An Interview with Victor DeLorenzo of Violent Femmes
By Andrew Daly
Through vaunted looks, cavernous sounds, and the idea of creating something of his own, for Victor DeLorenzo, the drums were ingrained in the musical soul of the esoteric percussionist extraordinaire from a young age.
Be it through for the forum of jazz, polka, metal, or indie rock, DeLorenzo soaked in the gentle nuances of the drums. The result? As a member of the legendary outfit, the Violent Femmes, DeLorenzo found himself one of the more unique skin thrashers in the game today.
Hopping back on the merry-go-round for another spin around the musical world, this time with the Night Crickets, Victor DeLorenzo beamed in with ClassicRockHistory.com in collecting his origins with the drums, his latest music, as well as what lays in wait for him 2023.
What first sparked your interest in the drums?
I fell in love with the look of the drum set and the idea of cylinders that create sound to make music. I first played the viola in grade school, so I already had some notion of what music meant to me, but percussion fascinated me.
Who were some of your earliest influences that first shaped your style?
Once I discovered Drum Master Tony Williams, he became my eternal influence. His power, his elegance and nuance, and his sheer rhythmic creativity will never be equaled or surpassed. God bless and keep the spirit of Tony alive forever.
What were some of your earliest gigs where you first hit the stage?
I had been a lead singer for a few bands in my hometown of Racine, Wisconsin. But after pledging myself to the drums, I had my first group called Fresh Lettuce, in which I played a drum set and sang. Eventually, I went to college in Milwaukee and studied symphonic percussion, literature, and theater. I then joined a professional theater company, Theatre X, where I took Willem Dafoe’s position in the group after he left for NYC.
Walk me through the formation of Night Crickets.
The Night Crickets are a superb collection of ideas and avenues of musical thought. David [J], Darwin [Meiners], and I had an instant intuition when we first started to work together (remotely because of the plague), and it hasn’t stopped since. The album A Free Society is something that took us all by surprise.
We would usually start with some type of drum/percussion track that I would send to my fellow insects, and then they would add their musical and possible lyric ideas. This collection of music has a loose, improvised feel with very inspired wordplay and commentary. It was structured to work in a classic album style and format.
Let’s dig into A Free Society. Tell us about its inception.
I tend to like the album as a whole musical expression, and I don’t have one particular piece that’s a favorite. I think this record has more heart and soul from my perspective than anything I did with the Fems. With the Night Crickets, I write, drum, sing some, play keyboards and have a splendid time doing so. This trio of people believes in the religion of collaboration.
How about the production mixing side of things? Take me through that process and how the final sounds were honed in.
From a production standpoint, A Free Society was created remotely by sending layers of music back and forth between the three of us. The final mix was conducted brilliantly by Darwin at his studio. I recorded my drum and percussion parts, vocals, and whatnot here at my studio, The Past Office, in Milwaukee.
Will the material get any time on the live circuit?
We have talked about and are excited to try someday to take the band on the road, but we have no immediate plans. Right now, we’re keeping busy recording new material and breathing.
Describe your approach to the drums and how it changes from project to project. What would your most identifiable characteristic be to that end?
I would say that I’m at the point in my drumming career where I don’t think about the drums when I play. Rather the drums think about me, or they play themselves via some sort of ghost intuition or telepathy. I quite enjoy the science of audio recording, and recording different drum systems in different settings is one of my favorite things to do in record production. The sound of brushes on a snare drum still jazzes me to no end.
A hot topic these days is: Is Rock Dead? Thoughts?
Rock is not dead. It only takes naps from time to time.
You’ve weaved in and out of the Violent Femmes over the years. Are you open to a return in the future?
I’ll always be proud that I was one of the three founding members of Violent Femmes. As the song goes: “No, they can’t take that away from me…”
An Interview With Victor DeLorenzo Of Violent Femmes article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2023
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