Big D and the Kids Table
About Big D and the Kids Table
The Boston ensemble Big D and the Kids Table have specialized in fast-paced ska-punk since their debut in the late '90s. With a fierce D.I.Y. attitude and spirited stage presence, they remained fixtures on the touring circuit, attracting a devoted underground following over the years since their first studio effort, 1999's Good Luck.
As the band's lineup continually shifted through the years, frontman and founder David McWane remained at the core of the group, which debuted in 1995 while its early members were studying at Berklee College of Music. The Allston-based crew self-released their debut 1997 split with pop-punkers Drexel, Shot by Lammi (recorded for only $700), and the Live EP. Both were issued on their own Fork in Hand Records, run by McWane and bassist Steve Foote. By the time Big D signed with Asian Man Records, the ten-piece of McWane, Foote, Gabe Feenberg (trombone), Dan Stoppelman (trumpet), Sean P. Rogan (guitar), Marc Flynn (trombone), Chris Bush (tenor sax), Jon Lammi (guitar), Max MacVeety (drums), and Chris Sallen (tenor sax) had already released their first full-length, Good Luck, in 1999. Known for an especially rowdy live show, Big D picked up the award for Outstanding Ska Band at the 1999 Boston Music Awards before Mike Park and Asian Man reissued Good Luck. The band returned in 2002 with the Gipsy Hill EP and continued with their notoriously relentless show schedule (playing an average of 200 shows a year), as a split EP with Japanese noise rock act Melt Banana appeared in 2003.
Fueled by that D.I.Y. work ethic, the band's small but loyal fan base kept growing through incessant grassroots touring and promotion, all with little label support or money. Big D hooked up with part of the summer's Warped Tour and played at Vegas' Ska Summit. They headed out across North America in 2004 on the Ska Is Dead and You're Next tour with Catch 22, Mustard Plug, and the Planet Smashers; their Springman debut, How It Goes, was released that same year. Big D stayed on the road, of course, hooking up with the likes of the Suicide Machines, Reel Big Fish, Streetlight Manifesto, RX Bandits, and more. By this time, the band was down to seven members: McWane, Foote, Stoppelman, Rogan, Bush, drummer Jon Reilly, and trombonist Paul E. Cuttler. The limited-edition Salem Girls EP appeared for Halloween 2005; Big D then returned to the studio by 2006's end to work on their next full-length and debut for SideOneDummy Records, with Mighty Mighty Bosstones bassist Joe Gittleman in the production chair. With new saxophonist Ryan O'Connor on board in place of Bush, the chilled-out vibe of Strictly Rude surfaced in March 2007. The album was preceded by a February split via Bad News Records with China's Brain Failure, entitled Beijing to Boston. The band teamed up with Gittleman again in 2009 for their fifth studio album, Fluent in Stroll, before hitting the road on their own headlining tour. Big D eventually took a break from the road, and in 2011 released For the Damned, The Dumb & the Delirious. Touring behind the album was halted after McWane was diagnosed with cancer, resuming in 2012 after the singer went into remission.
Big D's next efforts arrived in 2013. The first was Stomp, a ska-punk album, followed by Stroll, a reggae/dub-influenced set. The live EP, Good Luck, arrived the next year, a six-song session recorded at the studios of Boston radio station WBCN. Lineup changes and touring carried the band between releases, as guitarist Alex Stern, bassist Ben Basile, trombonist Logan La Barbera, saxophonist Jonathan Degen, drummer Alex Brander, and keyboardist Casey Gruttadauria joined the group. Their ninth album arrived in 2019. Composed of all cover songs, the aptly titled Strictly Covered featured Big D's takes on scene anthems like Rancid's "Old Friend" and Operation Ivy's "Freeze Up," as well as tracks by Morphine and Sam Black Church. ~ Mike DaRonco & Corey Apar