Jersey Beat Music Fanzine

Interview and photos by James Damion

Night Birds just sort of exploded onto the New Jersey punk scene a decade ago. Seriously, no one saw them coming. Most people thought bassist Joe Keller, of the late, great Ergs, had hung it up. Brian Gorsegner, basically known as the drummer in For Science (and a voracious record collector,) surprised us all by grabbing the mic. Keller brought along Mike Hunchback from the Ergs’ constant touring partners and close friends, Hunchback. Guitarist P.J. Russo and drummer Darick Slater completed the lineup.

From the start, Night Birds revealed that they crushed it live. Crushed it. They’ve released a bunch of very good records on some pretty big punk labels, but if you haven’t seen this band live, you don’t know Night Birds.

Mike left for a while to take care of some other stuff, but he’s back now. Roll Credits came out in 2018, the group’s fifth album and one of their best. In addition, Gorsegner started a booking agency called Wired Booking to help friends tour. Now, it’s been over a decade since they started this, and Night Birds is still at the top of their game. That doesn’t happen a lot. James Damion talked to Brian Gorsegner to figure out what the hell is going on here. – Jim Testa

Q: “Roll Credits” is a great record, one that appeared on many “Best of 2018” lists. However, the record’s title had a lot of people scratching their heads, wondering if this was the last we’d be hearing from the band. Even the record’s cover art suggests that this might be a collection of old singles from the band’s heyday. Considering the term “Roll Credits” has always been associated with the closing of a movie or production, who would question our confusion? What does the tile mean to you and the band?

Brian: Making records is something that has always taken us very long chunks of time, and that kind of time is becoming fewer and farther between what with Joe and his wife having twins. My daughter is five now, and by adding a fifth member, it only makes it harder to coordinate things. I think every time we do a new record, we have some sort of feeling like it will be our last, as we don't plan on having recorded output if it's not up to par with where we think it should be. And a lot of what goes into making that is the time allowing it to happen. As to whether or not this will be our last, only time will tell.

Q: I mentioned the favorable reaction to the record. Is there a particular song or songs you or someone in the band particularly gets hyped about?

Brian: “My Dad Is The BTK” is my favorite, it reminds me of a song that might have been on the Ramones’ Mondo Bizzarro, which was the first punk album I owned. (Editor’s Note: Hearing this make your editor feel very, very old.)

Q: I have a few, including “My Dad Is The BTK”. For sanity’s sake, what is the BTK?

Brian: “Bind Torture Kill” was a serial killer from the Midwest who was arrested, but we think they got the wrong guy and it was actually PJ's dad.

Mike Hunchback in action

Q: After a few years of absence, you welcomed Mike back into the family. What was his original reason for leaving and what brought him back?

Brian: When he first left the band, we were getting increasingly busier and touring more and he was part of a crew of people who opened a record shop in Brooklyn and he was committed to being there. There were no hard feelings and we remained friends. Five years later, or however long it was, Mike actually moved near where Joe and I live and we started hanging out a bit and it just happened really organically. We were working on the new record and asked for his input and it sort of just went from there. First he was helping us write a couple parts, then he was playing on it, then he was going to do a couple shows, and now he is back in the band full-time. We are all really stoked about it.

Q: I'd imagine his frenetic energy was missed? How do you feel his presence adds to the band?

Brian: I love it. I think he's a really unique player and has a ton of character. It adds a lot.

Q: How would you describe your friendship/relationship with Mike, Joe, Darick and PJ? Does everyone have input and play a part in writing the songs?

Brian: They are my best friends. I love hanging out with those guys. Generally, with our songwriting, either Joe, Mike, or myself will bring a large chunk, if not a whole song to the table, and then everyone will have their input and help punch it up to make it the best it can be.

Q: You toured to support the record and even made it out to Seattle. I was hoping to catch your show at the Vera Project, which is less than a block away from where I was initially stationed in Seattle. I wanted to get your impressions on taking the band on the road and due to its size and intimacy, The Vera Project.

Brian: The Vera Project is a pretty awesome place. I was given a tour of the whole facility. Such a robust art community in Seattle and it's a really cool place for folks to learn how to do sound engineering and things of that nature. I feel fortunate to get to play a place like that rather than some stuffy club.

Q: What are some of your observations of show goers in Europe versus those in the United States? Do you notice any difference in the ways show goers engage or react?

Brian: Not really, but generally speaking I think when a band from another country comes over folks tend to be max-capacity excited, as opposed to playing your own country where there are five shows a week and people really need to pick and choose or they will go broke. But with that said, people have been really enthusiastic about our touring of late anyway, so it's all cool to me.

Q: How would you compare playing small venues as opposed to larger ones? Does it have any effect on your performance or the way you connect with a crowd?

Brian: Yeah I much prefer playing a small intimate venue, generally speaking. Some of my favorite shows we've ever done have been on larger stages, so it's not so black-and-white, but the small rowdy sweaty basement show will never not be bad ass.

Q: Speaking of touring. What led you to start Wired Booking and how do you plan on helping bands?

Brian: I've always booked my own bands for the past 20 years but the band Pears was interested in me helping with their booking duties and it sort of took off from there. When booking for other bands, I have the perspective of going out there and doing it myself so I think that brings a lot to the table. I also really enjoy strategizing and game planning with bands as to the best plan of attack to conquer the world.

Q: Off the top of your head, what do you feel are the biggest mistakes bands make when booking their tour? Some of the biggest misconceptions?

Brian: I really just think it's a matter of having your expectations in check, and also the priorities for why you were out there doing it in the first place.

Q: Before I let you go, I’m hoping that you’ll indulge me in revealing some of your record/memorabilia collecting habits. Having seen some of your posts on social media, I felt I’d be remiss in not asking. What are some of your methods of acquiring? Are you fixated on original pressings? Color vinyl? What are some of your most treasured records and what is the Holy Grail of what you someday hope to acquire?

Brian: I do prefer original pressings. My white whale is a copy of the Dicks’ “Hate the Police” single. You just always need to be on the lookout!

The Night Birds discography is available at For tour dates and other information, follow them at

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