Blister in the Sun

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"Blister in the Sun"
Promotional single by Violent Femmes
from the album Violent Femmes and Grosse Pointe Blank OST
Songwriter(s)Gordon Gano
Producer(s)Mark Van Hecke
Violent Femmes singles chronology
"Blister in the Sun"
"All I Want"

"Blister in the Sun" is a song by American rock band Violent Femmes, originally released on their 1983 self-titled debut album. It was later released as a promo single in 1997 after its inclusion in the film Grosse Pointe Blank.


"Blister in the Sun" was written by Violent Femmes vocalist Gordon Gano. The drum lick was written by Victor DeLorenzo; the song was his first performance with the band.[4]

Gano originally wrote the song for a female vocalist.[5]


The lyrics to "Blister in the Sun" reference drug use. After the song was released, a misinterpretation arose that the lyrics were about masturbation.[5][4] In a 2013 interview with The Village Voice, Gano said:

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.[6]

Other versions and use in media[edit]

The song was featured in the 17th episode of teen drama series My So-Called Life.[7]

In 1997, the song was featured prominently in the film Grosse Pointe Blank. John Cusack had initially requested an updated version of the song, which led to the band recording a new, slower arrangement that featured saxophones, strings and other instruments. This version of the song was dubbed "Blister 2000". However, Cusack eventually decided he wanted to include the original version of the song as well. Because the original master tapes of the band's debut album had long been disposed of, they decided to record a new version of the original 1983 arrangement.[8] Both these versions were released as part of a promotional CD single in 1997. Neither of these rerecorded versions appear in the actual film, although a new music video, directed by Evan Bernard, was created for the new recording of the 1983 arrangement. It features Gordon Gano as a deranged assassin trying to kill Socks the cat in puppet form, interspersed with clips from the film.[4]

A cover by mxmtoon is played in the 2021 video game Life Is Strange: True Colors.[9]

In February 2021, the song was covered by drag queen and singer Trixie Mattel for her extended play Full Coverage, Vol. 1.[10]


In 2005, "Blister in the Sun" became the first English-language track to ever be allowed on RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, the Republic of Ireland Irish-language radio station, after having been selected by listeners for the event.[11]

In August 2007, Gordon Gano was the subject of a lawsuit brought by bassist Brian Ritchie, which stemmed partly from Gano's authorization of the use of "Blister" in a Wendy's commercial.[12] This disagreement caused the band to disband until their reunion in 2013.[6]


  1. ^ "From Nirvana to Rush: 33 of the greatest trios in music". Far Out Magazine. January 2021. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  2. ^ "10 Essential American post-punk albums". Treble. November 13, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2021.
  3. ^ Gerard, Chris (April 5, 2021). "The 100 Best Alternative Singles of the 1980s: 100 - 81". PopMatters. p. 3. Retrieved August 11, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Martoccio, Angie (November 13, 2019). "The Breakdown: Violent Femmes' 'Blister in the Sun'". Rolling Stone Australia.
  5. ^ a b Patton, Alli (November 8, 2022). "The Long-Misinterpreted Meaning Behind "Blister in the Sun" by Violent Femmes". American Songwriter. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  6. ^ a b Grow, Kory (September 12, 2013). ""Blister in the Sun" Is Not About Masturbation: A Talk With Violent Femmes". The Village Voice. Retrieved February 27, 2023.
  7. ^ Martoccio, Angie (November 13, 2019). "The Breakdown: Violent Femmes' 'Blister in the Sun'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  8. ^ Olson, Catherine (1997). Billboard Magazine. Billboard. p. 14.
  9. ^ Rincon, Skyy (9 September 2021). "mxmtoon Unveils New Life Is Strange: True Colors EP Featuring Covers Of Radiohead and Violent Femmes". Mxdwn.
  10. ^ Moran, Justin (February 5, 2021). "Trixie Mattel Takes on Violent Femmes". Paper. Retrieved February 5, 2021.
  11. ^ "Anocht FM Celebrates 5 Years on Air". Archived from the original on May 3, 2010. Retrieved February 20, 2012.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  12. ^ Drever, Andrew. "From courtroom to new album: Bust-ups just part of Violent Femmes attraction". The Sydney Morning Herald.