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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Nov. 21, 2014

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In Music

Brian Ritchie (PHOTO: Eron Laber of Front Room Photography )

In Music

Ritchie and his wife, Dr. Varuni Kulasekera (PHOTO: Eron Laber of Front Room Photography )

In Music

In Music

In Music

In Music

The Violent Femmes. Photo credit: Jim Herrington (PHOTO: Eron Laber of Front Room Photography )

Milwaukee Talks: Brian Ritchie


(page 2)


OMC: You and Vic stayed close even during the time he was out of the band, right?

BR: Victor and I started hanging out again at a lot of funerals together.

OMC: Hey, those events can bring people together.

BR: Victor and I were really close friends before the Femmes started, so friends like that you can't lose.

OMC: When you play together, does it sometimes feel like you're back in 1982?

BR: I think we're better! Actually, that's one of the things that led to Victor coming back. We were listening to all the vintage live recording when we were putting together the re-issue of the first album with the bonus CD and live tracks. We got together at Victor's studio and had to listen to all this stuff, and one thing that came out of this was, yeah, we're better than all of this now. And that just comes from practice.

OMC: Is it a little weird to you that you have teenage fans that might not have even been born when your first album came out?

BR: Some of them are our kids!

OMC: It's like the generation that loved your work then grew up with you, but you're still popular in that teenage angst crowd.

BR: I can't think of any other band that has that kind of phenomena. There are other bands from our generation that are more commercial and more successful, but they can't say that particular thing about themselves. If you go to an REM show, it's not going to be like that. We all started out with the same audience. If you really think about what rock 'n' roll is, there's better adult music out there. It's mainly for kids, and I'm happy to be playing for them.

OMC: Are you writing new material?

BR: Um, I don't know. I'm writing material, but we're debating what we want to do next in terms of recording.

OMC: It's kind of been a while since you had a new record.

BR: Yeah, the last experience we had was really unhappy, and I think that put a wet blanket over Gordon Gano. It was unhappy because of external factors. I talked about it recently with Gordon and he said he didn't want to just get together and make another album like all the others. So, at least we agreed that we have to do something different this time. But lets face it, there's no commercial incentive to make records anymore, since record sales are down. It's really hard for a band like us to assume that we'd get any airplay. So we have to do it for strictly our own reasons, which would be the pleasure of making it.

OMC: Could you make an album at this point that sounded really different?

BR: Yeah, we have a lot of talent in the band and a lot of creativity. There's certainly the potential to do something, but the public hasn't always responded to our efforts.

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