Big D and the Kids Table
Big D and The Kids Table performing in San Diego circa 2004
|Origin||Boston, Massachusetts, United States|
|Genres||Ska punk, reggae, dub|
|Labels||Fork in Hand, Asian Man, Household Name, Springman, Bad News, SideOneDummy, Stomp|
|Crown City Rockers, Suburban Legends, Tip the Van|
Big D and the Kids Table is a ska punk band formed in October 1995 in Boston, Massachusetts when its members converged in college. Their first release was on their own Fork in Hand Records label, but have since teamed with Springman Records and SideOneDummy. The band has been noted for its strict DIY work ethic, such as engineering, producing, and releasing their own albums and videos and self-promotion of their own shows.
The band released Good Luck in 1999 on Asian Man Records and quickly gained a large underground audience. The album featured a 10 piece band, including six horn players. The album is characterized and widely liked due to its catchy horn melodies, along with its fun and energetic nature. In 2000 the band recorded a gangsta rap album, Porch Life, and distributed it unofficially via cassette tape. In 2003 the album was officially released on CD through Fork in Hand. They have also recorded splits with Melt-Banana, Brain Failure, and Drexel. In 2002, they released The Gipsy Hill LP, a collection of some of their thrash material, as well as their covers of "Wailing Paddle" by the Rudiments and "New England" by Jonathan Richman. This album featured what is considered to be the "classic" Big D lineup, which featured long-time members such as Sean P. Rogan, David McWane, Steve Foote, Chris Bush, Paul Cuttler and Dan Stoppelman. This lineup was also featured on How it Goes, which was released in 2004, as well as Strictly Rude in 2007 and Fluent in Stroll in 2009. In 2005, long-time saxophonist Chris Bush left the band to move to Denver, Colorado (and eventually to Hawaii) and was replaced by Ryan O'Connor, who has remained in the band since. O'Connor's first appearance on a Big D record was for their 2007 release Strictly Rude.
Big D and the Kids Table played 200 shows a year around this time on average, in support of bands including The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Dropkick Murphys, Rancid, and Alexisonfire, and have become regular performers on the Warped Tour. The band has also performed in the Summer of Ska Tour 2012 and the Ska Is Dead tour.
In the fall and winter of 2007 the band embarked on their first-ever large scale headlining tour, The Steady Riot Tour, named after the 2007 release.
Different stories exist about the band name's origin, especially about running over pets named Big D. However, lead singer Dave McWane has said that the band actually got their name when a friend, Conor Donnelly, told him that if he ever started a band he should call it Big D and the Kids Table, so he did.
Big D and the Kids Table was founded in 1995 when members converged at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Despite a frequently revolving lineup, the band built up a large local following almost immediately, packing clubs, halls, dorms, and basements in and around Boston. The band formed their own label, Fork in Hand Records, to put out their first album, Shot By Lammi, a split with Boston punk band Drexel, a side project of several Big D members (under assumed names). Soon, their label was releasing albums by a stable of Boston-area bands, building a vibrant punk/ska scene around them. Following Shot By Lammi, the band released a Live EP, recorded in the Bentley University cafeteria. Early on, they also began their tradition of holding an annual Halloween concert at home in Boston.
In 1999, Big D signed on to Mike Park's Asian Man Records and released their first full-length album, Good Luck. Big D picked up the award for Outstanding Ska Band at the 1999 Boston Music Awards. The band returned in 2002 with The Gipsy Hill EP and continued with their busy show schedule (playing an average of 200 shows a year), as a split EP with Japanese noise rock act Melt Banana appeared in 2003. Also in 2003, the band released a gangsta rap album of their songs recorded in 2000 on their own Fork in Hand Records. Fueled by a DIY work ethic since early on, the band's small fan base kept growing through touring and promotion, all with little label support and money. Big D performed on several dates of that summer's Warped Tour and also played at Vegas' Ska Summit.
In 2004, the band signed to Springman Records and released How It Goes. They headed out across North America in 2004 on the Ska Is Dead tour with Catch 22, Mustard Plug, and the Planet Smashers. Following the release of How It Goes, Big D released several music video variations of their cover of The Specials' "Little Bitch," taking place in Montreal, St. Pete, and on Warped Tour. While continuing to tour with bands such as Suicide Machines, Reel Big Fish, and Streetlight Manifesto, the band released a limited edition EP titled Salem Girls for Halloween 2005. This was the first recording featuring new drummer Jon Reilly. Also in 2005, "You Lost, You're Crazy" from How It Goes appeared on the 'Warped Tour 2005 Tour Compilation as Big D toured with Warped Tour again.
In March 2007, Big D released Strictly Rude and proceeded to tour with Anti-Flag, Alexisonfire and Set Your Goals in the Spring of 2007. That summer they were on the Vans Warped Tour and followed it with a fall US headlining tour. In the summer of 2008 they were a part of the Shout It Loud tour along with Less Than Jake, Goldfinger, Suburban Legends and Westbound Train. In early 2009, they took part in a short east coast tour with The English Beat.
Fluent in Stroll was released by the band on July 7, 2009. They spent the summer promoting the album playing the entire 2009 Warped Tour. Shortly after this release, trombonist Paul Cuttler ceased touring with the band to spend more time with his family at home. He still appears live occasionally at local Big D shows, as well on their past few records.
Following the conclusion of the Warped Tour, they embarked on their 2nd headlining tour, which took place throughout the fall of 2009, called the "Not Fucking Around tour." It was named after the track on the new album (in the same way "the Steady Riot tour" supported Strictly Rude). illScarlett served as direct support for the majority of the tour.
Sean P. Rogan departed the band in 2009. After Rogan's departure Suburban Legends' Brian Klemm filled in as touring guitarist through 2010. Then in 2011, Nick Pantazi from the seminal Boston ska band Big Lick joined Big D on Guitar, until leaving in 2013 and was replaced by Alex Stern of Boston band The Pomps. Chris Lucca of Suburban Legends joined the band on trumpet around this time, but also left the band in 2013. His role was temporarily filled by Billy Kottage, who joined Reel Big Fish shortly after his tenure with Big D. Billy Kottage was later replaced by Logan La Barbera, who has remained with the band since.
On June 25, 2010 Big D played the Carson, California stop on Warped Tour. This was the only stop on the tour the band would go on to play that year. In an interview done on the same day for thepunksite.com, McWane stated that the band is set to release their next studio album entitled, "The Damned, The Dumb and the Delirious" in 2011. On January 5, 2011 the band announced on their Facebook page they would be playing the entire 2011 Vans Warped Tour.
In late November 2011, the band announced they were cancelling the remainder of their European tour in support of for the Damned, following lead singer Dave McWane's diagnosis with thyroid cancer. After surgery and radiation, McWane was declared cancer free, and the band went back on tour in April 2012.
In early February 2013, it was announced that the bands' next release would be two separate records, one ska/punk album, and another reggae/stroll/dub record. Stomp and Stroll released on June 11, 2013. This album featured new guitarist Alex Stern, as well as founding bassist Steve Foote, drummer Derek Davis, long-time saxophonist Ryan O'Connor, former trumpeter Dan Stoppelman, former trombonist Paul Cuttler, former vocalist and trombonist Marc Flynn, among others. Shortly after this release, Steve Foote was replaced by bassist Ben Basile, leaving vocalist David McWane as the only consistently appearing "original" Big D member.
In 2014, the band performed "Good Luck" in its entirety, which featured several of the original members of the band returning to the stage for the first time in over a decade, including Marc Flynn. In 2014 and once again in 2015, Chris Bush appeared live with the band for the first time since his departure in 2005. In September 2015, it was reported that the band would be providing theme music for an American-produced animated special featuring Domo, the mascot of Japanese public broadcaster NHK, entitled Domo Rock!, starring veteran actor George Takei. The band continues to tour semi-frequently, although not to the magnitude that they have in past years. Trombonist Logan La Barbera, formerly of The Flaming Tsunamis and Royal City Riot joined the band in 2013 after Billy Kottage played with Big D on trombone periodically throughout 2013 before joining Reel Big Fish. Saxophonist Jonathan Degen, formerly of Royal City Riot joined Big D in 2015 as well. Their live shows near Boston sometimes feature former touring and recording members such as trumpet player Dan Stoppelman, bassist Steve Foote, guitarist Sean P. Rogan, trombonist Paul Cuttler, among others. In 2017, drummer Derek Davis left the band to do guitar/drum tech for bands like Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and The Dropkick Murphys. Derek Davis was replaced by Alex Brander. Some of their live performances and occasionally their tours feature the "Doped Up Dollies" singers.