By 1983, the Violent Femmes, newly signed to Slash Records, the punk label that was already home to bands like X and The Germs, released their self-titled debut. Written by frontman Gordon Gano while he was still in high school, the seminal release spewed the anthemic punk of “Blister in the Sun,” “Add it Up,” and “Gone Daddy Gone,” cementing the Milwaukee-bred trio, then composed of founding members Gano, bassist Brian Ritchie, and drummer Victor DeLorenzo, as folk-punk pioneers.
Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the band’s original inception in 1981—when the band were “discovered” while busking outside the Oriental Theatre by The Pretenders’ guitarist James Honeyman-Scott, who invited them on stage later that evening—Craft Recordings is reissuing the band’s out-of-print vinyl Add It Up (1981–1993), out May 21.
The 23-track compilation also features Femmes’ hits “Blister in the Sun,” “American Music,” “Gone Daddy,” and more pulled from the band’s first five albums ending with Why Do Birds Sing? in 1991 (also the band’s final album with DeLorenzo), in addition to live recordings, b-sides, demos, voice recordings, and import rarities, including “I Hate the TV,” “Gimme The Car,” and “Dance, M.F., Dance!”
Pressed at Memphis Records Pressing, the two-LP set is housed in a gatefold jacket with lacquers cut by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. In addition to the standard black vinyl, is a special “Blister Red Marble” edition (limited to 500 worldwide), along with an “Aqua” and “Violet” variant at exclusive retailers.
Following a hiatus after the 2000 release of Freak Magnet, Gano and Ritchie revived the Femmes in 2013, releasing We Can Do Anything in 2016. By 2019, the band, now featuring drummer John Sparrow and keyboardist Blaise Garza, released their 10th album, Hotel Last Resort.