The name Brandon Pertzborn was nowhere on my radar before May of last year when he filled in on drums for Suicidal Tendencies at the much talked about Misfits reunion show in front of nearly 20,000 people at Newark’s Prudential Center. Shortly after this I found his personal You Tube page that has a bunch of videos of him absolutely wailing away on the drums covering songs by bands like Slayer, Slipknot, Rush and more. After digging a little deeper I saw he had a pretty good story with gigs with other prominent punk bands and another interesting band in Ho99o9 who are a wild mix of hip-hop, punk rock and God knows what else. We sent these questions over to Brandon in late January of 2019 and he got back to us pretty fast with the following answers. Shout out to resepcted NYHC drummer Glen Lorieo for giving me his positive feedback on Brandon which also led to this interview taking shape. Make sure to check out Brandon's You Tube page when you are done reading this and hit that subscribe button! All photos supplied by Brandon.
IE: Hey Brandon. Can you start off by introducing yourself? How old are you, how long have you been playing the drums and what bands are you in or have you played with?
Brandon: My name is Brandon Pertzborn. I'm 24 years old. I've played drums for 10 years and have played with bands such as Black Flag, Doyle (guitarist from Misfits), Suicidal Tendencies, and Ho99o9 (Horror).
IE: You are originally from Grapevine, Texas... just outside of Dallas. What was life like for you growing up and how did you initially find out about heavier music like punk, hardcore and metal?
Brandon: Before I played drums, I was very into skateboarding and hockey. It's what I did every day until I started to get serious about drumming. Once I got serious, these other interests subsided and I started to play drums as much as possible… every day. I started to play in bands around town, played at church, taught drum lessons… I did anything I could to be as involved as possible and to meet other musicians.
My first exposure to heavy music that I can remember was from the video game, Rock Band. It's just like Guitar Hero, except you can play drums also. The game has a song from The Devil Wears Prada, and it was the first time I heard screaming with such aggression and I was in love immediately. It completely changed my life.
IE: What was the transition like from the video game to actually playing the drums?
Brandon: Initially, I started playing drums because when I entered 6th grade at school, everyone was either choosing athletics, or school band. I didn't want to do athletics because I was already playing hockey and the school didn't offer hockey. I also didn't want to be part of the band because marching band drums seemed boring to me and I didn't want to learn anything else. I spoke to my friend about it and found out that during "band" at school, he was taking private drum lessons on a real kit. I started taking lessons immediately but didn't like it at first. I hated learning rudiments on the practice pad and nothing came natural to me. I actually quit playing until the game "Rock Band" came out and that got me interesting in learning again. Honestly, I owe any drumming skill I have to that game.
IE: You got a lot of attention in 2018 for playing with Suicidal Tendencies at the New Jersey Misfits reunion show in front of close to 20,000 people. How did that opportunity come about and how was the experience like for you?
Brandon: Ra Diaz (Suicidal's bassist) reached out to me and asked if I was interested in drumming with them for this show, and I said absolutely. It was definitely one of the highlights of my career. I'll never forget that night.
IE: Did you get to rehearse with the band enough leading up to that show? Being a fill in in that situation were there a lot of nerves on your end to not mess anything up? How were you received by the members of ST?
Brandon: We started rehearsing one week before the show and we did three rehearsals. I felt really comfortable and ready for the show because I did so much homework studying their live sets, transitions, and interludes, etc, so I was very prepared even before rehearsals started. I didn't have too many nerves. I was just so excited to kill it with them and take hold of the incredible opportunity. The guys in the band couldn't of been any cooler and more welcoming to me. They made me feel like family immediately. I consider them all great friends.
CLICK BELOW TO WATCH DRUM CAM FOOTAGE OF BRANDON PLAYING "WAR INSIDE MY HEAD" WITH SUICIDAL TENDENCIES AT THEIR NEWARK, NEW JERSEY SHOW IN MAY OF 2018
IE: You have also done touring with Black Flag, another iconic punk band. Can you talk about how you ended up playing with them and what those experiences were like for you?
Brandon: Black Flag was the first band I did a national tour with. This was in 2014 when I was still living in Grapevine, TX. I was playing in local bands and teaching drum lessons. One of the ways I would promote my drum lessons was to post ads on Craigslist with clips of my playing. Greg Ginn of Black Flag came across my ad, called me, and asked if I was interested in auditioning for the band. This was obviously a no brainer for me as I was just waiting for an opportunity to tour the country. I drove down to Austin, TX two days later, met him and auditioned, then went home and continued to send him audio of me drumming to his songs. He emailed me a week after the audition, told me I got the gig and the rest is history. Touring with Black Flag was an experience of a lifetime and it was even more so magnified because it was my first US tour.
BRANDON PLAYING WITH BLACK FLAG IN TEXAS IN 2014
IE: I am not sure of the current status but you have also played with Doyle from the Misfits. What is the current status with you playing with Doyle and what kind of touring did you do with him? Didn’t you also play on one of his studio albums as well?
Brandon: In 2015, I got the call to drum for Doyle three days before my first show with him at The Whisky in Los Angeles. I then joined his band and toured heavily with the band for a couple years. We went absolutely everywhere in the US and also 30 cities in Europe. This time period was some of the best times I've had touring. After that first tour with him, I tracked drums for his second album, “As We Die”. Unfortunately due to scheduling, I haven't been able to tour with Doyle recently, but they are all very close friends and I miss them dearly!
BRANDON PLAYING WITH DOYLE
IE: Ho99o9 (pronounced Horror) is yet another band you are associated with and from what you have told me this is your main gig these days. For those unfamiliar with the band can you describe what Ho99o9 is all about and what makes the band so unique?
Brandon: Ho99o9 is a mix of punk, metal, rock, rap, and everything in between. We've been really busy the last couple years playing shows with artists such as Marilyn Manson, The Prodigy, Avenged Sevenfold, Rob Zombie, festivals in Europe, and a whole bunch of other stuff. It's been a wild ride with this band and I'm loving it.
WATCH HO9909's "STREET POWER" VIDEO FROM 2018 BY CLICKING HERE
IE: You sound like an extremely busy guy. How many months out of the year are you on the road? Where is home these days and what do you like to do to let off some steam or relax when you are not touring?
Brandon: Each year is different with how much time I'm on the road, but I'd say it averages around 5-8 months on the road per year. Home is Los Angeles and when I'm home I still love creating music, making drumming videos, and just hanging out with family/friends and enjoying time at home.
IE: Can you talk some about your You Tube channel and what bands/songs you have covered on it?
Brandon: For the past few years, I've uploaded videos here and there to my YouTube channel, but it was a goal of mine in 2018 to start uploading drum covers on a regular basis. I now have a decent amount of videos on there ranging from all the bands I've played with, as well as videos of myself drumming to Metallica, Slayer, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and much more. There will be many more uploaded as well each month.
IE: What’s the biggest crowd you have ever performed in front of? Where was it?
Brandon: I've played many festivals in Europe with Ho99o9 where you can't see the end of all the people but the biggest show I've played in an actual venue was with Suicidal Tendencies at the Prudential Center Arena in New Jersey opening for the Misfits to 20,000 people.
IE: What’s going through your head right before you take the stage at bigger venues like the New Jersey Misfits show? Nervous? Calm?
Brandon: I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous before the Suicidal/Misfits show, but those nerves are so good to have. They make you really focus and take hold of the situation. I actually love having nerves. Makes it exciting.
IE: Do you have a routine you follow before a show? Certain food? Stretching? Anything like that?
Brandon: Not too much of a routine. I make sure to eat at least two hours before the show and then stretch and warm up on a practice pad.
IE: Favorite all around city you have played in so far and what made it your favorite?
Brandon: I don't think I have an all-time favorite city to play in. I love the variety of touring and visiting so many different places. I love playing the small towns, and also playing big cities. Same goes for venues - I love playing small clubs, but also arenas and festivals. I enjoy all the variety.
IE: What kind of advice would you give to new drummers who may still be finding their way around and having hard times learning to play?
Brandon: Just stay the course. Nothing about drumming came natural to me at all. I just put on headphones, listened to my favorite bands, and drummed to them. I did that every single day, and with time, you'll improve. I promise if I can do it, anyone can! It's also so incredibly important to get out and meet other musicians and people in the industry. It's tempting to just stay in your room and practice all day, but you have to get out and meet other people.
IE: Any last words before we wrap this up? Thank you for your time!
Brandon: If anyone has any questions drumming/music related, never hesitate to reach out to me on social media. I always enjoy helping others out when I can.
WATCH BRANDON COVER "DEATH COMES RIPPING" BY THE MISFITS BY CLICKING BELOW