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'Rudely Interrupted': a band with 'different -

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'Rudely Interrupted': a band with 'different abilities'

Broadcast: 17/05/2007

Reporter: Ben Knight

A band called Rudely Interrupted launched its debut single in front of packed house in a Melbourne
pub last night. For the band, just being there was a triumph. Five of its six members have
intellectual disabilities, some of them severe, but they play every bar of music themselves.


KERRY O'BRIEN: Melbourne's vibrant live music scene has seen just about every kind of rock band
there is. But last night, punters at an inner city pub were treated to something truly unique.

A band called "Rudely Interrupted" launched its debut single in front of a packed house.

For the band, just being there was a triumph. Five of its six members have intellectual
disabilities. Some of them severe.

They didn't come to be patronised, and nor were they.

The sound this band makes is genuine rock. And everyone's instrument is plugged in, and turned up

Ben Knight joined them as they prepared for their big gig.

BEN KNIGHT: It's Wednesday afternoon and that's rehearsal time for the band, "Rudely Interrupted".
It's the highlight of the week for these musicians. But today, there's an extra edge to band
practise, because in a week's time they'll be launching their debut single at a pub gig in the
heart of Melbourne's live music district. And they dearly want to get that right. Because while it
might not look like it, these guys can play.

(live music by "Rudely Interrupted")

RUDELY INTERRUPTED (SINGING): Can you really die from a broken heart? Can you really die from a
broken heart? Is it true?

BEN KNIGHT: This band started as a music therapy session for a group of people with disabilities at
the Churinga Centre on Melbourne's outskirts. Back then Josh Hogan had never played a real drum
kit. No one knew that Rory Burnside could sing or that Sam Beacon and Connie Kirkpatrick could put
on such a show.

(live music by "Rudely Interrupted")

RUDELY INTERRUPTED (SINGING): Don't break my heart. Don't break my heart.

ROHAN BROOKS, MUSICAL DIRECTOR: It's been amazing, it's been truly amazing. I can't believe that
this is all happening.

BEN KNIGHT: Rohan Brooks is the band's teacher, mentor and musical director. In his other life he's
toured the world as a drummer with his band 'The Anyone's'.

ROHAN BROOKS: The experiences I've had in my life I find just amazing and uplifting and makes me
feel like someone. I just want to give these guys the same experience.

BEN KNIGHT: The band's singer is Rory Burnside. He was born with no eyes and also has Asperger's
Syndrome. He named the band and wrote the song "Don't Break My Heart" with Rohan Brooks after the
death of his favourite teacher from cancer.

RORY BURNSIDE, LEAD SINGER: Her passing caused me a few malfunctions. It rudely interrupted my
life, thus the band name and it caused me a new behavioural malfunctions, stressing easily,
overreacting to trivial things.

ROHAN BROOKS: (in a band rehearsal) Do you want to try that again? The band does need the practise,

RORY BURNSIDE: He's really good at explaining certain situations to me so I have a better idea of
what's actually happening. Like, if I have a situation explained to me then 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 P-O'ed at him.

BEN KNIGHT: The way Rohan Brooks has managed to create a sound using each band member is ingenious.

ROHAN BROOKS: A few tuning tricks I've learnt along the way. I'm getting real quick at tuning
guitars and different chord shapes.

(in a band rehearsal) I just have to tune the guitars. That's the one.

It's about them expressing themselves. Like I say, it's not me hitting those strings, it's them,
it's coming from within them. I've said to Sam sometimes, sometimes Sam can sit down and play and
just wander off. He still plays and just wanders off. We can stop and I say, "Sam, it sounds like
you're not really with us," and then he jumps up and starts whacking it and his foot is on the
bloody kick drum. "Yeah, now it sounds like you're with us."

BEN KNIGHT: But the real revolution has been Josh Hogan. Who picked up his first drum sticks just
18 months ago.

JOSH HOGAN, DRUMMER: I just listened to the radio and I used to hear the drums playing in the
background and I used to copy the drums on the radio.

BEN KNIGHT: And when you first sat down at a proper drum kit you just did it?

JOSH HOGAN: I just did it. I just did it just like that.

ROHAN BROOKS: He's got a bit of a right arm problem and it stiffens up sometimes, so then he just
plays with his left arm and he belts it out and he feels the music and I can get on the guitar and
play around with the melody and then he can pick up on the melody and just join in with the drums.
(drumming noises) And grabs it with his left arm, which it took me ages to learn how to do that.
He's just got it, he really has got it. He's unreal. He's my favourite drummer in the world.

BEN KNIGHT: The keyboard player Marcus Stone, who also has Asperger's Syndrome, this is the band
he's always wanted to be in.

MARCUS STONE, KEYBOARD PLAYER: I wanted to join other bands but I kept getting knocked, like,
turned back or stuff like that. But then I tried to form my own group but it didn't go anywhere.

BEN KNIGHT: But this one is, isn't it?

MARCUS STONE: Yeah, yeah, I'm really excited.

BEN KNIGHT: And there's a lot to be excited about. The single has been recorded and mixed, and
they've even shot a video.

(live music by "Rudely Interrupted")

RUDELY INTERRUPTED (SINGING): Don't break my heart. Don't break my heart.

BEN KNIGHT: Now it's off to the pub.

PRESENTER: (to a live audience) Are we ready to rock, ladies and gentlemen? (audience cheering and
whistling) It's not acceptable considering who's about to come on, so are we ready to rock, ladies
and gentlemen. (more cheering)

PRESENTER: 'Rudely Interrupted'!

RORY BURNSIDE: One, two, three, four!

ROHAN BROOKS: When we started rehearsing, because we've really only been rehearsing the song this
year, I just thought OK, we can really do this. These guys are rocking, people need to see this. So
I just went, use the experience that I've had in the business to go, "OK, let's make this
something, something special".

('Rudely Interrupted" performing)

And let's keep it going, too. This is going to be the launch and as far as I'm concerned we're just
starting. We really want to tour. I want to tour, these guys want to tour. We want to get into a
bus like any other rock band and do a national tour. Why can't we? Why can't they?

KERRY O'BRIEN: Ben Knight with that report.