Brett Newski

"Black Taxi Car" Video Premiere + "Hi-Fi D.I.Y." Mini-Album Announced

The lead video/single Black Taxi Car was shot in Cape Town, ZA by my pals in the rock outfit, Shortstraw (Johannesburg). I'm pretty obsessed with South Africa. Vibes are chill and people don't live to work. Initially going there truly opened my eyes to the "rat race" back home. America can be great, but one must leave it to realize the unhealthy hyper-speed at which it operates, especially in the music industry.

I wrote the song with Eric McFadden (George Clinton/Parliament Funkadelic) after my van was stolen in Detroit. It is not literally about one's van getting stolen, but it is about questioning your life entirely, which tends to happen after your van gets stolen. Other musicians on the record include Nicole Rae (Traveling Suitcase), Leroy Deuster.

The Hi-Fi D.I.Y. Mini Album

Hi-fi DIY ep productHi-Fi D.I.Y. is dedicated to any band who's ever played a crap show, on a crap night to 4 people that didn't give a crap. This album is about taking matters into your own hands, waiting for no man, and not becoming a victim of "the American Dream". There are no rules anymore. "Success" & "failure" are just words created by old dead white guys. Time is not money. We waste time chasing money and adhering to old dead white guys. Record labels come and go, Hi-Fi D.I.Y. is about self-sustaining when the musical apocalypse hits.

Hi-Fi D.I.Y. is a mini-album produced by Milwaukee hero & Violent Femmes co-founder Victor DeLorenzo & will be released October 15 at the Ramones Museum in Berlin, Germany.

-Brett

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Undergoing Home Surgery in my Vietnam Apt

namchickenIn Saigon, Vietnam, my roommate Sweet Chucky B is disinfecting a small razorblade. It will be inserted into my leg really soon. “I’ve done this before dude, I made it halfway thru Med school,” he says reassuringly. My foot hangs over the bathroom sink as he numbs the buldge in my leg with ice. I have some weird cyst in my leg, and we’ve spent the last 2 hours on Youtube studying how to cut it out.

Sweet Chucky B is a tall gangly white man from Iowa, and we are best pals/roommates in Saigon, Vietnam (circa 2012-2013). Chucky B walks the line of sanity, speaking his highly-intricate inner monologues out loud. The man is a human genius. He once went an entire year without masturbating just to say he did. I’ve also seen him stop 6 lanes of traffic in the middle of Saigon to fist-fight a crew of angry Vietnamese men who cut him off in traffic. The city’s intensity could drive Buddha to the brink.

Losing your mind is inevitable in Vietnam. No one speaks English, everything smells like fish sauce, and you are 9,000 miles from any fraction of normalcy. It is as close to living on Mars as we get. At this point, Chucky B had been in Nam four (4) years, so he was long overdue to go postal. “I hate Gary Glitter. What an ass hole. So glad my friend called the cops on that guy and got him kicked out of Vietnam. F*** that guy forever,” said Chucky B.

I trust Sweet Chucky B, always have. As his cheap razorblade dives into my leg, I should have more doubts than I do. Trying not to look, I observe a small Vietnamese lady machete the head off a fish out the bathroom window. As the blade wiggles around in my leg I hear, “sorry man, the cyst is too big, we gotta go to the hospital”. shit

We get on the motorbike, trailing behind a family of four on a $100 motor scooter thru the steaming streets of Saigon. The Vietnamese motorist is carrying two chickens and not even hanging onto his bike. Thousands of motor scooters battle for inches of space. I remembered what my friend Jackie once said, “It’s way too easy to kill yourself in this country.”

“When Nirvana broke up and Dave Grohl started the Foo Fighters, I was like ‘Jesus, what a pussy…about your leg dude, you’re gonna be fine’”, rages Chucky B as I wallow on the back of his motorbike. We walk into the “hospital”. Hundreds of frowning Vietnamese people wait in a cue. Chucky B hands the clerk 100,000 Vietnam Dong ($5) and he lets us skip the line. We are ushered to a back room and instructed to wait. My leg is pretty bloody. A man in a white t-shirt and blue jeans emerges.

sweetchuckyb“Hello, I doctor”, says a small Thai man. Finally I’m scared. This guy is barely dressed to drink Miller Genuine Draft at a White Sox game, much less perform surgery. No gown, no gloves, no uniform. I lay on a wood desk wrapped in plastic wrap. Sweet Chucky B provides commentary as the Doctor removes the cyst from my leg. “Okay B-rett, he’s cutting out some stuff, it’s pretty much all liquid….almost done…He’s awesome at stitching. There’s slime everywhere. This is sweet.” I get bandaged up and the nurse hands me an invoice for five dollars. Chucky B informs me that I could probably afford 1,000 colonoscopies in Vietnam. I have a new leg.

Check out more crusty adventures with Sweet Chucky B at: www.sweetchuckyb.com

How to avoid death at an Argentine Futbol Match

April, 2008 - Buenos Aires, Argentina Boca-Juniors-fans-celebra-007When the Argentina guidebook tells you to avoid “Boca: the most dangerous neighborhood in Argentina”, it kind of makes you want to go to Boca.

Boca is home to one of the most famous soccer teams in the world, the Boca Juniors. Unsurprisingly, Boca yields some of the most violent fans on the planet. We would later find out that a soccer fan died in a fight before this game. These are cheap thrills people. For just $9 USD, you can watch a futbol game behind barbed-wire fencing while opposing fans throw garbage and literally pee on you.

Back at the hostel, we contemplate the pros vs the cons of making this trip. The innkeeper recommends we wait until there is a daytime game to avoid added danger. Our crew of four young men (myself, Mick Fallon, O.D., and "The Other Brett") comes to the following conclusions…

Cons: Getting heckled, robbed, stabbed, nunchucked, injured, dead. Pros: Probable fun

We pick up Jerseys of the hometeam to decrease the chances of getting shived. The sun is falling behind the skyline, leaving the neighborhood in cold darkness. An opposing fan begins to heckle my pal O.D. as we are pushed like cattle through a maze of barbed-concrete walls. O.D. talks some shit in Spanish as the natural density of the crowd separates the two men before an altercation presents itself. Shoulder to shoulder with hostile drunk strangers, we do our best to cover our pockets and keep each other’s backs. After 15 minutes, we are still being herded through concrete barriers toward the stadium. It feels like a zombie apocalypse film as the infected city is being evacuated.

We arrive at the holy gates of Boca Junior Stadium. The stadium resembles that of a prison playground where Ving Rhames would make Hell’s Angels his twinks. Tall, baren walls keep the compound surrounded as Boca fans in blue are kept on separate grandstands from opposing fans in red. Construction fencing topped with barbed wire separates the insane fans from the field. In South America, soccer is as much of a religion as it is a game. Due to violent Boca Junior support groups, Boca Stadium is one of the more dangerous places to see a match. Fireworks are commonly smuggled into the stadiums. Subsequently, “Football Hooliganism” has been added to Wikipedia. Noting the following about Argentine soccer…

In 2002, the Argentine government announced emergency security measures because football violence continued, with three people dead and hundreds injured in two weeks. Argentina also deals with three of the most dangerous organized supporter groups in the world, which are Los Diablos Rojos (from Independiente), Los Borrachos del Tablón (from River Plate) and La 12 (from Boca Juniors).

In March of 2011, Colombian soccer fans dug up the coffin of a deceased friend who was also a huge fan of the local team. The group of hooligans carried the 300 lb casket past “security” and into the stadium, passing the dead teen like a crowd surfer as the game played on. Authorities commented that they “didn’t know how the men got the (8 foot) coffin past security.”

Recoleta Cemetery / Buenos Aires / 2008In the stadium there are no seats, only large concrete steps covered in old gum and sandwich wrappers. It's a grand dirt nest of true futbol glory. As the game goes on, our friend Mick Fallon complains about having to “push a Harris”, college-code for the need to poop. As it is not a good idea to go the toilet solo, we urge Fallon to wait until the game is over. Fallon goes dead silent for 10 minutes, fighting the good fight against an oncoming turtle head. A fart cloud surrounds our vicinity. Smelling quite poorly, “The Other Brett” and I urge Fallon to use the toilet regardless of the risks. He agrees. I go with. Like two schoolgirls, we squirm through the crowd towards the toilet area. Fart clouds are trailed every step of the way as I take them straight to the face.

The Boca Stadium restrooms are the apocalypse. Fire code doesn’t exist and there is no plumbing. A line of soccer fans forms behind a small floor drain in the restroom, which fits only a third of the patrons in need of relief. The remaining people pee in the hallway stairwell. There are now more people urinating in the stadium hallway than the restroom itself. Void of options, I wizz in a corner next to a bearded gnome guy and proceed back to the game, leaving Fallon in line to wait for the only toilet stall. I climb stairs as rivers of urine run onto my shoes. Rivers.

Boca_diego_retroThe score is 3-0, Boca. With only six minutes left in the game, we begin to worry about Mick Fallon, who has been gone for almost an hour at the toilet. With 60 seconds left in the match, Fallon returns completely shirtless. There was no toilet paper. He grins a little. You might say it was a shit-eating grin.

The final horn rings. Boca wins 3-0. Fans of the away team begin to rampage on the upper deck directly behind us. I look behind me to see opposing fans unzipping their pants, dicks are everywhere. Piss pours down upon us. Ive never seen so many cocks. Argentine peckers hang over the guardrail as golden showers pour from the sky. Garbage and dirty water complement the gold streams. We pull our shirts over our heads. Shirtless Mick Fallon takes yellow rain directly on the shoulders, comic relief to the demoralization consuming us.

May we never speak of this again...

Getting Bullied, Eating Dirt & Signing Record Deals

We Are Elevate Everyday I am grateful I was pushed into lockers, bullied, and choked out in the halls of New Berlin West High School...because there is nothing worse than peaking in high school.

Arriving back home after three years of incessant touring and some 500 shows across North America, Europe and South Africa, I feel I’ve finally acquired a “license to chill”, a reason to lounge against the machine.

When music became my only source of income 3 years ago, I knew I'd have to take matters into my own hands. I didn’t have much for contacts, resources or marketing dollars, so inevitably it’d be D.I.Y. to the core. I booked my own shows, played for $41, and slept in pube-infested rat holes to save money on lodging. My morale consistently got crushed. I even remember crying once while driving alone across Kansas after playing three shows in a row to a total of 31 people and making $97. “What the hell am I doing with my life, I should just go back to work at McDonalds.“

But the highs always follow the lows, and the tiny speckles of glory in the buckets o' shit were enough to keep me motivated. After two years of pushing thru the gauntlet, attendance was rising. I signed two small but sturdy record deals, and was selling enough records to quit all other odd jobs. I no longer had to sleep in pube-infested rat holes, or if I did, there were far less pubes.

For all the small indie bands out there grinding it out, I feel your pain, and I salute you. You keep me motivated and also make me feel like less of a weirdo. ☺ I think it’s important we have a sense of humor about this path/industry. At the end of the day, the game is fairly stupid. Us bands must ignore the “popularity contest” side of the industry and just write quality, short, hooky songs that cater to attention spans in 2015. No one is going to give you a record deal in year 1 unless you’re a rare super-prodigy or have bags of money. Cut your teeth. It’s rewarding to start from the sewers and work up because everything feels like a bonus. For every handful of dirt you eat, there’s a worm that tastes like chicken.

The workload is infinite, and today it’s an honor and joy to sign with ELEVATE RECORDS (Rotterdam, NL). They’ll be handling label and booking duties in Benelux & Scandinavia. I will be traveling with the label to Future Music Forum in Barcelona and Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg this September to shake hands and administer hand jobs to industry executives.

Thank you for any support you’ve given, it boosts morale more than you’d know.

Brett

 

Before We All Become Cyborgs / Cassette Release

TapeReleaseShowLet's face it, we're all going to be robots in a few years. The times are moving at hyper-speeds as we Pitchfork each other with our whatsapp & snapchats, seeking endless smart phoner boners in 6G technology. June 18 is a throwback to the analog age, as Breadking releases Brett Newski's "Hi-Fi D.I.Y", a cassette tape with 6 tracks that do not exist online. These songs can only be heard on this tape. They are not available anywhere else; not on Youtube, not on iTunes, not at Hot Topic, but maybe at your neighbors garage sale. So come out and celebrate being a lady or a dude or a lady dude but not a cyborg.

$7 at the door ($10 with a tape)

with opening acts: Ugly Brothers + King Courteen

How I Became Friends with "Buzz" from HOME ALONE

BUZZOn October 3, 2010 I became Facebook friends with Buzz from the film Home Alone. I’m not talking about the “Buzz Fan Page”, I mean the actual dude. His real name is Devin Ratray, a 35-year-old huggable round man who has since retired from acting to pursue film production. Buzz is best known for eating the last slice of cheese pizza coveted by Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin), leaving McCallister to sleep on an empty stomach with bed-wetter cousin Fuller. Below is the only exchange I ever had with Buzz/Ratray, which was clearly a ploy for him to accept my “friendship”. Brett Newski: “Devin, thanks for the autograph last weekend. You’re the man!” Devin Ratray: “No problem. Anytime!”

Ratray has since “unfriended” me from Facebook for reasons unknown. I did not find this out until today, after spotting a bootlegged copy of Home Alone at a Vietnamese DVD stand. It was a reminder that my only online celebrity friendship has fallen from glory. On this day, I too feel to have fallen from glory.

AGENT ORANGE is probably the greatest travesty in US war history. The War Museum in Saigon is brutal, but you don’t have to go there to see its effects on the Vietnamese people. Children and grandchildren of Vietnamese exposed to Agent Orange in the Nam War are born with deformities to this day. Short, crippled arms and legs are a common sight around the city, using a skateboard as a wheelchair. Sorry, I know it's a BUZZ kill.

After two hours of intensity at the Vietnam War Museum, I joined a tour group to the war fields of suburban Saigon. On the bus, we were briefed on the history of the Vietnam War in broken English over a broken Karaoke system that cost about 1,000,000 Vietnam Dong ($48).IMG_20150527_111249

Having a tour guide you cannot understand is like having an overweight personal trainer. I slumped back in my seat, hiding my headphones under my hoodie as not to offend Joe, our 4 foot nothin’ Vietnamese tour guide leading the bus to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels. These tiny, underground holes were the Viet Congs base of operation for the Tet Offensive in 1968. They are about the size of an ass crack. Not even half an American person could fit in some of these tunnels. Since the war, the tunnels have been widened to fit Cheeseburger shaped American bodies for tourism purposes.

As you know, tourism gift shops are generally tacky, overpriced, and encompass Webster’s definition of “terd.” But not this one. In the Cu Chi gift shop you can forget about novelty T-shirts. Here, one can literally buy tickets to the gun show. For just $1.50, you can shoot an AK-47 or an assortment of other Rambo artillery from the war. (In Cambodia, you can blow up a cow with a Bazooka for $200). One can also buy sandals made from a Goodyear tire for $2 (USD).

We complete the tour. Our guide Joe is pumped up about his job, rattling off his war knowledge at 300 mph in Vietnamese English. I try to concentrate, but can’t look away from the four-inch long solo grey hair dangling from his chin (it's bad luck to cut your mole hair in Vietnam) Despite communication barriers, I love this old guy. Joe informs me that his two favorite bands are CCR and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, both of which he discovered during his time as a hippy intellectual during Nam. No fightin’ for Joe. Truly a fortunate son.

In Between Exits Tour Announced.

The In Between Exits Tour starts in just a few weeks. I'll be driving the mini van into the ground across the USA and then proceeding to several shows in South Africa. In Between Exits was recorded across Asia in little makeshift studios in Vietnam, Philippines, Hong Kong, Thailand and the spaces in between. It's a stripped-down album that gets to the nitty gritty of what I do. Just so you know, I'm psyched out of my mind to play these songs for you. :) Cheers to life in limbo. -Brett InBetweenExitsTourPoster_small

  

IN BETWEEN EXITS TOUR DATES

Jul 31 Malarkey's  Wausau, WI
  Aug 01 Leach Amphitheater (In Between Exits Tour)

Oshkosh, WI
  Aug 02 Music Without Boundaries (In Between Exits Tour) Manitowoc, WI
  Aug 02 Revolutions (In Between Exits Tour) Manitowoc, WI
  Aug 03 Paradigm Coffee (In Between Exits Tour) Sheboygan, WI
  Aug 08 House Show (In Between Exits Tour)

Milwaukee, WI
  Aug 09 Cafe Carpe (In Between Exits Tour)

Fort Atkinson, WI
  Aug 10 ELB (In Between Exits Tour)

Rockford, IL
  Aug 11 Rozz Tox (In Between Exits Tour)

Rock Island, IL
  Aug 12 House Show (In Between Exits Tour)

Kalamazoo, MI
  Aug 13 TBA (In Between Exits Tour)

Grand Rapids, MI
  Aug 14 Hamilton St Pub (In Between Exits Tour)

Saginaw, MI
  Aug 16 The Pool (In Between Exits Tour)

South Bend, IN
  Aug 17 The Firehouse (In Between Exits Tour)

North Manchester, IN
  Aug 18 House Show (In Between Exits Tour)

Bloomington, IN
  Aug 19 The Drinkery (In Between Exits Tour) Cincinnati, OH
  Aug 20 Blue Recipe Radio (In Between Exits Tour) Columbus, OH
  Aug 21 Summer Concert Series (In Between Exits Tour) Barberton, OH
  Aug 22 Mahal's (In Between Exits Tour) Lakewood, CO
  Aug 23 TBA (In Between Exits Tour) Pittsburgh, PA
  Aug 24 Blind Bobs (In Between Exits Tour) Dayton, OH
  Aug 26 House Show (In Between Exits Tour) Indianapolis, IN
  Aug 27 House Show (In Between Exits Tour) Champaign, IL
  Aug 28 TBA (In Between Exits Tour) St Louis, MO
  Aug 30 The Bridge (In Between Exits Tour) Columbia, MO
  Aug 31 TBA (In Between Exits Tour) Iowa City, IA
  Sep 02 House Show (In Between Exits Tour) Ames, IA
  Sep 20 White Mountain Festival Estcourt, South Africa
  Sep 21 White Mountain Festival Estcourt, South Africa
  Sep 22 White Mountain Festival Estcourt, South Africa
  Sep 23 White Mountain Festival Estcourt, South Africa
  Sep 25 Johannesburg Johannesburg, South Africa
  Sep 26 Johannesburg Johannesburg, South Africa
  Sep 27 Pretoria Pretoria, South Africa
  Oct 02 Durban Durban, South Africa
  Oct 03 Durban Durban, South Africa
  Oct 07 Barleycorn Folk Club Cape Town, South Africa
  Oct 08 The Waiting Room Cape Town, South Africa
  Oct 09 Union Cape Town, South Africa
  Oct 10 Jackal & Hyde Cape Town, South Africa
  Oct 11 Alma Cafe

Rosebank, South Africa
  Oct 12 Mercury Live

Zonnebloem, South Africa