Brighton MA, one of two indie band on Red Bull Rock the Route Brighton MA

Brighton MA is a five-piece rock band from Chicago. Named for lead singer/songwriter Matt Kerstein's hometown, Brighton MA has existed in various forms since 2006. In the past year, founding members Kerstein, Sam Koentopp, and Jim Tuerk have been joined by Joe Darnaby and Jon Ozaksut to develop their most cohesive sound to date.

BMA has built a reputation throughout the Midwest on a series of blistering live performances and a catalog of undeniably tuneful and well-crafted songs, heard on such prime-time television shows as Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, and Castle. The diversity of songs has led them to share the stage with a number of noteworthy and disparate-sounding performers, from Old 97s, Elvis Perkins, and Mason Jennings, to Man Man, The Essex Green, and Appleseed Cast, to name a few.

With an ever-expanding catalog and a quickly-building fanbase, Brighton MA is a band on the rise and poised to break through. BMA is currently working on their as-yet untitled third LP, a follow-up to Amateur Lovers [2008] and their self-titled debut EP [2007]. 

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Matthew Kerstein (Lead Singer) has been an underground favorite in the Midwest for the better part of the last decade. Having moved to Chicago from Boston in the late ‘90s, Kerstein's career began in college as he co-founded the indie group Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. His unique voice and songwriting immediately cemented him in the Chicago music scene. After leaving the Choir in 2005, he continued forward with a new band he named Brighton, MA as an homage to his birthplace and youth.

Kerstein's song craft takes cues from early folk heroes as much as from latter-day rock bands, and has earned him the stage with acts like The Walkmen, Spoon, Arcade Fire, Mason Jennings, Elvis Perkins, and Old 97's. As a lyricist, his words engage even the most cynical of critics. His imaginative phrasing and tuneful melodies have helped paint backdrops for television shows such as Gossip Girl, Ghost Whisperer, and Castle, garnering fans from both coasts and in between.

Jim Tuerk (Guitar) A founding member of the indie rock band Brighton MA, Tuerk has contributed his playing as well as songwriting, arranging, and production to each of the BMA releases and to albums by other Chicago bands. He earned his degree in Music Business from DePaul University and manages an internationally distributed jazz record company. He also dabbles in art and web design, has an insatiable want for vinyl LPs, and is currently attempting to perfect his chili recipe.

Jon Ozaksut (Bass) received his first bass on his 13th birthday. A few years later, he learned how to play it, cutting his teeth on the modern rock riffs a 15 year old loves. In the convening years, his influences broadened immeasurably, ranging from Paul McCartney and James Jamerson to prog and old NES games. He's also garnered a wide range of experience, playing in several bands and playing gigs ranging from children's TV shows to outdoor hippie festivals.

Being on stage is a defining experience for Jon, as evidenced by his ever-present dancing and interaction with other members. When he's not playing his beloved Ric, you can find him drinking microbrews, reading about politics and listening to any music he can get his hands on. His secret to success? "Sass in the hips."

Joe Darnaby is a guitarist, audio engineer, and production manager. Starting guitar at age 10 with his father's encouragement, he spent his teenage years developing his skills in various types of rock bands. A Chicago native, Joe spent his college years at DePaul University, earning a degree in Sound Recording Technology. His professional career has split between performing & recording guitar for a number of artists, location audio recording, and production managing both a modern classical ensemble and a rock club. He joined Brighton MA in the fall of 2008.

Sam Koentopp, a Chicago native, is the rhythmic heart of Brighton MA. He has been playing the drums and percussion for 18 years, including 4 years earning a Bachelors of Music from Rutgers University, where he focused exclusively on jazz performance and composition. The very first day Sam returned to Chicago in 2002, he joined the band The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, where he met Brighton MA lead singer, Matt Kerstein. An immediate kinship was was formed and the 2 have been collaborating ever since.

Besides playing some crazy fierce drums, Sam is obsessed with food and cooking and grows a rather substantial vegetable garden (Jim's attempts to best his chili recipe will only lead to failure and dirty dishes). Sam is happily married and is expecting his first child this November.





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