At first glance, Australia’s Rudely Interrupted is just a better-than-average power-pop band with a vaguely ’80ish vibe—they’ve got sort of a Cars/Split Enz/Gary Numan thing going on, in mostly a good way (but we’re sorry, those pink pants have gotta go). Not that weird at all, right? The whole vaguely ’80ish thing is pretty trendy right now. So what are they doing on TWBITW?
Well, look a bit closer. Five out of six of Rudely Interrupted’s members are physically and/or intellectually handicapped, some of them severely so. Lead singer Rory Burnside is blind and has Asperger’s syndrome (but also has perfect pitch—one man’s disability is another man’s superpower, you might say); keyboardist Marcus Stone has Asperger’s and is 80% deaf; bassist Sam Beke has Down syndrome; drummer Josh Hogan is autistic and has some physical abnormalities; and percussionist Connie Kirkpatrick, aka “The Human Metronome,” has Down syndrome and is legally blind. The only “able bodied” member of the group is guitarist Rohan Brooks, a music therapist who came up with the idea of forming a band made up of some of his students.
Rudely Interrupted could’ve just been a sort of rock ‘n’ roll Special Olympics, but the tunes are undeniably catchy and there’s a raucous, joyous quality to their live shows (based on the YouTube videos we’ve seen) that a lot of hipster bands could learn from. So OK, their bassist uses a capo to tune all his strings to the main chord of whatever song they’re playing—fine, you got him. But you know what? Dude has freaking Down syndrome. And he’s in a band that has toured the world and played at the United Nations. What have you done lately?
Here’s a video the band just shot as part of an awareness campaign for Scope—not, apparently, the mouthwash, but an Australian disability services non-profit. It’s been nominated for an Inside Film Award, which sounds really cool—although we have to admit we’re not sure what an Inside Film Award is. Awards are given out based on fan ratings, though, so you should go over to their website and rate it a 5. Trust us, it’ll give you a warm fuzzy feeling.