It's the thirtieth anniversary of the Violent Femmes's self-titled debut album, and they've settled their old differences and reformed, and they're touring a kind of greatest-hits set. I hope they do some of the solo stuff too (I'm a big fan of Gano's Under the Sun and especially the amazing gospel album he did with The Mercy Seat).
In a long interview with the Village Voice, the Femmes reveal that they're still having a hard time getting on ("[it's] been very, very difficult") and they assure us that "Blister in the Sun" isn't about masturbation.
In recent years, Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban have been covering "Blister in the Sun" in concert. Do you think they understand the lyrics?
Gano: I don't think there's a whole lot to understand with the lyrics. In fact, it was maybe 10 or 15 years later, when somebody was asking me about that song and said something like, "Well, you know... You know what that song's about." I'm like, "No. What are you talking about?" "Well everybody knows. You wrote it." I'm like, "What?" And they told me the song was about masturbation. I had never thought of that.
So it's not about masturbation?
Gano: Not to me! [Laughs] But I can see where people could get that idea. I just hadn't thought of that. [Laughs] I don't think anybody likes that song because they think the lyrics are deep.
Do you ever get sick of playing "Blister in the Sun"?
Ritchie: When we played Coachella, we could see the panorama of the entire festival. There are a number of different stages, and as soon as we started out the set with "Blister in the Sun," when that riff hit, it was like a swarm of insects coming towards our stage. They all started running from the other stages. [Laughs] When you can get that kind of reaction--I guess it would be like if the Rolling Stones started playing "Satisfaction"--it really never gets old.
Alan Turing and the codebreakers of Bletchley Park invented modern crypto and computers in the course of breaking Enigma ciphers, the codes that Axis powers created with repurposed Enigma Machines — sophisticated (for the day) encryption tools invented for the banking industry — to keep the Allies from listening in on their communications.
In 1948, the Institute of Applied Science commissioned an unknown illustrator to depict a fistful of squirming, terrified criminals caught in an authoritative fist, under the headline “CAUGHT BY THEIR FINGERTIPS” — they were advertising a home Criminal Investigation and Identification course.
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