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  Last updated 4/7/04
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Credits
 


Lead vocals, guitar (acoustic and electric), banjo, fiddle
Principle songwriter

Gordon was born on June 7, 1963 and grew up in the suburbs of Milwaukee, WI. The son of an American Baptist minister, he comes from a large (7 children), artistically gifted family. Both his parents and some of his siblings have worked in theater and the movie industry. His father also played guitar, and Gordon grew up hearing a lot of country and western music, Broadway show tunes, and church hymns, all of which are reflected in various V.F. songs. His early musical influences include the Carter Family, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Robert Johnson and Louis Armstrong. Later influences include the Velvet Underground and Bob Dylan.

Gordon started playing guitar in the 6th grade and started writing music in the 7th grade. By the time he was in high school, he was playing and singing his musical compositions, some of which appear on V.F. albums, in local clubs and coffee houses. He was also an excellent student and was active in drama (he actually auditioned for the role of the boy in the film "Ordinary People") and played on the school tennis team at Rufus King High. His reputation as a popular oddball, known for wearing a bathrobe to school every Monday, earned him the homecoming king crown his senior year.

Legend has it that Gordon met Brian Ritchie, a local musician a few years older than himself, in a punk club the night before Gordon was scheduled to perform at the National Honor Society induction ceremony at his high school. Brian and Gordon agreed to play as a duo. Before the performance, teachers admonished Gordon to stick to ballads, in keeping with the solemn atmosphere of the ceremony. But halfway through a ballad, Gordon and Brian burst into "Gimme the Car". The kids loved it, but the teachers were so infuriated they suspended Gordon and kicked him out of the NHS. This incident is the origin of the line "I hope you know that this will go down on your permanent record" in the song "Kiss Off".

After graduation, Gordon worked odd jobs as a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman and in a shop making submarine sandwiches while trying to get gigs for the band. Fortunately for him, the band soon took off and he was able to focus on his music.

Gordon is a devout Baptist and his religious beliefs come out in several V.F. songs. He tries to make it to church even when on tour; he prefers churches with primarily black congregations because, frankly, the music's better!

The Violent Femmes took a 2 year hiatus beginning in 1986, during which time Gordon joined a gospel band called the Mercy Seat. In addition, he has recorded with numerous other musicians (see side projects), written songs for movie soundtracks, has written a play performed off-Broadway, and has produced other bands' albums. He lives in Connecticut. His hobbies include playing guitar in church, playing violin with the New York Chamber Music Association, learning the German language, reading literature and poetry, and listening to classical and jazz music.