1)Kid Dynamite was a Philadelphia-based melodic hardcore band formed in 1997, consisting of drummer Dave Wagenschutz, guitarist Dan Yemin, and vocalist Jason Shevchuk, as well as original bassist Steve Farrell and eventual replacement Michael “Spider” Cotterman. The band put out two full-lengths before lead singer Jason Shevchuk left the band due to the wear on his voice from touring; the act subsequently disbanded in 2000. They also featured former members of highly influential New Jersey melodic hardcore outfit Lifetime, and future members of a number of acts including None More Black, Armalite, Paint It Black, and The Loved Ones.
The band’s flagship label, Jade Tree Records, also put out a compilation of rare and live material, Cheap Shots, Youth Anthems, in 2003, which also featured a teaser DVD for a forthcoming live DVD that will include footage from the band’s 2003 reunion shows for the Syrentha Savio Endowment charity.
The band played a reunion show in 2005 as a benefit for New York City’s historic CBGBs venue on August 22, 2005. The opening bands were Take My Chances (ex-The Backup Plan), Voice in the Wire, and Grey Area (whose lead singer joined Kid Dynamite for the song “Birthday” which is a cover of a song by Token Entry, the singer from Grey Area’s old band). The band jokingly came up with a new “song” during the soundcheck called “Whoa Dave Can You Hear Me”; in which they tested out their equipment to see if everything was set up properly while Jason Shevchuk screamed “Whoa Dave can you hear me” over and over. The shirts sold at the 2005 reunion show benefitted the Syrentha J. Savio Endowment (SSE).
“Four Years In One Gulp”, a DVD documentary on the band, was released on February 21, 2006. Along with commentary and history of the band, it includes 25 live performances throughout the band’s lifetime.
2) KID DYNAMITE is another one of those ultra mysterious bands whose story is murky at best. It is known that the band emerged in 1975 when two former members (bassist Dicky Thompson and drummer John King) of the STEVE MILLER BAND decided it was time to strike out on their own. Vocalist Val Garcia and guitarist Michael Mallen were later added and Kid Dynamite was born. Opting for a label who would allow the band total control over their direction, the band signed with Alvin Bennett’s Cream Records in late 1975 and began working on their self-titled debut with producer Hal Winn at the helm. “Kid Dynamite” was released in January of 1976, but flagging sales and little label support abruptly killed the band at the conclusion of the year.
*Confusingly, Flightstream Records also released an album by Kid Dynamite that same year. Also entitled “Kid Dynamite”, this 9 song album had a black & white sleeve featuring a design incorporating boxing gloves, and although it duplicated two songs from the other record, these were different versions.*
Very little is known about the members post-split activities, though Michael Mallen is rumoured to be teaching guitar in California.
This elusive gem is one that is often discussed in collector circles, but rarely ever recognized as a musically viable effort. I beg to differ. “Kid Dynamite” is a dynamic exercise in genre splicing which works effectively from start to finish. Blending blues, hard rock, soul and funk, the band shows off their musical chops throughout, with a notably scorching effort from Dicky Thompson in particular. Sounding quite similar to Joey Newman’s hard soul act, BANDIT, the band merges the groove and conviction of classic funk with the forcefulness of 70’s hard rock. The outcome is pretty spectacular and it’s a real travesty that Kid Dynamite were merely a blip on the radar. Though this band is undoubtedly anonymous in all respects, some listeners may recognize the track “Uphill Peace of Mind”, which was sampled and used by Dr. DRE (Nuttin But a G Thang) and ULTRAMAGNETIC MC’s (Feelin’ It) almost twenty years ago.
This one comes highly recommended for fans of soulful hard rock. This tweaked and cleaned vinyl transfer should satisfy ardent lovers of obscure 70’s rock. Dig it…
Review by J. Richter
Edited by CountDruckula on 24 Sep 2012, 22:30
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