When it comes to the hardest-working men in punk rock, the Night Birds certainly take the crown. In their three-year existence, these Jersey Shore boys have managed to pull off more than most bands do in decades. We’re talking all shapes of vinyl, overseas tours, TV appearances and merchandise; even sunglasses!
Their sound harkens back to the sun-kissed “beach punk” sound that emanated from the Orange County suburbs of Southern California in the early ’80s with bands like the Adolescents, D.I. and Agent Orange without sounding like a beach buggy retread; quite a feat. They are bombarding Philly over the next few months, playing various shows opening up for the Cro-Mags, the Casualties and those hometown heroes of sludge rock, Pissed Jeans. We caught up with Night Birds vocalist Brian Gorsegner in-between his schedule of Seinfeld reruns and rocketing back and forth down the East Coast with his band. Here’s what he had to say.
Whenever I check the interwebs to see what you guys are up to, you’re always playing a show somewhere on the East Coast. When do you rest?
Great question—for my current status of seven total hours of sleep out of the last 58 hours. We played on a really cool Manhattan cable access show on Wednesday night called The Chris Gethard Show , and then we played last night in the city again with the Spits. It gets rough when my alarm goes off at 6:15 a.m. for work. I’m not exactly a morning person.
Night Birds also managed to pull off two East Coast tours and a tour of Europe last year while still holding down full-time jobs. How do you guys do it?
I work for my old man and he’s always been supportive of my musical endeavors. Joe [Keller, bass] is a freelance engineer, so he is very up-front about the fact that he will need time off to tour. Ryan [McHale, drums] and P.J [Russo, guitar] are both still youngins in their early 20s, so they intentionally got jobs with pretty flexible schedules.
To me, the Night Birds are a part of a certain New Jersey punk lineage that includes bands like Adrenalin O.D. and Detention; that total suburban wise-ass vibe. Why do you think Jersey has had such a lock all these years in that regard when it comes to punk?
New Jersey breeds a unique brand of grumpy, pissed-off, suburban weirdo that I have come to understand, respect and appreciate. I mean, New Jersey celebrates a made-up holiday called “Mischief Night,” where you go out the night before Halloween and throw eggs at people’s houses and hurl toilet paper into the trees on their front lawn. I think that’s the true essence of New Jersey. Why? The world may never know.
Night Birds perform Thurs., March 15, 6pm. $15. With the Casualties, Toxic Holocaust + Combat Crisis. Barbary, 951 Frankford Ave. $15. nightbirds.oknoway.com
PW's Music Issue 2014