Thursday, March 12, 2009

Easy Otis Interview #2: Brian Ritchie, Violent Femmes

Milwaukee native Brian Ritchie is the bassist for the folk/punk/rock band Violent Femmes. Ever since their billion times platinum debut album burst into dorm rooms around the world, Ritchie has been widely regarded as one of the best bass players in alternative music. (Eat it D'Arcy!) Easy Otis reached out into the great beyond to find Mr. Ritchie and this is what came back over the wire:

OTIS: The streets of Milwaukee seem a bit safer theses days.....Where the hell are you?

BRIAN RITCHIE: I have become a permanent resident of Australia. I live in Hobart, Tasmania. Here I am Artistic Director of MONA FOMA (Museum of Old and New Art, Festival of Music and Art) This is an incredibly fun, challenging and creative job, and I get to bring my favorite artists and musicians to Australia. Besides that I am also extremely active as a musician, playing everything ranging from jazz, Japanese classical music, blues and rock of course.

OTIS: early 80s VF: you have long hair that covered your face during Kiss Off freak outs.....there are later photos that show shorter hair....tell us the story of when you cut the locks.....

BR: For a long time I was on a pendulum between long hair and shaving my head. I like the feeling of a freshly shaven skull. However due to requests from the female portion of my family I've had long hair exclusively for about the last ten years. It's also satisfying because most of the other musicians my age are losing their hair and resorting to absurd hats, the comb-over etc. and I can just luxuriate in my profuse locks.

OTIS: VF rumors have been flying around. If you could sum up the future of VF into 3 words, what would it be?

BR: Music is important.

OTIS: Who are a few bass players / bands to watch?

BR: Go to previous festival section and you can see exactly what I am into nowadays musically.

There are a lot of really fine bassists happening nowadays. In Milwaukee I love Dave Gelting (from the Danglers and others). Another bassist I really enjoy is Bryan J. Howard from Athens Georgia.


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