Violent Femmes bassist to open Sydney tea shop

By Jonathon Moran

SYDNEY - Violent Femmes bass player Brian Ritchie has moved to Australia, and plans on opening a Japanese tea shop in Sydney.

While his band-mates are based in the United States, Ritchie will continue to play with the Violent Femmes when they tour.

"I will be working on music stuff here and I will continue to fly around and do gigs with the Femmes," Ritchie said in Sydney.

"I have got an apartment in Surry Hills and also I'm getting ready to build a house in Tasmania - I will have the best of both worlds, city living and country living."

Ritchie and his wife got Australian residency about six months ago but only moved to Sydney from the US last month.

They will open a shop, Chado - The Way of Tea, in Sydney's Surry Hills early next year.

"It is going to be a place where people can drink tea, buy really good quality tea from Japan, China, Sri Lanka," he said.

"I won't really be working but I will be there."

Ritchie is one of the founding members of the Violent Femmes, which had its biggest hit with Blister in the Sun.

Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the group are now spread out and play on average 80 gigs a year.

"We are decentralised," Ritchie said. "We are not like local musicians anywhere so we only go play where the gigs are.

"We are lucky that way, we have followers everywhere."

The Violent Femmes will kick off a European tour later this month before returning to play the Big Day Out music festival in New Zealand and Australia in January.

They are headlining the festival, which kicks off in Auckland on January 19 before heading to the Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth.

Other acts to perform at the outdoor festival include Tool, Jet and Eskimo Joe.

"Big outdoor gigs are nice because it is a wide open feeling and the air is fresh," said Ritchie.


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