Violent Femmes recruited iconic Television guitarist Tom Verlaine for their surreal new song “Hotel Last Resort.” The five-minute track appears on the folk-punk band’s 10th LP of the same name, out July 26th via PIAS.
Throughout the winding cut, guitarist Gordon Gano unfurls a series of intriguing lyrical vignettes (“I don’t change the chords anymore/The chords change themselves”; “I’ve become invisible because one is not divisible”) over droning acoustic strums and Verlaine’s textural lead lines.
Bassist Brian Ritchie — who first met Verlaine while working as a rock journalist during Television’s final tour in 1978 — initiated the collaboration and heard back with a “yes” within minutes. “We didn’t really give him much instruction, but he did exactly what we hoped he’d do,” Ritchie said in a statement of Verlaine’s part. “He clearly has an affinity for the song. He must’ve really clued in on the lyrics, and he really interpreted them with a guitar.”
Gano added, “One of the greatest thrills of a long recording career is getting Tom Verlaine to play on one of our songs. It’s just amazing to hear that sound.”
The 13-track Hotel Last Resort, which follows 2016’s We Can Do Anything, includes two left-field cover tunes: a version of Greek rock band Pyx Lax’s “I’m Not Gonna Cry” (featuring Gano’s newly translated lyrics) and a stripped-down adaptation of Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” (fleshed out with an improvised free-jazz coda).
“I think it’s probably the best one we’ve made since [1984’s] Hallowed Ground,” Ritchie said of the LP. “Which is a long time. It’s just a very focused album, the songs all hold together. It’s a classic album, in the sense that people should actually sit down and listen to the whole thing. It’s not too long. It’s short, it’s punchy, it’s solid, it’s to the point, goes a few different directions but it always comes back to the core approach and then it’s over. Hopefully you’ll think ‘I want to hear that again.'”
Violent Femmes will promote Hotel Last Resort on a joint U.S. trek with Ben Folds that launches July 28th in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Violent Femmes – Hotel Last Resort Track List
1. “Another Chorus”
2. “I Get What I Want”
3. “I’m Nothing” (featuring Stefan Janoski)
4. “Adam Was A Man”
5. “Not Ok”
6. “Hotel Last Resort” (featuring Tom Verlaine)
7. “Everlasting You”
8. “It’s All Or Nothing”
9. “I’m Not Gonna Cry”
10. “This Free Ride”
11. “Paris To Sleep”
12. “Sleepin’ At The Meetin'”
13. “God Bless America”