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5 Albums I Can't Live Without

5 Albums I Can’t Live Without: Brian Ritchie of Violent Femmes

(Credit: George Lange)

Name  Brian Ritchie

Best known for  I’m best known as the knob who plays the “Blister in the Sun” bass riff, but that only scratches the surface of my Renaissance Man persona. 

Current city  Splitting time between Hobart and Canberra. 

Really want to be in  I like wandering around Kyoto and visiting the temples and gardens. My favorite rock garden is Ryōan-ji. 

Excited about  I’m in the middle of delivering the best music festival in Australia. I am the Artistic Director of Mona Foma (Museum of Old and New Art Festival of Music and Art). That’s an epic project that I have been doing for 17 years. 

My current music collection has a lot of  The entire history of Jazz. Realistically, I must listen to most forms of music to do my job and for pleasure. 

And a little bit of  Listening to Indian music every day, particularly the Alaps (long, slow, introductions). 

Preferred format  Vinyl for pleasure, CD’s for convenience and streaming for research. 

5 Albums I Can’t Live Without:


All the News That’s Fit to Sing, Phil Ochs

It’s my favorite topical/protest album — and uncanny how 60 years later it’s almost all still relevant and almost depressingly prescient. 


Gene Vincent Rocks! and the Blue Caps Roll, Gene Vincent and the Blue Caps

This album was the blueprint for the Violent Femmes sound and instrumental approach. Gene was the greatest singer of the original crop of rockabilly musicians. The song selection on this album also encompasses folk, country, blues, etc. and is a good anthology of American music. 


Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins

I mostly listen to jazz, but this is truly the album I can’t live without. When my wife Varuni is stressed, I spin it, and she suddenly becomes happy. 


Amir Farid Plays Javad Maroufi, Amir Farid

This album of early Iranian piano music is one of the most listened in my collection due to the fine playing and mood. The blend of eastern and western musical influences is innocent. 


Daily Suizen, Seian Genshin and Hirazumi Gyoza

I can’t live without this CD because it is by my current shakuhachi sensei and I must listen to it to absorb the techniques and approach. 

The 40th anniversary ‘Violent Femmes (Deluxe Edition)’ is out now. Click here to order.