“Truth is stranger than fiction and music is stranger than the truth”, says Brian Ritchie. That certainly is the case and Space Farm, the upcoming release by the supergroup The Break, made up of members of Midnight Oil, Hunters & Collector and the Violent Femmes, has a bit of abnormality involved.

Ritchie may have been paraphrasing Mark Twain (“truth is stranger than fiction, because fiction has to make sense’) but his quote sums up what some people may find unbelievable about this new release. Surrealism definitely comes to mind when Ritchie spoke about the record.

“We have a new album in the can, mixed, mastered and ready to go and I think it is going to come out in March. It is much more like space music and it is exploring a lot more musical territory than our first record, Church Of The Open Sky,” he explains.

“The music has a surf element to it but it is much more cinematic with more varied instrumentation and extremely good vocals. I am singing, Engelbert Humperdinck is also singing and we could not get better vocalists except for me,” he laughs.

Thinking using Humperdinck’s name was some sort of early morning rock and roll joke, it’s easy to laugh along. But dear readers, music is stranger than truth. Mr. Humperdinck is, sure enough, along for the ride and will be revisiting the B-side to his big hit “Release Me”, the song “Ten Guitars” that was huge in New Zealand.

The Break is Jim Moginie, Martin Rotsey, Rob Hirst, Brian Ritchie and the new kid on the beach, Jack Howard from the Hunters, is now a full-fledged trumpet blowing grommet in the band. Surf music has never had it so good.

“I come from the punk era but we were all doing “Surfing Bird” and “Pipeline”, even the Violent Femmes did those two numbers.” – Brian Ritchie

“I’ve always had a thing for surf music. That is what American music is all about,” states Ritchie.

“I come from the punk era but we were all doing “Surfing Bird” and “Pipeline”, even the Violent Femmes did those two numbers. Surf Music is deeply ingrained in the rock and roll lineage in America and it is just a continuum of the music,” he notes.

This time around, besides the new album, The Break are going to be doing some headline shows on their own but they are also going to support Rodriguez at Bluesfest and his sideshows around Australia this Easter.

Rodriguez’s story was told in the 2012 movie Searching For Sugarman. In short, his music was totally unknown in his homeland of America, he had toured Australia in the late 70s and had success in South Africa in the 80s that even the artist himself was unaware of until the late 90s. Did Brian Ritchie have any idea who Rodriquez was?

“I had no knowledge of Rodriguez. He is some sort of legend in Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand. He is from Detroit and I am from Milwaukee and I had never heard of him until he showed up at one of The Break’s gigs and the guys from The Oils were all screaming, ‘Rodriguez is here, Rodriguez is here’ and I am like ‘cool, who is Rodriguez?’” recalls Ritchie.

“I came to know more about him from the movie and heard his music and what a shame that he was not known in the States and did not have the opportunity to make a mark because he should have… his music is fantastic,” he adds.

Catching The Break with the talented Rodriguez will give fans of The Break (and The Oils) a chance to see some of their musical legends at work for the entire evening. These should be some brilliant musical journeys for all involved as they stretch out from their usual playing styles.

Fans of Brian Ritchie have many chances to catch him outside of The Break. He has jumped into the waters of Tasmania with glee and seems to have his hands full with many projects since he made the move from the USA approximately 7 years ago.“The Oils were all screaming, ‘Rodriguez is here, Rodriguez is here’ and I am like ‘cool, who is Rodriguez?’” – Brian Ritchie

“I am a curator at the Museum Of Old And New Art (MONA) in Hobart  and the artistic director of MONA FOMA (MOFO for short). [It] takes place in Hobart, and it won the best contemporary music festival award from the Helpmann Awards and that means that after four editions we have received the respect of our peers and the public and it is fairly meteoric rise for a new festival,” Ritchie details.

“It is a festival that the artists really want to be at and we get inundated by people who want do stuff with us”, Brian enthused.  With artists like David Byrne and St.Vincent, Dirty Projectors, Death Grips and Elvis Costello closing it out in January 2013, it is an eclectic gathering within the grounds of the underground MONA.

The Violent Femme loves the artistic freedom he has discovered here. He is playing a lot of Japanese music on the Shakuhaci (a bamboo flute) and next year he is touring with the Australian Chamber Orchestra where he will be playing anything from bass to didgeridoo; “sort of the utility musician,” as he puts it.

You might even find Brian sipping on some tea at Chado The Way Of Tea in Tasmania, a teahouse which he opened with his wife Varuni. He is a man who follows his whims and they seem to be treating him well.

The Break and Rodriguez will be bringing their music to Bluesfest and beyond come Easter 2013 and there is even the odd rumour that Engelbert Humperdinck himself may be along for the ride.

You will just have to show up and find that out for yourself. Surf’s Up!

Space Farm is out March 15th via Sony Music. The Break play the 24th Annual Byron Bay Bluesfest this Easter weekend, set times here and details below. They also support fellow Bluesfest act Rodriguez for his sideshows around the country, dates and details below.

Rodriguez Bluesfest 2013 Sideshows

Performing with The Break, featuring members of Midnight Oil, Violent Femmes, Hunters & Collectors.

Melbourne, The Arts Centre, Hamer Hall
Friday 22 March 2013
Bookings: artscentremelbourne.com.au 1300 182 183

Adelaide, The Gov
Sunday 24 March 2013
Bookings: moshtix.com.auvenuetix.com.au 08 8340 0744

Sydney. Enmore Theatre
Monday 25 March 2013
Bookings: ticketek.com.au 132 849

Brisbane, Tivoli
Monday 1 April 2013
Bookings: ticketek.com.au 132 849

Bluesfest 2013 Tickets & Dates

Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, Byron Bay
Thursday March 28th – Monday April 1st, 2013
Tickets: www.bluesfest.com.au
ph: 02 6685 8310

For more scheduling details head to: bluesfest.com.au

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