If you’re like me (and I know you are), you did a double take
when you saw the new commercial for Wendy’s. Actually, I didn’t
even see the whole spot -- I was in another room at the time. But
when I heard the Violent Femmes’ seminal hit, “Blister In The Sun” on
the TV, my ears perked up. Then my jaw dropped. Then my heart sank.
OK, I’m exaggerating a little bit. But I was really shocked to hear the Femmes in a Wendy’s commercial. In case that statement didn’t sink in, let me say that again: Milwaukee’s own Violent Femmes provided the soundtrack to a Wendy’s fast food commercial.
Gordon, Brian, Victor … come on. I know it’s been a few years since you’ve put out an album, and a few more since you’ve had a hit. But you’re still my favorite band, and I gotta say, I’m a little bummed.
“Let me go on, big hands I know you're the one.
Body and heat I stain my sheets I don't even know why.
My girlfriend she's at the end and she is starting to cry.”
Is this really an appropriate song to pitch chili? Apparently I’m not the only one who finds this a little weird. I Googled “Blister in the Sun + Wendy’s commercial” and came up with 762 results. The general consensus was puzzlement, as well as more than a few people questioning why a vegetarian like Gano would be pitching meaty chili.
But hey, who am I to judge? I hope the trio got a fat royalty check for lending their biggest hit to the fast food chain. And it gives me a good excuse to call Vic and catch up, who last I checked, had a studio down the street from the OMC headquarters. (Stay tuned for that.)
I can’t imagine it’ll do much for the band’s street cred, but I’m reminded of a story I heard about the Dandy Warhols, in which they gained a ton of momentum from a song of theirs that was played in a European cell phone commercial. The royalties and added CD sales built them a new studio in Portland and funded their subsequent work.
Granted, the Femmes have already sold zillions of records to several generations of surly teens, and their concerts still sell out worldwide. So I’ll reluctantly take the glass-full attitude here: Let's hope this bizarre musical pairing gets Milwaukee’s native sons back into David Vartanian’s studio, creating some fresh music -- that won’t find its way into a Wendy’s ad for another 25 years.
Milly | Feb. 22, 2007 at 8:28 a.m. (report)
I also heard a Femmes song in a recent episode of "What About Brian." Yes, I was watching it, but that show is garbage.
For the fans who rightfully are complaining about the Wendy's burger advertisement featuring Blister in the Sun. Gordon Gano is the publisher of the song and Warners is the record company. When they agree to use it there's nothing the rest of the band can do about it, because we don't own the song or the recording. That's showbiz. Therefore when you see dubious or in this case disgusting uses of our music you can thank the greed, insensitivity and poor taste of Gordon Gano. It is his karma that he lost his songwriting ability many years ago, probably due to his own lack of self-respect as his willingness to prostitute our songs demonstrates. Neither Gordon (vegetarian) nor me (gourmet) eat garbage like Wendy's burgers. I can't endorse them because I disagree with corporate food on culinary, political, health, economic and environmental grounds. However I see my life's work trivialized at the hands of my business partner over and over again, although I have raised my objections numerous times. As disgusted as you are I am moreso.
2 comments about this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Andy Tarnoff
Published Nov. 18, 2014
Take it for what its worth, but Playboy Magazine has Blue's Egg as one of its 101 best breakfasts in America (don't worry, the link is reasonably safe for work). The restaurant at 317 N. 76th St. came in 21st place out of 23 Midwest selections, just behind Mickie's Dairy Bar in Madison.
Published Nov. 11, 2014
Can you imagine how social media would've melted down exactly 101 years ago? Nov. 11, 2013 was the end of the "Big Blow," the "Freshwater Fury" or the "White Hurricane," a hurricane-force blizzard that killed more than 250 people and and destroyed 19 ships.
Published Oct. 28, 2014
I really didn't have any hope left after 25 days. As we entered the fourth week without our sweet, kind, missing cat, Jabie, I was beginning to come to peace with the reality that I'd never see her again. Then, yesterday, less than four blocks from home, a woman called my wife and said she had cajoled a black cat into her basement. My wife bolted home from work and immediately recognized Jabie coming up the stairs. Just to be sure, she took her to the closest vet to scan her microchip. And it came back as a match from Elmbrook Humane Society.
Published Oct. 22, 2014
Apple's new killer app, Apple Pay, may indeed someday change global commerce for good. That day isn't here yet, however. Three days after launch, my experiences with the NFC-based payment / tap to pay system show that Apple Pay is still very, very beta. At this point, you may find yourself using it barely at all.
Published Oct. 21, 2014
Mazen Muna, the owner of the Dogg Haus group of restaurants, shared his plans today to launch PhantomBar this spring at 780 N. Jefferson St. in Cathedral Square. The bar is under the umbrella of his new 12AM Management Group, which Muna says he founded to house "the new wave of businesses being added to the portfolio."
Published Oct. 16, 2014
Well before the Chinese eCommerce company Alibaba began making IPO rumblings in America, I was familiar with its offerings. I'd never bought anything from it ... until this month.
Published Oct. 8, 2014
Once upon a time, I figured that the magnificent, serene and beautiful Door County is a place only to be enjoyed by adults. Maybe my priorities have changed, though, because even after 20 years of visits, only recently did I come to the conclusion that kids could fall in love with this magical retreat, too. Turns out I was right. After the summer rush died down, we took our daughter up to Door County for the first time this weekend. It was a wonderful journey.
Published Oct. 7, 2014
Just about a week ago, our sweet little cat, Jabie, disappeared from our Bay View home. Maybe one of us left the patio door open a bit, I'm not sure. But after hours upon hours of walking the neighborhood, taping up posters and talking to every stranger we see, she's still nowhere to be found.
Published Sept. 27, 2014
I've been lucky enough to see the Dandy Warhols live several times over the last few years. But each time, I've had to travel to Chicago or Madison to hear them, which is a small sacrifice for one of my favorite bands over the last 15-plus years. So the opportunity to see the Dandys at Turner Hall was a welcome one, and as usual, provided for a great venue to see the Portland-based band Saturday night.
Published Sept. 23, 2014
Sunday morning, we headed to Mequon to pick apples, although not to Barthel's. On a friend's tip, we visit R-Apples (Roesch Farm), right next door at 12422 Farmdale Rd. What a wonderful, low-key experience. Not only was it peaceful and quiet, we picked apples and pears of many different varieties. Then we headed to their vegetable garden, and picked peppers and raspberries.