo ros ogorman
Damon Albarn’s New Album Title Is Years Old

Damon Albarn chose his album title "years ago". Albarn has released his latest solo album, 'The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows' - the follow-up to 2014’s 'Everyday Robots' - and explained he had singled out a line from poet John Clare's 'Love And Memory' some time ago with the intention of using it in a musical project one day.

3 days ago