Do You Really Want To Hurt Violent Femmes
by Walter Price
1991, or sometime earlier in 1990 more likely someone approached Violent Femmes about covering Culture Club’s 1982 reggae-lite hit “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me” for their forthcoming album Why Do Birds Sing?…Weird idea, right. But I didn’t initially remember from ’91 was how far-out the track became in the visionary hands of Gordon Gano.
The VF version starts off with this wild drawn out opening that at first listen one could assume Gano is making fun of O’Dowd and Co., but wait. Gano reflected recently that he may not have understood the lyrics fully or got the full scope of it all so he made some changes. Lyrically and of course construction. This resulting in not a mockery of the pop classic but feeding it through a VF filter and creating a nearly forgotten multi-layered masterpiece.
You know, to me, where the song cements itself is the last portion when it breaks into this bouzouki infused jam. I don’t know of any other modern rock outfit back then or even today that have that sorta gusto in their répertoire.
The Violent Femmes have a new album We Can’ Do Anything, first one in 3 X 5+ years….