WINSTON Surfshirt frontman Brett Ramson has witnessed plenty of crazy behaviour at music festivals, but an incident at Newcastle’s This That in November takes the cake.
One young man attempted to climb over the Wickham Park festival fence just a mere 48 hours after having anterior cruciate ligament surgery on his knee. Not surprisingly the stunt ended in the man ripping his freshly-repaired ACL.
“He’d literally had surgery two days before and thought it would be a good idea to jump the fence with crutches and his leg in a brace,” Ramson said. “He had to stop and the ambulance had to come and get him.”
Ramson is hoping for a more celebratory scene when his Sydney-based funk, soul and hip-hop fusion band return to the Hunter for Groovin The Moo. The past year has seen Winston Surfshirt’s stock exponentially rise.
Their album Sponge Cake received rave reviews, the tracks Be About You, Same Same and Ali D have became festival favourites and influential Apple DJ Zane Lowe and megastar Elton John have sung their praises.
The group have also been forced to book a larger venue in London after their May 30 gig sold out two months in advance.
Then last month Winston Surfshirt joined Australian acts AC/DC, Tame Impala, Meg Mac and Peking Duk by signing a global publishing deal with BMG.
“Hopefully they’ll get us in sync and push us into studios with strange people,” Ramson said. “I just said, ‘let me work with Kylie Minogue and I’ll die a happy man’.”
On the surface, Winston Surfshirt - which also doubles as the Australian-born, English-raised Ramson’s stage name - appears a recent development.
However, Ramson first began performing solo as Winston Surfshirt eight years ago around Manly. The name was inspired by Beatles legend John Lennon’s middle name, Winston.
Slowly Ramson was joined by drummer Jack Hambling (Bustlip), trombone player Benn Champman (The Bone), bassist Andy Cleland (Bik Julio), keyboardist Harry Mills (Dool) and guitarist Lachlan McAllister (Mi-K) to incorporate elements of West Coast hip-hop, funk, soul and surf-rock.
Winston Surfshirt’s fourth independent EP Sticky Date was released in 2015, but after signing with record label Sweat It Out before Sponge Cake’s delivery, the band chose to erase their old material from streaming sites.
The older material can still be found online, and Ramson said it may be re-released in the future.
“It was a conscience effort to take it down and I think it helped our cause really only having a few bits to be compared to,” Ramson said.
Winston Surfshirt play Groovin’ The Moo at the Maitland Showground on April 28.