Remember when Violent Femmes were on ’Sabrina the Teenage Witch’?

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We finally have an answer to one of rock’s greatest questions: Why were Violent Femmes on an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch?

If you saw the episode when it originally aired in the ’90s, or perhaps caught a rerun of it later, you were probably confused why the alternative outfit — whose signature song, depending on your interpretation, may not be family-friendly — would’ve guested on the Melissa Joan Hart-starring sitcom. As frontman Gordon Gano tells ABC Audio, you were right to feel that way, as Violent Femmes were not supposed to be the guest stars.

“We were a late substitution,” Gano reveals. “The whole thing had been planned for somebody probably that you would think would make more sense, or you wouldn’t go, ‘That was very strange.’ And they already had the whole script, they had everything done, but whoever the artist or band was, they had to cancel.”

As for who was in that original script, Gano unfortunately doesn’t have an answer.

“If I knew at the time, I have forgotten, or maybe it was somebody I didn’t know, but it would’ve been somebody considered popular,” Gano says. “Even the whole script, in the way in which it was done, makes the Violent Femmes sound more popular than we were at the time, I think.”

What may have been the most confusing part of the episode was that the bully character, Libby, is portrayed as a big fan of Violent Femmes, whose music was catered more to outcasts.

“Maybe, whoever had been planned to do it might’ve made more sense,” Gano says.

He laughs, “I mean, it couldn’t have made less sense.”

Violent Femmes will release a 40th anniversary reissue of their self-titled debut album on December 1.

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