While the winter snow buried his hometown of Milwaukee, Brett Newski hibernated to South Africa, touring, couch surfing and writing songs for the “Hi-Fi D.I.Y. EP.” His car broke down on day one of the tour, food poisoning set in on day five and his train car fell under attack by robbers on a trip from Johannesburg to Durban, inspiring the song “No Anchor,” a song about diving face-first into the world alone with no safety net.
In preparation for the Hi-Fi D.I.Y. World Tour, Brett returned home to record new material. Fellow Milwaukean and Violent Femmes cofounder, Victor DeLorenzo, produced Hi-Fi D.I.Y. at Howl Street Recordings in Milwaukee. The two geared up for the Hi-Fi sessions by holding coffee drinking contests on Victor’s front porch, demoing tunes on an old snare drum and ragtime guitar. The five songs are a blend of Newski’s anxiety-rich indie rock, along with tongue-in-cheek power acoustic tunes like “DIY,” about playing “the worst show of your life to four people on a shitty Monday night in St. Louis.” The final leg of the “Hi-Fi D.I.Y”. world tour begins in the US on Feb 19th, taking Brett from the Midwest to SXSW and up the east coast.
Despite the misfortunes of touring, Newski gained a quick addiction to road life and documenting the shit hitting the fan. Most of his possessions were eventually moved into his Euro tour mobile aptly named “Chuck Ragan The Car,” which served as home for over two months during his 2015 European tour. This bizarre DIY lifestyle led to the birth of a weekly YouTube series, “Crusty Adventures,” exposing the dark underbelly of touring and the strange events that unfold between gigs. In the series, Brett and tour manager, “Danimal,” tell their tales of blackmail in Germany, flaming brake rotors down the Norwegian mountainside, and terrorism in Brussels during the wake of the Paris attacks.
Weirdest Venues In The World Tour
Looking forward, Newski is working on his next album, Land Air Sea Garage, scheduled for release in late 2016 and followed up by another world tour to finish off the year. Aiming for 2017, Brett plans to route the “Weirdest Venues in the World” tour, with gigs all over the world in unconventional spaces like attics, boats, barns, funeral homes, haunted forests, and atheist tool sheds. The Worst of Brett Newski is another ongoing project in the works, featuring 100 mini songs written about the road, on the road.
Living In Vietnam
While living in Saigon, Vietnam in 2010, Newski landed a job writing music jingles for national television campaigns, most notably a line of tampon ads placed in movie theaters and public establishments across Vietnam. The wild success of these campaigns coined him “The Vagina King of Vietnam” by his creative director. “The King” transitioned to a completely nomadic lifestyle after two years living in Saigon, playing 1000 shows across Europe, South Africa, Asia, Australia and the US. He released In Between Exits in 2011 under his own name before Tiny Victories with his band, The Corruption. Both were recorded across Asia. These releases were followed by American Folk Armageddon in 2014 on Milwaukee’s Good Land Records in the US and Make My Day Records in Europe.