Brett Newski has been called the “loudest acoustic act ever,” and that might not be an overstatement. Since embarking on his solo project in his late twenties, the tireless troubadour has earned a reputation as one of Wisconsin’s—if not one of the Midwest’s—hardest-working musicians. That tireless approach has given Newski the opportunity to tour internationally on numerous occasions and play shows in massive venues with internationally-known acts like Pixies, Violent Femmes, Barenaked Ladies, Manchester Orchestra, New Pornographers, Better Than Ezra, and countless others. Along the way, he’s also endured his fair share of hardships during his “crusty adventures,” including having his equipment stolen, enduring some super sketchy shows, and falling ill in Asia. Through the highs and lows, he’s stayed positive and he’s managed to make a living solely as a touring musician.
During one of his rare spells of relative inactivity, Newski met up with My First Band host Tyler Maas at Milwaukee Record headquarters. There, the two talked about the singer-songwriter’s experiences playing the world over, his humble start as a kid learning to play music, and all the astounding experiences that came in between. Newski talked about rocking the suburbs in his first band, playing basketball at UW-Eau Claire, moving to Madison and being in a popular college band, eking out a living writing jingles while living in Vietnam (including a tampon ad), and moving back to the states to play hundreds of shows a year…before ultimately burning out and learning to adjust his approach.
My First Band is sponsored by Boulevard Brewing and is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. Music used in this show comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”), Brett Newski (“Devil’s Haircut”) and Three Blocks To Murdock (“Corner”).