Gano spent the next two decades with the band. The Violent Femmes' self-titled debut album was the first album to achieve platinum status in America without ever making the charts. Songs like "Blister in the Sun," "Add It Up," and "Kiss Off" became cult classics.
In 1986, Gano took some time off from the Violent Femmes and joined the gospel group the Mercy Seat. He, vocalist Zena Von Heppinstall, Patrice Moran (bass/vocals), and Fernando Menendez (drums) issued the Mercy Seat's eponymous debut, their only release, in 1987. Collaborations with Ben Vaughn, An Emotional Fish, the Heads, Elliott Murphy, and John Kruth followed into the next decade as well as musical scores and soundtrack cuts.
The Violent Femmes' celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2001; a year later Gano returned with his first-ever solo album, Hitting the Ground. This particular album highlighted Gano's impeccable songwriting as well as an all-star cast of musicians: PJ Harvey, Frank Black, and Gano's childhood heroes, John Cale and Lou Reed. A second solo project, Under the Sun, appeared in 2009 from Yep Roc Records. ~ MacKenzie Wilson, Rovi