Brian Ritchie

Brian Ritchie

Ritchie performing at a benefit for Wayne Goodwin, Sydney, Australia August 2008
Background information
Born (1960-11-21) November 21, 1960
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
Genres Rock, punk rock, folk music
Occupation(s) Musician, songwriter
Instruments Bass, guitar, shakuhachi, jaw harp, xylophone, keyboard
Labels Thylacine, Unhip, Slash, Warners, Reprise, Electra, Rough Trade, London
Associated acts Violent Femmes, Zen Circus, The Break
At Day on the Meadow on July 2nd, 2006 in San Jose, CA

Brian Ritchie (born 21 November 1960) is the bass guitarist for the alternative rock band Violent Femmes.

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).[1]

Since 1998, he has collaborated with American shakuhachi maker Ken LaCosse developing a wide bore style of shakuhachi called "taimu."

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, Dr. Varuni Kulasekera, moved to Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, where he has guested in a band called The Green Mist.[2][3] Ritchie does most of his work in DV (David Vartanian) Studios.

On Australia Day 2012, Ritchie and his wife were naturalised as Australian citizens.[4]

In 2009 he curated the first Mona Foma (MoFo) festival[5] 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 ex-Midnight Oil members Rob Hirst, Jim Moginie and Martin Rotsey. [6] 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 award winning architect Stuart Tanner, was featured on the TV series Sandcastles.[7]



  1. "Biographies – Brian Ritchie". Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  2. "Violent Femmes' Brian Ritchie moves to Australia on". 2006-06-27. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  3. Otterman, Sharon (29 July 2007). "Tasmania Goes Boutique, Nice and Slow". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  4. Darby, Andrew (27 January 2012). "Tasmania more fun than blisters in the sun". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  5. "The Surf Instrumental Will Never Be The Same". The Break. Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-07-21.
  6. "Episode 05 | Sandcastles". 2012-04-19. Archived from the original on 2013-07-10. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
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