Violent Femmes Bassist Sues Singer
In 2007 the Violent Femmes singer and guitarist Gordon Gano licensed the band’s hit “Blister In the Sun”, one of the most poppy songs about masturbation to be released for a Wendy’s advertising campaign. However, it seems bassist Brian Ritchie wasn’t as comfortable with the idea. Ritchie told Spinner, “I don’t like having my sound misappropriated to sell harmful products, such as fast food. That’s not why we made the music. It should not be hijacked. ” After the commercial aired, it took some time but Ritchie sued Gano for the song’s licensing, claiming that it not only tarnished the band’s credibility, but also for Gano’s conduct with the band’s property. It’s interesting because Gano is credited as the sole songwriter on most of the band’s material. Ritchie responded to this by stating this long diatribe: “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 more so." Gano’s a vegetarian? Well that makes this even stranger. This not only hurting the band’s chances for another reunion anytime soon, Ritchie says “There are certainly some disputes that haven't been resolved,” but also puts out the question – how is a song about masturbation appropriate for a burger ad? Since the band’s not jumping at a reunion, each member has been busy with their own side projects. Richie’s been playing in a surf band called the Break, Gano plays in the Ryan Brothers, and Femmes’ drummer Guy Hoffman is in Radio Romeo. Oh well, we always have “Add It Up”, and “Blister In the Sun” is the song I usually skip on their albums.