For most people, limitations have served to thwart their dreams. Not Rudely Interrupted. This Melbourne based band live by the saying, "you gotta think big. Shoot for the stars and you might hit the moon." Rohan Brooks, managerguitarist-producer-songwriter has watched the band unfold over the last nine years into a real tour de force. Currently on a national tour to promote their new single, I am Alive Melbourne punters will be able to catch the iconic outfit on Sunday 9 November at the Northcote.Performances are also scheduled for Adelaide and Perth in November and December.
When I spoke to Brooks, it was off the back of a very long day of rehearsals, which he tells me did not go as planned. "There was a recording session happening in one of the other rooms quite a vocal session and we can be quite a rowdy rock band! So it got pushed back, much to the dismay of Rory. When things don't go to planned, he can struggle with situations."
Rory is Rory Burnside, the lead singer, whose enchanting vocals at times sound hauntingly like the late Ian Curtis. Brooks says he hears this too, offering "Isn't it funny how those things creep in". He thinks about it for a moment and adds, "it is there. I think, like Ian Curtis there is something about Rory's piercingness and his tone, that sort of really he wants you to hear what he is saying." Burnside's father is Australian music producer and studio engineer Jonathan Burnside. His legacy includes producing albums for Kurt Cobain, Faith No More and on a local level, The Sleepy Jackson's and Dan Sultan.
The pair met through friends of Brooks who were recording music with Rory's father. "I happened to be in the studio with them that day and it was summer 2006. Jonathan invited me to his house it was an Australia Day party." He trundled along, with "the band I was hanging with at the time. I met Rory, his little brother was putting food on the plate, I helped him get food down his gut and we struck up a conversation." It was only just a few months before, Brooks had been working in the disability field with music.
He was keen to start a music project and after getting "rejected and rejected and rejected" in attempts to secure a grant from the government a grant he'd written two weeks before "got accepted. It was a grant to start a band, write a song, record a song, do a performance and record a filmclip." Brooks laughs and explains, "I thought what the hell are we going to do?? I rang Rory and said, 'mate do you want to do this? He said, yes yes. okay no worries."
From there the band's creation was kismet. He enthusiastically advises, "we just got a whole lot of people together in a room, and one by one got encouraged to get behind an instrument." It all came together quickly from there. "Josh (Hogan) got on the drums and just started whacking out a rock beat, a really strong rock beat and I was like who is playing that? Who what what?" The outfit now had "a drummer, a guy with perfect pitch," and Brooks jokingly thought, "all I've got to do is learn how to play guitar! We grew from there. It's been quite a ride, and we've lost a few members along the way. They choose to leave the band as they were getting older and had health issues."
It's at this point that I should mention, each member of Rudely Interrupted has a disability. Rory Burnside is blind, has Aspergers and epilepsy, Josh Hogan has a physical disability (bones that didn't fully develop at birth) and Sam Beke, the charismatic performer of the band, has down's syndrome. "Sam is fantastic, there is a lot of cape changes and costume changes. He develops all these characters himself. Again, with the sponsorship and the Frasil Foundation we are going to be really able to shape Sam's future. We are really excited, we're more mature, we know what is expected." He breaks into laughter and adds, "we are becoming the rockstars!"
It's this infectious spirit, which imprints that the band is really like any other band. Brooks agrees wholeheartedly on this and explains, when he tells the story of the band, people see them and "say, why ... I didn't realise you were so good! Yeah, we have a few more quirky conversations I suppose!" I advise him I have no doubt there are plenty of other bands that have far more strange conversations. He breaks into uproarious laughter and explains, "you can hear the celebration [in the band's music], we get around, we talk about the experiences we are having and they are all good experiences. Coming from that environment, it is uplifting."
The band have received a lot of support over the years from the Australian Council for the Arts. After the band wrote the first song, 'Don't break my heart', "which me and Rory connected on. He wanted to know if you could die of a broken heart. I had a melody in my head and we worked that into the song." The band received quite a lot of play on Triple R, "which was surprising to us, it made its way there quite organically. As a result of that, we did a showcase in Melbourne." Brooks advises happily, "the pub was packed, it was incredible. We then thought, what is the biggest thing to do in the world? We'll go to New York." From there, the band got in touch with the UN and let them know what they were doing.
The rest is nothing short of admirable, and a testament to their hard work and optimistic attitude. "They said this is absolutely fantastic. They got in touch with the Australian Consulate and we got the invitation." The band fundraised to get overseas and as a result of that performance, "a lot of countries got to know about the band and what we were doing. A lot of invitations were reverberating around, so we just gravitated to who wanted to work with us and support our music." He explains a lot of their success happened internationally, "Australia is small and don't really celebrate the arts. It is small and cliquey and really hard to break into. The music was making the connection." One organisation getting behind the band 100%, is the Frasil Foundation. "They have come on board for this tour, and have been absolutely supportive towards us. We are building some really big plans." He adds, "I can't say too much about it."
One thing he does excitedly share, is his love of the band. "We got in this to really support each other and develop some skills and that has always been the goal." He sees the band getting better and building. "Despite what is happening in the world, the group is still together, we are all still really good friends. It's less about the ego and more about the unit."Their coming together still amazes him to this day, "We didn't know each other, we look back and look at the coincidences and we go wow, wow they are big ones. Big wow moments."
The band are certainly embodying a sentiment we can all learn from, "somewhere along the line we all have our own hiccups. Doesn't matter who you are, we all have our own flaws.Anything is possible, with a little bit of talent, and a lot of hard work. That is what it is about."
FRI 31st OCT | LISMORE WORKERS CLUB, LISMORE | 18 | 6PM DOORS
Tickets available from 0411 716 144
SUN 9th NOV | NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB, MELBOURNE | 18 | 1:30PM DOORS
Tickets available from Ticketscout
SUN 16th NOV | GOVERNOR HINDMARSH HOTEL, ADELAIDE| 18 | 7.30PM DOORS
Tickets available from Moshtix
WED 3rd DEC | NORTHBRIDGE PIAZZA, PERTH | ALL AGES | 1PM 3PM
WED 3rd DEC | ROSEMOUNT HOTEL, PERTH| 18 | 9PM
Tickets available from Oztix