Punk & politics

Night Witch is the opening act at The Bark on September 30th.
Photo Submitted by Nallah Brown

During World War Two, there was an all-women Aviation group who flew high in the sky and dropped bombs on Nazis by night. Nicknamed by the Germans, they were called “Nachthexen” (Night Witches in English). Some odd years later, a local Tallahassee punk band has adopted the name as they fight similar battles like sexual harassment and politics like the pilots did, but through the lyrical content in their music. 

Rosie Richeson is one of the founding members of Night Witch, which was formed in 2013 with three of her other friends. After performing vocals for a friend’s band called “Dick kicker”, she felt compelled to start up her own band. The current members include Rosie Richeson, Nick Derella, Tyler Bisson, and John Saullo. 

Her love for punk music started years prior though. At the age of 14, her big sister told her about a band called “The Donna’s”, which was the first time she ever saw a woman playing drums. 

“Then my mom bought me a $100 starter kit drum set. . . My sister was 17 at the time playing acoustic solo stuff, so I wrote drum parts to her songs and showed her. She was super encouraging,” said Richeson. 

Rosie lives the rock star life at night and works within the community by day. As the North Florida Regional Organizer for Planned Parenthood (PPH), she makes time to enjoy her hobby of being in a band while balancing her work with PPH. 

“It’s necessary for my mental health to be creating music. There were times back in the day when my job was frustrating, and screaming after work felt so good,” said Richeson. 

Tyler Bisson, who is the drummer of the band, takes a similar release while performing their music. “I can play a set on a good day or a bad day and take it wherever I want. It will help me either be exuberant and express joy or I can really be upset and just bash it out,” said Bisson.

Inspired by a former band called “PUNCH”, Richeson found refuge in her music by having a creative platform to discuss some personal trauma’s and political problems that she’s come to face with.

Nick Derella, the bassist of the band has written half of the songs for the band. 

After taking European history and international relations classes in High School, Nick Derella was further drawn into the genre of Punk music. “I started learning about the United States role in the world and how shitty we’ve been for such a long time,” said Derella

When asked what people should be aware of before attending a Night Witch show, they explained the importance of coming with a pair of earplugs, and an open mind.

Musician, Quinn Riley wears a pair of earbuds at Night Witch’s performance to avoid getting tinnitus, a condition that causes ringing in the ears after years of exposure to loud music within the Punk scene.
Photo Submitted by Nallah Brown

John Saullo, the guitarist of the band believes that anti-capitalist politics are super important.

“I think as human beings we have to kind of evolve past that and start caring about people, instead of things,” said Saullo. 

Some of the Tallahassee PPH longest standing volunteers are people who go to Punk shows. Having a musical presence within Planned Parenthood has helped the band engage the community to become more active. 

One of the most notable events they’ve had the opportunity to perform at is called “Pink Out Night”. Which entails a pink-out party, stations to take action within the community, and a zeen  (an independently published magazine) created by PPH volunteers that cover a multitude of topics like reproductive rights and more. 

“When you write political songs and are explicit about the messages you want to convey, I think it’s important to talk about taking action too. Talk about it and then do something about,” said Richeson. 

Tyler Bisson encourages their audience to come and talk with them about the topics they cover on stage. 

“We want to be helpful to those in our community who have needs. We love to share experiences and talk about why we do what we do,” said Bisson

Night Witch kicks off their tour on October 12th in Valdosta, Georgia and visiting the following cities afterwards: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Chicago, Springfield, Chattanooga, and Pensacola. You can follow them by the @ name “NightWitchFL” across all social media platforms.