Big D and The Kids Table
Big D and the Kids Table frontman David McWane has said, “There are people who want to be in a band and then there are musicians.” However once in while a group come along who decide to make music simply because they have no other choice—and those are the acts who tend to stick around. For the past fourteen years Big D And The Kids Table have proven that regardless of fame or poverty they will forever be addicted musicians—and their full-length Fluent In Stroll is the apex of their decade-and-a-half long career.
The best person who ever put it was [Warped Tour founder] Kevin Lyman, McWane explains. “My girlfriend once asked him if we were a big band and he replied, ‘I’ll tell you like this, they’ve been around for 14 years and each year they’re relevant.’ I think that’s a great description of what this band is all about.”
This fact is nowhere near as evident as it is on the band’s sixth proper full-length Fluent In Stroll, an album that sees this group of Bostonian college friends—McWane, guitarist Sean Rogan, bassist Steve Foote, drummer Derek Davis, trumpet player Dan Stoppelman, saxophonist Ryan O’Connor and trombone player Paul Cuttler—coming together to craft an album that defies categorization and takes the band’s ska-influenced sound to the next level. “This album reminds us of our very first record in the sense that instead of following any rulebook we were trying to have fun with our sound,” McWane explains. “I think we just naturally wanted to write a really positive record comprised of songs that were an absolute blast to play night after night on tour—and I think that’s exactly what we achieved this time around.”
Correspondingly Fluent In Stroll is a mix of hop-scotch, double-dutch, soul, ska and reggae that comes together to form a unique style of music McWane has coined “Stroll,” which is showcased via inventive tracks such as “Doped Up Dollies On A One Way Ticket To Blood” and “Fluent In Stroll”. “I think some of our older fans might be surprised by the more stroll-sounding songs because it’s a genre outside of itself, but in all honesty I think that these songs are way more ‘punk’ than most of the so-called ‘punk’ music out there,” McWane continues, adding the bands new Do Wop singers Simone and Nicole from the band Tip The Van and Boston solo artists Haley-Jane & Sirae came together to form the hop-scotch sound of The Doped Up Dollies. “Whenever anyone hears something new it takes a minute or two to catch up, but I think people will get it and love it!”
That said Fluent In Stroll, which was produced once again by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ bassist Joe Gittleman, still retains Big D And The Kids Table’s unique sound whether that’s via the laid-back Jamaican ska sound of “Been Wishing On” or the summertime jam “We Can Live Anywhere!”. “We weren’t allowed into the traditional ska band camp or the punk-ska camp, we never fit in anywhere,” McWane explains when asked if there’s a place where the band—who have played with everyone from Melt Banana to the Pietasters—feel like they belong. “We were just this weird band that some people could understand.” However instead of seeing this as a drawback, Big D have used their idiosyncratic sound to carve their own unique niche in an oversaturated musical landscape and have built a dedicated fan base in the process.
“I personally like shows where you have to prove yourself,” McWane responds when asked which of the band’s thousands of live performances stick out in his head. “The Warped Tours and the Dropkick Murphys tours that we did were cool because when you’ve been in a band for as long as we have and you get to play shows where you have to prove yourselves you have that same first-show anxiety,” he continues. “When you play the shows where everyone in the place loves you, then it turns more into entertaining—and that’s cool, but that’s not where I personally come from,” he elaborates. “That might sound kind of weird, but I like the underdog shows more because it adds a little bit of spice and kick to it.” The good news is that armed with a record as ambitious as Fluent In Stroll the band will undoubtedly have to prove themselves all over again in sweaty clubs all over the world.
“I think we have the same aspirations with this disc that we do with every record and that involves our little pow wow of saying, ‘Don’t you think music is shit?’” McWane—who is also an accomplished author currently working on a second book of poetry, a collection of Big D lyrics, two short films and a retrospective DVD about the band called Built Up From Nothing—explains when asked about his personal expectations for Fluent In Stroll. “Music groups have always recognized and applauded for creating something new and different for listeners, yet today it seems that artists are recognized for making what’s already been or what’s most the same,” he elaborates. “We really tried to push the envelope the way artists used to do and all we’ve ever wanted was to be able to play music in front of a lot of people that love our songs,” he summarizes. “If we could play on one stage in front of the world, we would do it.”
MC Moe Pope's career first took off in the early 2000s with Bay Area-based hip-hop band Mission (who later became known as Crown City Rockers). After a series of 12"s, Pope appeared on the group's LP, One, in 2001, before he decided to return to Boston in order to look after his daughter. Back in his hometown, he connected with rapper/producer Insight and his five-man outfit, Electric (aka Electric Company).
Along with members Anonymous and Raheem Jamal, Pope broke off from Electric to form Project Move, issuing their debut album, Love Gone Wrong/Butterfly Theory, in 2006. As each group’s members went off to make solo records, Pope reunited with his former Crown City cohort Headnodic for the 2008 well received collaborative album Megaphone.
2010 found Moe Pope with a new production partner and a new label for his most mature work to date, Life After God. Envision the MC/Producer platform of Pete Rock & CL Smooth blended with the abstract prose of Bob Dylan and the pure adrenalin angst of Bad Brains.
dj BC received both acclaim and controversy after his release of the self-made album Let it Beast, by The Beastles, a mash up of music from The Beatles and the Beastie Boys. The music has since been removed, most likely at the request of Apple Records, the owner of all Beatles intellectual property, including their songs. As a result of the Beastles release, the Boston Phoenix marked him as Boston's Best Lawbreaker, the Detroit Metro Times marked his CD one of the best of 2004, and he was featured in Newsweek, and Rolling Stone. Some tracks from the first Beastles album, along with other dj BC mashups and Beastie Boys bootlegs, were included on a rare 2-Part limited vinyl release by the Japanese record label Hotshot Records.
dj BC's followup project was Glassbreaks, a ten-song album combining the music of Philip Glass with additional beats, production, and raps from such artists as The Fugees, Lil' John, Q-Tip and Kanye West. Glassbreaks is also no longer available, likely due to copyright issues.
On the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, dj BC released Wu Orleans, an album combining the music of New Orleans with the music of Wu-Tang Clan. The album was named a top download in Spin magazine, and was later released on vinyl.
dj BC released an official remix album for the band Big D and the Kids Table in Spring 2008 with the album title Strictly Mixed and Mashed, and he appeared on the band's 2009 record Fluent In Stroll as well as their Wicked Hardcore Christmas EP. The video for dj BC's production Wicked Hip-Hop Christmas, with rapper Black ELement, has circulated widely online.
In 2011, dj BC released the 12 track album Another Jay on Earth, featuring remixes of Jay-Z vs. Brian Eno. The source material includes Jay-Z's American Gangster album, Brian Eno's Another Day on Earth album, Eno's song "Another Green World" as well as interviews and spoken word clips, additional sound effects, beats and scratches.
BC has also remixed songs for official releases by bands such as Heaven 17, Sonic Boom Six and The A.K.A.'s. He was named Outstanding DJ/Dance Act of 2007 in the Boston Music Awards.