Wandering is vital to "figuring out your sh*t". Early on, I tended to feel this shame that I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. It was like everyone had it figured out but me.
When I was a little kid in school, graphic arts class was basically the only course I got EXCITED to go to. Drawing and designing without hard guidelines was so liberating in a deeply rigid public school system where it was popular to look down on "arty" quiet kids as "losers" or "weirdos". It was the one safe class where I didn't feel judged. Plus, the teacher let us listen to rad 90's alternative music while we worked (Pixies, Weezer, Wilco, Death Cab, Nada Surf). I wasn't the most talented person in the class, not even close. It was incredible to see the "picked on" quiet kids come out of nowhere and blow people's minds with their talent in graphic arts class. I hope the prodigies in that class are still creating stuff.
Recently, I've seen a few of my most talented friends quit music or other creative pursuits. It gets me pretty bummed how it's often the most genius creative work that we never actually see. It's the songs or stories or paintings that never leave the basement studio because the people who make them receive little to no encouragement from a society that seems to value the arts less and less all the time. People can only go for so long on their own steam. Every time someone quits what they were born to do, the light gets a little dimmer for everyone.
So here's the deal. Society will push you around. It will make you feel guilty for being unique, or taking risks, or pushing boundaries. Society looks down upon odd-balls, weirdos & people who don't follow what is "normal" or "status quo". This makes me sad because it keeps so many brilliant minds at bay, too scared to put themselves out there. That's been stirring in my mind quite heavily and I've been venting it into a new EP. It's about taking risks and embracing those who take them. It's about honoring the weirdos that go on their own ride (or are about to) and light their own road. It's for the ones who decide who they are for themselves, and not based on what others tell them. This EP is called 'The Stars are as Good as a Nightlight' (out Feb 23 on Nomad Union). It is deeply influenced by the 90's alternative music I listened to in graphic arts class. The lead singles were recorded by Death Cab for Cutie engineer Beau Sorenson. Thanks for sticking with me,
*A cd copy of the EP is free with any merch store purchase until Feb 23.
Folk punk armageddon is upon us! West coast dates with punk hero Chuck Ragan (Official) of Hot Water Music are on the books and coming up quick. I love this dude. These venues are quite intimate and the shows are expected to sell out. Chucks fans are famously kind-hearted, unpretentious and people I've really enjoyed being around in the past. Excited to see you all. Score tickets here: https://brettnewski.com/tour
2/14 - The Casbah - San Diego, CA
2/15 - Slidebar - Fullerton, CA
2/16 - Slidebar - Fullerton, CA
2/17 - Pico Union Project - Los Angeles, CA
2/18 - Romanos - Riverside, CA
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