9 Creative People who inspired me most in 2017.
Calling all friends. 2018 is going to be an "out of the box" year in touring. I love getting away from the club circuit and playing shows in unique places: living rooms, backyards, rooftops, yachts, graveyards, rocketships, etc. These weird DIY shows are almost always the most memorable and intimate. People are welcome to request songs and ask questions between songs. If you'd like to host a show in your living room or odd space, message this page or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get the ball rolling.
Feel free to share this with friends who might be into this. Thanks buddies. Amped for next year. -Brett
With the tragic events of Las Vegas and Tom Petty unfolding recently, I've contemplated whether or not to even send this. Sometimes ones inner personal battles can seem mighty irrelevant compared to national tragedies that affect thousands if not millions of people. But when you factor in the fragile political climate on top of all these unforeseen tragedies, I realized many people might be feeling the same vulnerable feelings of powerlessness, so it seems appropriate to share this now.
Overall, the last 5 years have been mentally wobbly. After graduating just after the financial crises of 08', the lack of employment opportunities led me to skip out on America and wander thru foreign lands to "figure things out" by myself. Three month long tours ridden with panic attacks, mental wobbles and even paranoia brought valuable lessons about how to work with an "overactive" brain in a period of helplessness. There were plenty of moments where I thought about turning back, but it was pretty clear I'd come too far to put my tail between my legs and go home.
While above-average levels of anxiety is something I'll always deal with, spending less time alone has helped me understand the patterns in my head and accept the fact that humans aren't built to be happy 100% of the time. We are not our minds. Our minds are just a glitchy GPS that sometimes spazes out and sends us down the wrong road. I guess what I'm saying is...solo time is important to learn oneself, BUT have too much of it and you will get lost in your own racing mind. Find your people. Even if it's just one or two or three. Find the people who bring a calming presence and help you relax. These are your pals for life. They will cure your brain from anxiety and paranoia in an ever shakey world.
Here's a new video for a song I wrote when I was paranoid and absurdly anxious.
If you find this video helpful or fun, please share with buddies. Animation by Michael Way of Cartoon Crumbs. Hope to see you at one of the shows with Violent Femmes this month,
"I don't want to post corrections or have some fight in the comment section. Sorry. Just too messy. No hard feelings!” -Founder/Publisher of Digital Music News
Want to hear something really creepy? A few days ago I submitted an article titled “7 Ways to Find a Place to Crash Day-of-Show (and 3 to Avoid)” to prominent music industry blog Digital Music News. It provided touring artists useful tips in finding last-minute lodging. After I submitted the piece, the publisher/founder did something truly dark and twisted. He went into my piece and added bullet points WITHOUT MY PERMISSION including:
“4. [stay at a] Groupie’s Apartment: often comes with a warm breakfast and coffee the next morning, among other benefits.”
I immediately was sick to my stomach. Not only would I never write this myself ("groupie" isn't even a word I use...I personally find it disrespectful), I would never encourage musicians to abuse the artist-fan dynamic. How could the publisher/founder of a “legitimate” blog commit such an extreme violation of journalistic ethics? What a massive compromise to their integrity and lack of respect to their writers. After emailing the publisher/founder, he took out that bullet point but refused to post a correction at the top of the story, opting instead to “kill the piece” altogether. (His exact words were “If you don't like the alterations, that's okay. We move quickly on stuff. I don't want to post corrections or have some fight in the comment section. Sorry. Just too messy. No hard feelings!”) Given the prominence of the blog and the number of people who may have seen this before it was taken down, and may now consequently have an irreparably damaged opinion of me, I have no choice but to defend myself and expose Digital Music News.
Over the years, I’ve had numerous pieces published by prominent industry blogs, but never has something like this occurred in the course of “editing.”
As much as the Internet has changed our lives for the better, this is a reminder of how dangerous it can be AND how we must choose carefully who we associate ourselves with. I don’t believe Digital Music News was intentionally trying to throw me under the bus, but based on this experience I do believe their content should be taken with a grain of salt. Consider sharing this for justice against irresponsible journalism & its catalysts.
Today is one of the most important days in my career, because I’m launching the DREAM TEAM here on Patreon (link in navigation above). The DREAM TEAM is a monthly subscription for those of you who want to keep me on the road. As most of you know, I make my living touring, playing shows all over planet earth. It’s been a wonderful and insane five years, but the realities of touring is that it’s really hard on the body and mind & it’s brutally expensive. While I love it more than anything, these aspects of tour will inevitably lead to burn out.
If you want to help this thing grow, your support allows me to stay on the road and release a new season of Crusty Adventures. So far, Danimal and I have filmed Crusty Adventures with zero budget and it's been hard to keep up. With your support, we are going to invest in a real camera, better editing programs and travel to crazier places to make Crusty Adventures way better! Then we will release season 3.
See you on the long and lonesome road and thank you so much.
Dear friends, I'm very happy to be time-traveling across the ocean to Europe this fall for the first annual Folk-Punk-A-Palooza solo tour. I will be playing a smattering of sad songs, happy songs and a few funny songs in super cool venues around Europe including a rooftop show in Belgium and artist loft in the Netherlands. See you soon. ---
16 Sept Copenhagen, Denmark | Kayak Bar
19 Sep Kiel, Germany | Prinz Willy (all request show)
24 Sep Harderwijk, Netherlands | Catharinakapel
25 Sep Utrecht, Netherlands | Pranger’s House RSVP
26 Sep Brussels, Belgium | Rooftop Show TICKETS
27 Sep Amsterdam, Netherlands | SugarFactory TICKETS
29 Sep London, United Kingdom | The Monarch
Hey friends, summer is shaping up noicely with a good handful of full-band performances, including the mighty SUMMERFEST. Here is where we will be.
09 Jun / Sturgeon Bay, WI, USA / Steelbridge Songfest
10 Jun / Sturgeon Bay, WI, USA / Steelbridge Songfest
16 Jun / Milwaukee, WI, USA / Lakefront Festival of the Arts (FULL BAND)
17 Jun /Manitowoc, WI, USA / Washington Park (FULL BAND)
20 Jun / Rockford, IL, USA / Anderson Gardens w/ Miles Nielsen
02 Jul / Berwyn, IL, USA / American Music Festival @ Fitzgeralds
07 Jul / Washington Island, WI, USA / The Granary
08 Jul / Milwaukee, WI / Summerfest (Miller Oasis Stage) (FULL BAND)
16 Jul / Milwaukee, WI, USA / Bastille Days Festival (FULL BAND)
27 Jul / Madison, WI, USA / University of Wisconsin (union terrace) (FULL BAND)
09 Aug / Sister Bay, WI, USA / Sister Bay Waterfront Park (FULL BAND)
10 Aug / Oshkosh, WI, USA / Leach Amphitheater
30 Aug / Horicon, WI, USA / Horicon Phoenix Summer Concert Series
If the last five years haven't been weird enough, it's time to ice the cake. This Friday 5/5/17 marks the first official show at "The First Satanist Church of Iowa", a small house/temple created by local Cedar Rapids maniac, 'Sweet Chucky B.' Satan sounds like a total jerk, but I hear he throws good parties. Honestly I'm not sure where I stand on all this heaven and hell stuff, but I'm excited to officially be playing the weirdest DIY venue of all time.
Chucky B is the most legendary screw ball I met while living in Vietnam. I witnessed Chuck eat cow hearts, chicken feet and stallion cock in his soup. I also watched him strangle out a gang of three Vietnamese men over a road rage altercation in a Saigon.
Probably too brilliant for his own good, Chucky B has officially founded a satanist church. Is he a real satanist? Or is he just in it for the government benefits of being an official religious organization in America? Come and decide for yourself this Friday. The address is 1515 6th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA.
"The Worst of Brett Newski" is a folk/punk album full of energy juice that explodes in your car stereo.
"Worst of Brett Newski" US TOUR
5/5 - Satanist Church of Iowa - Cedar Rapids, IA
5/6 - Des Moines Social Club outside - Des Moines, IA (day 1pm)
5/6 - The Warming House - MPLS, MN (night)
5/9 - Rumba Cafè - Columbus, OH tix
5/11 - Calvin Center for the Arts - Youngstown, OH
5/12 - Fountain Square Brewery - Indianapolis, IN
5/13 - Shank Hall - Milwaukee, WI tix
5/14 - High Noon Saloon - Madison, WI
5/28 - Stone Arch Brew Pub - Appleton, WI
What?! Myspace is still online? Formerly known as a spam-filled graveyard of shady businesses and internet predators, MySpace been resurrected back into a "legitimate" music blog. Imagine the excitement that ran thru my soul when they invited me to be their "Artist of the Day" in anticipation of the new album "The Worst of Brett Newski". Myspace sent me a list of homogenized, stock questions which I had endless fun answering. Much to my dismay, their "Artist of the Day" offer was retracted after the interview was "not taken seriously”. For your enjoyment, we’ve decided to publish the hard-hitting journalism that was too risque for the most serious music blog in the game.
Name: Brett Newski / Hometown: Milwaukee, WI / Instruments: one man band
MYSPACE: Tell me about your most recent music project. BN: It's called "the Worst of Brett Newski".
How would you describe your music to people who had never heard it before? For someone who has never been to one of your shows, what can they expect from you as a performer?
Some call it American Folk Armageddon. Some call it indie rock. It's like violent femmes meets early weeZer. Here's how I get pumped before shows:
Who are some of your musical influences? What aspects of their music drew you to them and in what ways did they inspire you?
'Dookie' by Green Day was my first cd. "New miserable experience" by gin blossoms was second. I hate when people make fun of gin blossoms. Best 90s band I tell ya.
From what else do you draw inspiration for your music? Airports and airplanes and trains. I love writing in these places. Except one time in Sri Lanka I was on a train that a large man jumped in front of and exploded. Weirdest day.
What's the songwriting process like? I'm usually pretty anxious and need to chill. What often works is eating a jelly filled long john donut. The high fructose corn syrup immediately suppresses all your anxiety and energy. And then you're depressed, which is good for song making.
What was that defining moment when you knew you were meant to create music and how did you go about it? I lived in vietnam for two years and got paid 3k to make a 30 second music jingle for a tampon ad. That's when I knew.
How did the your unique sound come about? Hey these questions are totally stock.
Tell me about one of the your favorite/most memorable performances. On a tour of South Africa in 2014, I played to 2000 people and then the next night played to two.
What's next for you? Are there any specific goals that you have in mind for the future? I'm at SXSW getting all the free keychains and koozies. Is that how you spell koozies?
Is there anything else you’d like to add about yourself or your music? Yes! This is my life summed up in 2 minutes. Thank you MySpace friends!
Touring is massively expensive. Help Newski eat decent food and avoid sleeping in a rat hole. It goes a looooong way.
Almost every American has been trapped in the humdrum routine of 'get up, go to work, go to sleep.' Retire when you're 65. Get as much money as possible while you can. You can see the depression lurking over this country on the faces of it's people. These are leftover ideas from the "American Dream", conforming to the 9-5 because you'll be effed without a stable gig. I've been there; running in circles of anxiety and depression just to break even and pay insurance, grocery and electric bills. "Quit Your Job" is a song for anyone who wants to get free. I believe when you break the cycle, odds are you're going to land on your feet. QUIT YOUR JOB. Freedom is closer than you'd think.
Off the forthcoming album "The Worst of Brett Newski: Songs to sink the American Dream" out April 28 via Nomad Union. Co-written by Jon Shaban from the excellent folk/band band The Shabs (S Africa). ---