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Violent Femmes’ landmark debut will get deluxe reissue

Craft Recordings

One of Milwaukee’s greatest musical exports has already been busy on the road celebrating a big anniversary. Today, Violent Femmes announced they’ll add to the festivities by releasing a 40th anniversary edition of their self-titled debut album.

The collection includes newly remastered audio and more than a dozen demos, B-sides, and live performances recorded in their hometown and in New York. The bonus materials feature alternate versions of “Blister in the Sun, “Please Do Not Go,” “Gone Daddy Gone” and “Add It Up." All of that will come with the digital package, as well as the two-CD set — both of which are due out Dec. 1 and available for pre-order now.

But wait! There’s more! For that Violent Femmes superfan in your life (or maybe just you), there’s a four-disc vinyl set coming out Feb. 9 that’ll be limited to 5,000 copies worldwide. As you can expect with such limited editions, its trappings are pretty fancy, with the LPs housed in a lift-top box with die-cut window detail.

If you pick up the CD or vinyl versions, you’ll also get an accompanying book with new liner notes composed by journalist and Rolling Stone editor David Fricke, as well as interviews with band members Gordon Gano, Brian Ritchie and Victor DeLorenzo. Ritchie had this to say in the press release:

I am frequently stopped on the street by people who tell me, “Your album changed my life,” or some variant. I don’t have to ask, “Which album?” because it is implied that they’re talking about the first one. The uncanny thing is that these people range from early teens to septuagenarians, and they all have the same testimony. Sometimes music is more than just a pleasing sound that entertains. It takes on greater meaning. Multiple generations have found the songs to be relevant in their life situations. Some people say they had sex for the first time listening to it (which I find appalling but whatever) and someone even said, “I was conceived to your music.” Wow.

If you don’t want to wait to get a sniff of the big release, you can head to most digital platforms right now to pre-save the deluxe edition and listen to the first single: a live version of “Gone Daddy Gone” and “I Just Want to Make Love to You” recorded at Folk City in New York. For the latter song, the Femmes tossed in a verse from the Muddy Waters/Willie Dixon classic. But, obviously, the star of the recording hails from their 1983 debut.

The self-titled album got its start in July 1982 at a Lake Geneva recording studio, with the band cranking out all 10 tracks in a week, aided by a $10,000 emergency loan DeLorenzo’s dad co-signed. The truncated timeline meant a lot of first takes made it into the final cut, which most record labels swatted away before the Femmes released it on long-departed Slash Records.

Rolling Stones quickly confirmed the mistake made by most of those labels, calling Violent Femmes “an unnervingly precocious debut” by a band “that not only acts like it just reinvented rock & roll but somehow manages to sound like it as well.”