Deli Magazine




On The Beat with John Bersuch


John Bersuch is undoubtedly one of the most eclectically creative individuals in Kansas City. He’s a musician, an artist, a sculptor, a sound engineer, an architect of haunted houses. He was one of the men behind Bacon Shoe, the experimental hip-hop “nerdcore” trio that crossed boundaries and conventional schools of thought. He’s also a drummer who has performed in a variety of local bands. Since he and his band Thee Water MoccaSins will be performing a special New Year’s Eve show, we catch up with him and his busy life.

The Deli: How did the drums find you?
John Bersuch: My dad brought home a makeshift drum kit for me when I was about 12. I never took drum lessons as a kid, but eventually I went from being completely horrible to kind of all right. I would jam out with friends regularly, and one of my adult neighbors had a blues rock band that I would sit in with when their drummer couldn't make it.
The Deli: What other instruments did you dabble in?
JB: I took piano lessons and guitar lessons. I also recorded weird rap songs and skits on a little 4-track as well.
The Deli: What type of kit(s) do you use?
JB: Well I'm currently buying a C&C kit from Jake Cardwell piece by piece. I also have a small Gretsch Jazz kit, a 5-piece Pearl Export kit, a Sonor kit and a toy drumset that I enjoy using for certain songs/projects. 
The Deli: Biggest influences?
JB: My earliest influences were The Dead Milkmen, N.W.A., Metallica, Molly McGuire, Ween, Craw, Beck, and too many more.
The Deli: Who are your favorite KC/Lawrence drummers?
JB: Well, Jason Gerken is on the top of my list for sure. Others include Brian Steever, Mike Myers, Chris Metcalf, Arnold Young, Kent Burnham, Ian Ballard, Chris Fuggitt, Kriss Ward, Jake Cardwell, and Ryan Shank. I know I'm leaving out a few important ones, but I can't name all of them I suppose. 
The Deli: What bands have you performed in as a drummer?
JB: Minds Under Cover, Trench, Big Jeter, Trouble Junction, Forrest Whitlow, Olympic Size, Import/Export, (of) tree, Thee Water Moccasins.
The Deli: You create so many different moods with the sounds you create. What is your true musical passion?
JB: My main passion is recording songs. Starting with drums, keys, bass, or just a little duckbill tapping on a wind chime, and then building on it until the song is complete. I enjoy hearing a song back and know I played all the parts and did the vocals. That is part of the reason it's hard for me to leave the studio. It's a never-ending addiction. My newest solo album is very, very close to being finished.
The Deli: Playing music is not the only thing you do. You turn your home into a haunted house each year. You have a recording studio. You probably do a bunch of other stuff I have no idea about. So what keeps you busy when you're not playing?
JB: When I'm not playing, I like to create in other ways. It really doesn't matter what I'm making. Whatever inspires me at the moment. I enjoy oil painting, circuit bending, large wooden sculptures, etc., etc. I'm totally into hanging stuff from the ceiling now. There is gonna be a lot more of that coming up in the near future. I also take photos and make music videos. Sometimes I like to drink some whiskey. :) 
The Deli: I know you’ve collaborated with a ton of local musicians, but are there any in particular you really enjoy working with?
JB: A few of my more recent favorite people to collaborate with include: Andrew Ashby, John Ferguson, Jeremy Cerda, Kian Byrne, Sterling Holman, Chris Fuggitt, Ian Ballard, and Jeffy Williams. I'd like to do more collaborating with Mac Lethal. He freestyled on a beat I made awhile ago and it'd be fun to do some more of that. Also, I'd like to work with Brandon Draper from Organic Proof. I'd like to hear what kind of drumming he'd pull out with some of my crazy looping. I run all of my instruments into a Kaoss pad and then into a Line 6 delay pedal. It allows me to create really fast loops with the bass guitar that would be otherwise physically impossible to play.
The Deli: What are you looking forward to most about the NYE show?
JB: I'm looking forward to seeing Billy Smith again. Each time is a treat. Also, I'm going to do hundreds of jello shots (not really). This show is going to be a blast!! Playing with Thee Water MoccaSins is always fun. Those guys are pros and I'm lucky to be a part of it.
Bersuch will be playing with Thee Water MoccaSins on New Year’s Eve—Monday, December 31—at recordBar. They’ll be joined by The Golden Republic and a very special guest. Champagne toast and party favors will be included. Tickets are $12 and available at this link. Bersuch will also be doing another show with Bacon Shoe in mid-January. Stay tuned for details.

--Michelle Bacon 

Michelle is editor-in-chief of The Deli - Kansas City. She plays with Deco AutoDrew Black and Dirty Electric, and Dolls on Fire. She's got blisters on her fingers.

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John Bersuch

Photo by Todd Zimmer

Thee Water MoccaSins
 Photo by Todd Zimmer
Bacon Shoe
Photo by Todd Zimmer
Thee Water MoccaSins - From The Rivers of Missouri and The Banks of Fear