Xavier Rudd

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Xavier Rudd
XavierRudd 1.jpg
Xavier Rudd (2009) live in Geelong, Australia.
Background information
Born (1978-05-29) 29 May 1978 (age 37)
Origin Torquay, Victoria, Australia
Genres Folk, blues, indie folk, folk rock, reggae
Occupation(s) Musician, singer-songwriter
Instruments Vocals, guitar, harmonica, yidaki, banjo, lap steel guitar, percusion
Years active 2000–present
Labels Universal Music Australia
SaltX/Universal/Fontana Records (US/Canada)
Website xavierrudd.com
Notable instruments
Weissenborn slide guitars,

Xavier Rudd (born 29 May 1978) is an Australian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is well known on the music festival circuit in Australia, North America and throughout Europe. His fan base is particularly strong in Australia and in Canada, where he has recorded several albums and performed live shows.


Personal life and inspiration[edit]

Xavier Rudd grew up in Jan Juc,[1] near Torquay, Victoria.[2] He attended St Joseph's College, Geelong.[3] His maternal grandfather was Dutch, born in Tilburg, a town in the Netherlands, before migrating to Australia.[4] One of his grandmothers was from an Irish potato-growing family and grew up in Colac, Victoria.[5] His father was born with Aboriginal, Irish and Scottish heritage,[2][6] and Rudd has Wurundjeri background,[7] one of his great grandmothers was an Aboriginal Australian, and her child (Rudd's paternal grandmother) was taken away from her.[8]

Rudd showed a keen interest in music growing up.[9] While primary school-aged, Rudd used his mother's vacuum cleaner as a makeshift didgeridoo and he began playing his brother's guitar.[10] His brother can still play guitar, but went on to become an accountant in Orlando, Florida.[11]

Before his solo career he began playing music as part of the band 'Xavier and the Hum'. He drew inspiration from artists such as Leo Kottke, Ben Harper, Natalie Merchant and multi-instrumentalist David Lindley, as well as music from diverse sources, such as Hawaiian and Native American music.[12][13] His music first took him overseas when he traveled to Whistler, British Columbia—Rudd was in a band and would play each night after a day of snowboarding.[14]

Rudd met Marci Lutken, an artist from Canada, when she was backpacking in Fitzroy in 1999.[10] The two married soon after, and had two sons, Joaquin and Finojet.[15] Rudd obtained Canadian dual citizenship.[16] Black Water the first track on Rudd's 2008 album Dark Shades of Blue is named after one of Lutken-Rudd's paintings.[10] Lutken-Rudd ended her and Rudd's relationship in 2009,[17][18][19] and the pair listed their off-grid, solar powered home in Jan Juc for sale.[20]

Rudd was in Canada when the September 11 attacks happened.[15] Rudd felt "spun out" watching the American media coverage, including graphic imagery of the destruction of the World Trade Center. Rudd wrote the song The 12th of September about the day after the attacks. In 2006, discussing the song, Rudd said:

That's what the song's about, the world waiting. All of a sudden there was an attack and there was these people who were equally as toxic that were going to retaliate. No one could really do anything about it. It's about the next day and that's why I called it the 12th of September.[15]

View of Harris Ranch—the beef farm that inspired Rudd to change his diet and become a vegetarian

Rudd became a vegetarian after passing Harris Ranch,[21] California's largest factory farm, during a United States tour.[22][23] Rudd described in an interview with PETA how the experience made him change his diet, saying:

[The animals] stood crammed together on this piece of land. They could hardly move as the area was too small for all those animals. Plus, they'd already eaten or trampled down the grass and all the feces were just left there. They were standing in their own waste and—what I found worse—even had to eat it because the workers didn't offer them anything else. I asked the driver about it and he said, "Well, that's California's biggest beef producer." I could still smell it after we had driven for another 30 kilometers. That was when I knew it was the right choice to go vegetarian.

Rudd was nominated for PETA's annual "World's Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity" award in 2007.[24] In 2008, PETA named him sexiest Australian male vegetarian.[25]

In 2007, Rudd partnered with Clif Bar's GreenNotes program to create the "Better People Campaign".[26] The campaign was about expressing gratitude to the people in the world taking steps to make positive change.[27]

In 2011, Rudd underwent emergency back surgery,[28] to repair three herniated disks, bone spurs and nerve damage.[29] Rudd wrote the track Comfortable In My Skin, on his 2012 album Spirit Bird, when he was suffering from major nerve pain before his surgery.[30]

As at June 2015, Rudd was building a house near Byron Bay, which will include a music studio.[31]

Rudd likes to spend time in the Australian bush often, and champions the traditional Aboriginal way of life.[32][33] Rudd has taken part in several Aboriginal ceremonies.[34] His album Spirit Bird sampled 30 species of Australian birds.[35]

Rudd is outspoken against racism.[36] The song Shame, by Xavier Rudd and the United Nations, released on the album Nanna in 2015, was inspired by conversations about racism surrounding AFL player Adam Goodes.[37][38][39] Over some years, and particularly in 2015, Goodes had been repeatedly and loudly booed by opposition fans at most matches, garnering extensive media commentary. Many commentators considered the booing to be unacceptable and motivated by racism.[40][41][42] Rudd had previously declared his support for Goodes addressing the AFL Players' Association 2014 Season Launch.[43]

Rudd is a keen surfer, and says at times surfing inspires his music.[44][45]


In February 2009, Rudd performed at a public rally in opposition to residential development in Torquay.[46]

Rudd received the 'Rock the Boat Award' in 2009 for his support of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.[47] Rudd is friends with Canadian environmentalist Paul Watson, who founded Sea Shepherd.[48] In January 2010, Rudd was one of the last passengers aboard Sea Shepherd ship Ady Gil, days before it sunk after a collision with the MV Shōnan Maru 2 Japanese whaling security vessel in early 2010.[49]

In 2012, Rudd was outspoken against Colin Barnett's plan to open up the Kimberley to mining operations.[48] He joined the Save the Kimberley movement to save James Price Point.[50][51]

In 2014, Rudd performed at the Bentley anti-gas blockade campsite,[52] in support of the Lock the Gate Alliance. He had previously travelled to the Doubtful Creek coal-seam gas test drilling site in February 2013 to voice his concerns about the gas drilling, saying "our government is hopeless ruthless and toxic in terms of protecting our land."[53] The protestor's actions at the Bentley Blockade, where they blocked the delivery of oil and gas drilling equipment for weeks, led the New South Wales Government to suspend Metgasco’s drilling license.[54][55]


Xavier Rudd.jpg

Rudd performs as a one-man band, surrounded by instruments in a complicated array. Typically, he has three didgeridoos placed in front of him on a stand, a guitar on his lap, a stompbox by his habitually bare feet, and an assortment of drums, harmonicas & bells near at hand, or near at foot as the case may be. Several of Rudd's songs incorporate socially conscious themes, such as spirituality, humanity, environmentalism and the rights of Aboriginal peoples. His songs include stories of the mistreatment of the indigenous people of his homeland.[9] Rudd has included both Australian and Canadian Aboriginal vocals in some of his songs. He plays the didgeridoo in many of his songs.

Live performances[edit]

Rudd has become a known name at music festivals worldwide including the Bonnaroo Music Festival, the High Sierra (2004 & 2007) and Wakarusa (2005), moe.down (2003), Summer Sonic, Lowlands, Rock Werchter among others. As his popularity continued to grow, he received many opportunities to perform on tour with artists including Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, Ben Harper, Good Old War, G. Love & Special Sauce, and Rodrigo y Gabriela.[56]

Instruments Rudd plays[edit]


Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Chart positions
(sales threshold)
2002 To Let -
  • AUS: Gold
2004 Solace 13
2005 Good Spirit 16 56
  • AUS: Gold
2005 Food in the Belly 16 56
  • AUS: Platinum
2007 White Moth 6
2008 Dark Shades of Blue 5
2010 Koonyum Sun (with Izintaba) 6
2012 Spirit Bird 2
  • AUS: Gold
2015 Nanna (with The United Nations) 8

Live albums[edit]


  1. ^ Oksenhorn, Stewart (15 January 2008). "For Xavier Rudd, music is all about making connections". The Aspen Times. 
  2. ^ a b Constantin, Pierre (29 July 2015). "Xavier Rudd: keeping the aboriginal spirit alive". cafébabel. Archived from the original on 11 August 2015. 
  3. ^ "Xavier Rudd & The United Nations unite a musical movement with debut album Nanna". Geelong Advertiser (News Corp). 16 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Xavier set to give Moncrieff good vibes". Bundaberg News Mail (APN Australian Regional Media). 8 July 2015. Archived from the original on 28 August 2015. 
  5. ^ "Xavier Rudd's new album Nanna a tribute to grandmothers". 28 March 2015. Archived from the original on 2 August 2015. 
  6. ^ "Xavier Rudd interview (part 1)" on YouTube
  7. ^ "Xavier Rudd". Faster Louder. 25 August 2008. Archived from the original on 30 August 2015. 
  8. ^ Serukas, John (August 2015). "The Interview: Xavier Rudd". University of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 30 August 2015. 
  9. ^ a b "Xavier Rudd’s Biography – Free listening, videos, concerts, stats and pictures at". Last.fm. 2013-11-26. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  10. ^ a b c Murfett, Andrew (22 August 2008). "Feelings of blue". Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 26 September 2008. 
  11. ^ Edwards, Amy (3 September 2010). "Xavier Rudd enjoying brotherly love in US". Newcastle Herald. Archived from the original on 30 August 2015. 
  12. ^ "Xavier Rudd Biography". Sortmusic.com. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  13. ^ Harrison, Tom (1 June 2006). "Rudd found doing what he loves". The Province. Retrieved 2007-01-03. 
  14. ^ "Xavier Rudd talks travel, inspiration and what makes a 'real' journey". Geckos Adventures. Archived from the original on 16 June 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c Gottehrer, Zoe (3 April 2006). "Incendiary interview Xavier Rudd". Incendiary Magazine. Archived from the original on 30 August 2015. 
  16. ^ Guests & Specials: Xavier Rudd, Australian Broadcasting Commission, 4 September 2010, archived from the original on 18 September 2012 
  17. ^ Wildsmith, Steve (11 May 2011). "Singer-songwriter Xavier Rudd goes back to his roots on newest music". The Daily Times (Maryville, Texas). 
  18. ^ Cuthbertson, Ian (22 April 2010). "Roots of a psychic revival". The Australian (News Corp). 
  19. ^ Bridges, Alicia (16 April 2010). "Rudd bounces back in style". The West Australian. Archived from the original on 30 August 2015. 
  20. ^ Xavier's eco retreat, Off Grid, 2 July 2009, archived from the original on 30 August 2015 
  21. ^ Rocker Xavier Rudd Gets Real, PETA Asia-Pacific, archived from the original on 13 May 2008 
  22. ^ "Abbie Cornish and Xavier Rudd our sexiest vegetarians". News.com.au. 18 June 2008. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. 
  23. ^ "Xavier Rudd interview". Incendiary Magazine. 28 March 2006. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  24. ^ World's Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrities, PETA, archived from the original on 29 June 2007, retrieved 29 June 2007 
  25. ^ Metlikovec, Jane (18 June 2008). "Abbie Cornish, Xavier Rudd voted hottest vegetarians". Herald Sun (News Corp). 
  26. ^ "Aussie musician Xavier Rudd chats about coming to America and greening his tour". Grist. 16 February 2008. Archived from the original on 12 May 2012. 
  27. ^ Better People, Clif Bar & Co., 2007, archived from the original on 2 June 2007 
  28. ^ Newstead, Al (16 June 2012). "Xavier Rudd". Tone Deaf. Archived from the original on 30 August 2015. 
  29. ^ Zanotti, Marc (8 June 2012). "Xavier Rudd – Soothing Messages of Urgency". Archived from the original on 19 November 2012. 
  30. ^ Schlansky, Evan (14 May 2012). "Song Premiere: Xavier Rudd, "Comfortable In My Skin"". American Songwriter. Archived from the original on 3 December 2014. 
  31. ^ Eadie, Chloerissa (17 June 2015). "In conversation with Aussie surf roots legend Xavier Rudd". Bunbury Mail. 
  32. ^ "Rudd relation? Hell no!". Sunshine Coast Daily (APN Australian Regional Media). 4 December 2007. Archived from the original on 10 October 2014. 
  33. ^ Drever, Andrew (27 September 2013). "Rudd flies under Australia's radar". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Archived from the original on 28 August 2015. 
  34. ^ "Xavier Rudd: The Highs and Lows of Life in Music". Martyr Magazine. 21 May 2010. 
  35. ^ "Xavier Rudd's stoked for home tour". Busselton Dunsborough Times. 11 September 2012. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015. 
  36. ^ Vangopoulos, Katina (6 August 2015). "Xavier Rudd and the United Nations bringing the world together at the Darwin Festival". NT News. Archived from the original on 10 August 2015. 
  37. ^ McGrane, Danielle (5 August 2015). "Songs address Adam Goodes' booing saga". MSN. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. 
  38. ^ Sieger, Sandi (5 August 2015). "Xavier Rudd Unveils New Song ‘Shame’, Calls For End To All Racism". Onya Magazine. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. 
  39. ^ "Xavier Rudd releases new anti-racism song". The Music. 6 August 2015. Archived from the original on 18 August 2015. 
  40. ^ "Adam Goodes' leave from AFL this weekend should fuel shame: Bartlett". SBS. 31 July 2015. 
  41. ^ Niall, Jake (31 May 2015). "Adam Goodes debate: For too many, it's a case of 'don't think, boo'". The Age. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. 
  42. ^ Rolfe, Peter (31 July 2015). "Anyone who boos should be evicted, Aboriginal elders say". Herald Sun (News Corp). 
  43. ^ McInerney, Sam (24 March 2014), Xavier Rudd steals the show, AFL Players Association, archived from the original on 24 March 2015 
  44. ^ Hyndman, Nancy (20 September 2002). "Xavier Rudd says Whistler inspired new didge song". Pique. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015. 
  45. ^ Burron, Susan. "Xavier Rudd at home away from home". Coastal BC. Archived from the original on 30 March 2015. 
  46. ^ Dowling, Jason (21 February 2009). "Surf Coast proposal provokes wave of protest". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Archived from the original on 11 September 2015. 
  47. ^ Chellingworth, Suzanne (3 July 2012). "Saviour Rudd". Nextmedia. Archived from the original on 30 August 2015. 
  48. ^ a b "I feel like I’m ready to roar, an interview with Xavier Rudd". Circles on the Water. 2012. Archived from the original on 30 August 2015. 
  49. ^ Hendicott, James (18 January 2010). "Xavier Rudd interview". State Magazine. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015. 
  50. ^ Inman, Michael (9 August 2012). "Xavier Rudd: The spirit of the land". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Archived from the original on 30 August 2015. 
  51. ^ "Reef on Rudd's mind". The Whitsunday Times. 15 August 2015. Archived from the original on 6 September 2015. 
  52. ^ "Xavier Rudd latest support act for Bentley protesters". The Northern Star. 29 April 2014. 
  53. ^ Hargraves, Melissa (19 February 2013). "Huge turnout for CSG-free picnic concert" (PDF). The Byron Shire Echo. p. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 September 2015. 
  54. ^ Travers, Andrew (12 June 2014). "Xavier Rudd (and Friends) to play Mammoth Festival". The Aspen Times. 
  55. ^ Validakis, Vicky (15 May 2014). "Metgasco’s drilling permit suspended, referred to ICAC". Australian Mining. Archived from the original on 8 June 2014. 
  56. ^ "Xavier Rudd - Biography". Billboard.com. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  57. ^ a b "Xavier Rudd - Music Charts". Acharts.us. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  58. ^ "ARIA Charts - Accreditations - 2005 Albums". Aria.com.au. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  59. ^ "ARIA: 2007 Albums". Aria.com.au. 2007-12-31. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 

External links[edit]