Brian Ritchie

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Brian Ritchie
Ritchie performing at a benefit for Wayne Goodwin, Sydney, Australia August 2008
Ritchie performing at a benefit for Wayne Goodwin, Sydney, Australia August 2008
Background information
Born (1960-11-21) November 21, 1960 (age 63)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
GenresRock, punk rock, folk music
Occupation(s)Musician, songwriter
Instrument(s)Bass guitar, shakuhachi
LabelsThylacine, Unhip, Slash, Warners, Reprise, Electra, Rough Trade, London
At Day on the Meadow on July 2nd, 2006 in San Jose, CA

Brian Ritchie (born November 21, 1960) is an American musician, best known as the bassist for the alternative rock band Violent Femmes. Ritchie was born and raised in the United States and is currently a dual citizen of the U.S. and Australia, with his full-time residence in Australia.[1]

In addition to his bass playing, Ritchie is proficient at the shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute. He acquired a Jun Shihan (shakuhachi teaching license) in March 2003 from James Nyoraku Schlefer, and his professional name is "Tairaku" ("big music" in Japanese).[2]

Ritchie has released three solo albums: in 1987, "The Blend," in 1989, "Sonic Temple & Court of Babylon" and "I See A Noise" in 1990.

In 2007 Ritchie produced and toured with the Italian punk/folk band The Zen Circus, which subsequently changed its name to The Zen Circus and Brian Ritchie. The first international album of the band, Villa Inferno, was released in 2008 for the Italian record label Unhip Records.

In 2008, Ritchie and his wife, Varuni Kulasekera, moved to Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, where he has guested in a band called The Green Mist.[3][4] Ritchie does most of his work in DV (David Vartanian) Studios.

On Australia Day 2012, Ritchie and his wife were naturalised as Australian citizens.[5]

In 2009 he curated the first Mona Foma (MoFo) festival[6] in Hobart, Tasmania. Since 2009 he has curated Mona Foma every year. At the 2012 MoFo, he organised an impromptu performance of the entire Violent Femmes first album by a 'super band' consisting of musicians playing at MoFo: the Dresden Dolls (Amanda Palmer, vocals, and Brian Viglione, drums), two musicians touring with PJ Harvey's band (Mick Harvey, guitar, and John Parish) and with Brian Ritchie himself on bass guitar and vibraphone.

In 2010 he toured as bassist with the Australian surf instrumental band called The Break, composed of Midnight Oil members Rob Hirst, Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey. [7] Their debut album Church of the Open Sky was released on April 16, 2010, on the independent label Bombora, distributed by MGM.

In 2011 his home in Tasmania, designed by architect Stuart Tanner, was featured on the TV series Sandcastles.[8]


  • 1987 – The Blend
  • 1989 – Sonic Temple & Court of Babylon
  • 1989 – Sun Ra – Man from Outer Space
  • 1990 – I See a Noise
  • 2004 – Shakuhachi Club NYC
  • 2006 – Ryoanji
  • 2007 – Taimu
  • 2008 – Villa Inferno (with The Zen Circus)
  • 2010 – Church of the Open Sky (with The Break)
  • 2011 – Tea Life (with Silas Be Ritchie)
  • 2012 – Tea Life 2 (with Silas Be Ritchie)
  • 2013 – Space Farm (with The Break)
  • 2013 – Tea Life 3 / Teenage Strangler 12" vinyl split (with Silas Be Ritchie)


  1. ^ "Femmes' Brian Ritchie to become an Aussie". Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Biographies – Brian Ritchie". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  3. ^ "Violent Femmes' Brian Ritchie moves to Australia on". 27 June 2006. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  4. ^ Otterman, Sharon (29 July 2007). "Tasmania Goes Boutique, Nice and Slow". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  5. ^ Darby, Andrew (27 January 2012). "Tasmania more fun than blisters in the sun". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "The Surf Instrumental Will Never Be The Same". The Break. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  8. ^ "Episode 05 | Sandcastles". 19 April 2012. Archived from the original on 10 July 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.