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Head of the Family: Kid Dynamite


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In this installment of the Kid Dynasty series, we look at the Don of the family himself, Kid Dynamite. Kid Dynamite was started in late 1997 by ex-Lifetime guitarist Dan Yemin and former Lifetime drummer Dave Wagenschutz, both of whom had recently relocated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Yemin had been recording instrumental music on his own which had a sound reminiscent of early Gorilla Biscuits as well as some 7 Seconds and Lifetime influences. The duo decided to create a full band to compliment the music previously written by Yemin. Friend of the band Steve Farrell was brought in to take up bass duties. Now all that was needed was a singer to go with the band’s aggressive sound.

The band decided to hold tryouts in order to fill the vacant singer position. A decent amount of prospective vocalists came out including Jade Tree co-founder Darren Walters and future Strike Anywhere vocalist Thom Barnett.  In the end the guys decided to go with the young Jason Shevchuk to round out the line up. Shevchuk’s vocal abilities were seen as a great asset to the band, being able to produce an abrasive screams as well as a more melodic singing sound. Shevchuk also had a knack for creating catchy vocal hooks as well as bringing the “woah-oahs” that the band has since become so popular for utilizing. The band then recruited friends Collin McGinniss and Dave Haus as the only two roadies that the band would ever have (the importance of these two will become apparent in later articles).

Kid Dynamite would release their self-titled album that following year on Jade Tree records. The band embarked on a relatively long tour (one of only two) later that year. Whereas the band and the material they produced were very well received, the rigorous touring schedule would take its tole. Soon after that tour, bass player Steve Farrell would leave the band. Kid Dynamite had Grey Area member Vinnie Value take up bass duties while the res of the members looked for a more permanent replacement. They found that replacement in D. C. native and fan of the band, Michael “Spider” Cotterman. The band released their second and last full length entitled “Shorter, Faster Louder” in 2000. They then embarked on their second full American tour that year in support of the album.

Relationships within the band once again became strained. Yemin was finishing up his PhD. in Psychology and was beginning to practice. Shevchuk was finishing up film school and was considering a career in film editing.  Differing interests as well as strained relationships would lead to the break up of Kid Dynamite in late 2000. The band would reunite for a rash of reunion performances and festival appearances between 2011 and 2013 including “This is Hardcore” fest, “The Fest 10” and “Fuck Yeah Fest.” They announced in 2013 that there would no longer be any more reunion shows of any kind. Their last show was in New York with punk band, Joyce Manor as the opener.

Despite their incredibly short career, Kid Dynamite left a massive imprint on both the hardcore and punk rock scenes. Their sound inspired many bands of similar genres such as Shook Ones and Go Rydell. Proceeds from some  of their reunion shows helped a fledgling non-profit organization become a respectable business. Thanks to the emulation of their sound as well as the direct monetary support of non-profit agencies Kid Dynamite’s sound will impact music and the lives of those involved for many years to come.

Be on the look out for the next installment, where we will begin to delve in to the family tree with the family Consigliere, Paint it Black.

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