Green Guide – Critic’s Review, Rudely Interrupted Documentary
Jim Schembri, December 3 2009
It’s all euphoria and excitement when the announcement is made that the alt-rock band, Rudely Interrupted, is to tour overseas and make history being the first pop group ever to perform at the United Nations in New York. With five of its six members suffering from some sort of mental and/or physical affliction – blindness, deafness, Asperger’s syndrome, Down syndrome, autism – the prospect is for the a unique and bumpy adventure. But even before they leave their rehearsal garage for this warts-and-all rockumentary, the sparks start flying. Guitarist and lead singer Rory is blind, has Asperger’s, is highly articulate and possesses a grand intolerance for other people’s shortcomings. He is a born argument starter, much to the chagrin of Rohan Brooks, the band’s hapless manager/guitarist. As they trek to New York, then on to Canada and Britain, the band is beset with bad luck – their New York liaison gets hit by a car, their van is stolen and ransacked, and tests of solidarity as Rory constantly imposes his will over the other, quieter members of the band. Though the other members have distinctive personalities and interests, producer/directors Susie and Benjamin Jones can’t help but allow Rory to dominate proceedings. The sojourn is thankfully free of condescending sentiments or false notes about five challenged people brought together by the power of music. Their story comes across as a genuine achievement rather than as a patronising fairytale of triumph over adversity. The adventure is certainly heartening but often far from heart-warming.
Time Out Sydney
Although they were only added to the bill late in the game, Melbourne four-piece Rudely Interrupted have emerged as one of the most anticipated bands to play Laneway Festival. They stand apart from their peers – not because of the intellectual disabilities from which they all suffer, but because their music is some of the most energetic and genuine to emerge from the Australian rock ‘n’ roll underground in recent times. Their songs lift the band above the realm of novelty and give them a cultural cache in the image-obsessed world of indie rock.
Lead singer Rory Burnside, who is blind and has Asperger’s Syndrome, is quick to praise the group’s musical director, Rohan Brooks, who keeps the group organised and motivated. “He’s really good at explaining certain situations to me so I have a better idea of what’s actually happening,” says Burnside. “If I have a situation explained to me, that helps. For example, if he has to take a phone call when we’re rehearsing, which I find most discourteous, and he tells me it’s a work call, then that’s fine. And from now on I’ve said to him, I’m going to go on the assumption it’s a work call, even if it’s not. So I don’t get PO’ed at him.”
Rudely Interrupted play St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival on Sun 2 Mar.
Now that you have tasted from the honeypot of our dreams, you will be pleased to learn that our fantasy band actually exists in the form of Melbourne’s Rudely Interrupted. Trace Crutchfield of How’s Your News hipped us to them on the eve of their first ever world tour, and they’ve been on permanent rotation in our playlists and brains ever since. And before anybody hauls out the old “outsider music” tag, you should realize there’s a difference between Jandek banging around half a piano in the woods and extremely well-crafted music by a bunch of guys who happen to be saddled with slightly wonky sets of genes. We’re not trying to cast aspersions on the luminaries of the “outsider” scene, just saying if you locked the entire lineup of Songs in the Key of Z in a room together, I doubt they would ever come up with a song about neck pimples that sounds like the Meat Puppets, or anything as mercilessly infectious as RI’s “Don’t Break My Heart.”
A note-perfect new wave guitar-/synth-pop confection, “Don’t Break My Heart” is notable for deer-in-headlight vox that somehow cross Camper van Beethoven with Flight of the Conchords. The proceeds are all the more darling for the super-simple (if not outright naïve) lyrics, which practically dare the listener to ignore the plaintive song title and indeed annihilate the poor sensitive bastard. But the best part? It’s not actually a love song. If you want to get to the very human truth of the matter, go to the band’s web site. Still, the background’s ultimately irrelevant. This is a great song, end of—and regardless of—story. Probably my favourite track of the year, in fact.
Gary Butler. Driven