Brett Newski & the Corruption go global at Blind Bob’s
Being in a band is tough. Trying to write, record and express your emotions musically – it takes a different breed of animal to do it right. Being in a band is tough, but being in a band from Vietnam might be a little tougher. I’m no expert, but luckily I got the chance to talk with someone who is. Brett Newski, who fronts the indie pop-rock trio Brett Newski & the Corruption, is just the man to talk to on the subject. The group is touring the United States in support of their new album Tiny Victories, a fitting title for a band like them. Newski and the rest of the group were nice enough to answer some questions before their stop through Dayton at Blind Bob’s Thursday, May 16, and they managed to drop quite a bit of knowledge from their worldly travels.
Explain the origins surrounding the band. What’s it like being in a band from Vietnam? Has this made it more difficult to break into America and beyond?
As a band from Vietnam, I never thought we’d be touring the USA. Matt Green, our drummer, was always optimistic that good things would happen as long as we stuck to our guns. Vietnam is so shielded off from the rest of the world as far as music, arts, western sports, etc. Saigon is decades behind the West, but in a good way. It’s an epic feeling, being able to step back in time like that. People drink way less gravy in Asia than they do in America. Living in Vietnam has made the band more difficult from a logistical sense, but easier in other ways. It’s fun to tell these weird tales from life in ‘Nam. People think we are full of shit, but it’s true. – Brett Newski
The band makes no secret of hailing from Saigon. How did you end up meeting each other?
We all lived in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) at the time. We were working there and somehow found each other in a city of 12 million people. Don’t know how – maybe it was some sort of musical destiny telekinesis. – BN
What’s the music industry like out there?
The industry in ‘Nam is still a bit of a blank canvas. Not too many original bands, but heaps of cover bands. If you can sing “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” even half-close, you’ve got a job in a bar somewhere. – BN
Who are some of the bands and artists that have influenced you the most and had the biggest impact on the music you make today?
I dig any band with a unique singer. They don’t even have to be a good singer by conventional standards, just as long as they sound like themselves. Violent Femmes and Bob Dylan are solid examples. “American Idol” seems to be the most popular TV program in Vietnam right now, if not the world. Nothing against the show, but it really discourages creativity and blocks unique voices. You don’t have to hit every note or sound like Adele to be great, but maybe I just say that because I can’t really sing. – BN
What have your past experiences been like touring other parts of the world compared to playing shows back home? What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen or learned in your travels?
America is arguably the greatest place in the world to play music. So much love for the arts, so many cities, so many fast food restaurants to “help” you on your way to those cities. I’ve been fortunate enough to play in South Africa and Australia, too. South Africa was incredibly supportive – I’d love to go back some time. Australia wasn’t too shabby, but it costs $12 for a McDonald’s #7 combo meal, so that detracts from its appeal to musicians. – BN
Your album Tiny Victories was released last December. What was it like recording the album?
Everything about it was amazing except driving to the studio with heaps of gear on a little Chinese motorbike. No one drives cars. There is no space. The roads are slim and cluttered worse than my great grandmother’s attic. – BN
How much planning was involved in the band’s current tour for the album?
This tour has taken nearly six months to plan. We’re hitting some new territory and it’s always a bitch to expand to cities where you don’t know anyone. But, if worse comes to worst, I’ll sleep in the gutter. We’re trying to get sponsored by Super 8 – I would sell out for Super 8. I would cover “How You Remind Me” for a free night’s stay, but only if the room had a hot tub. – BN
So what’s next for the band after you’re done sleeping in gutters and Super 8’s?
If we make any money, we’ll smoke a fat cigar. We must reconvene in Saigon and record another record at some point. I’d like to hit the east coast with Tiny Victories. I’ve never been more pumped about anything than I am for this tour. –BN
Brett Newski & the Corruption will be performing on Thursday, May 16th at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St. Also on the bill are Me & Mountains and Grenades!? Admission is $5, doors open at 9 p.m. For more information visit corruptionmusic.com.
Reach DCP freelance writer Zach Rogers at ZachRogers@daytoncitypaper.com