In our ongoing SKAROUND The World series, this time we’ll take a trip to the Northeast. We visit with one of Bostons favorites sons and 3rd wave ska-punk icon, David McWane of Big D and the Kids Table.
Big D formed in the Boston area in 1995, and this band is one of the quintessential bands of the ska-punk genre. While bands like The Specials, Madness, Reel Big Fish and the Bosstones remain the face of the genre, it’s bands like Big D that are the heart and soul of it. Over the years, ska has had its highs, and lows, during those lows, many people said ska is dead! Truth is, there were bands like Big D that kept at it, they toured across the country and around the world representing the genre. If it wasn’t for this band and a few others, who’s to say if a 4th wave of ska would have ever landed.
Some of you may ask, who is David McWane? Yes, he is a rock star, but he’s a lot more than that. For the public, he’s the front-man for the Boston-based ska-punk juggernauts Big D and the Kids Table. He’s also a husband, dad, author, professor and most inspiring to all that know him, cancer survivor.
For these who only know his musical career, the band has provided us with great live entertainment. Big D was a force on Warped Tour for years and they continued up to the 2020 zombie apocalypse as a force in the live music scene. They’ve captured the hears and souls of their fans with songs like “LAX,” “Shining On,” “Noise Complaint,” “Oi DJ,” and their “Little Bitch” series.
The funny thing about “Little Bitch,” it’s the band’s homage to TwoTone legends, “The Specials.” At the beginning of the pandemic, none of us had any idea how devastating it would turn out to be, or how long we would be in “Lock Down” mode. In an interview with OC-based TNN RADIO, McWane said that they really don’t plan to do the “Little Bitch” videos, they manifest organically. You know it’s usually spontaneous. 2020 was obviously different. They put out a call to all their fans and put together their LOCK DOWN edition featuring cameos from their fans, other musicians and industry people.
The music video was celebrated by their fandom, because it’s what Big D does. They love to do whatever they can for their fans, in good times and the not so good.
One other aspect of what Big D and McWane does specifically they help their fellow musicians by giving them a stage to play on the road, and at home. He’s helped launch the “The Doped Up Dollies” and his other successful band, “CUIDADO.”
Recently I had the absolute pleasure of talking to one of my favorite singers from one of my favorite bands of all time. I’m talking about the awesome David McWane from Big D and the Kids Table. He and I have spoken briefly in passing before, but never had a chance to really talk, and now that we did, I was blown away by how much of a nice dude he is to talk to. It was like talking to an old high school buddy or long-lost family member. We just talked about life and it made me forget I was talking to one of my idols.
THE BIG HEART
“David McWane is one of the most down to earth guys I’ve met in the music industry. The guys from Big D are as talented musicians anywhere on the planet. What stands out to me, this band cares about their fans, and the world we all live in. Yeah, they’re a great band, but they are even better people.”
JIMMY ALVAREZ | TNN RADIO
Josh: “You’ve been touring longer than most young adults have been alive. How much have you been missing life on the road this past year?”
David: “The biggest thing for me about touring, I do miss seeing all my global friends around the world. I can’t believe how many people enjoy our music. I miss all the beautiful places we’ve seen and all the beautiful people. The reaction on their faces while they are smiling and signing along was absolutely something special to see. But, I really didn’t want to tour with a bunch of the craziness going on. I’m glad that time is close to being over. Touring in it would definitely be kind of a pain in the ass. So a break is definitely ok.”
Josh: “So overall, you’ve enjoyed this break?”
David: “Definitely! One of the biggest things for me that I like about quarantine is, well I toured for 25+ years straight. The break from the daily tour life is actually pretty nice. Lockdown is literally what stopped me from touring. Not even cancer fully stopped me.”
He added “The lockdown allowed me to be with my family, my daughter full time. If or when I go back to shows, it’ll feel foreign to me. It’s crazy how much I almost don’t miss the touring because now I see my family. It was a good time for the band to take break as well, so that’s a good thing. We started writing a new album before lockdown and I can’t wait for you all to hear it.”
Josh: “Looking forward to it! What else is in the works?”
David: “I had the pleasure of being in the new Mighty Mighty Bosstones single, “The Final Parade.” Even knowing Dicky Barrett for some time now, that’s still crazy because I’ve been listening to them since I was 15. When I recorded for Dicky, it was just like, “Wow that’s awesome.” I would love to talk to my 15-year-old self and be like, “Dude, you see who I’m talking to?” I compare the group that came together for that song like superheroes – X-Men and X-Factor. So many legends in ska, punk, hardcore, and reggae to sing on this track was super exciting. Very much when they would team up. We are like superheroes of ska, punk, hardcore. We all came together to make this fantastic track!“
Josh: “What can you tell me about your “The Gypsy Mile” album?”
David: “It’s the weirdest thing I’ve done. It’s on vinyl and if you get it, I thank all of you and credit a hell of a lot of you for grabbing it. Some bands are sugar or hot sauce; this band is just crazy! It’s like poetry. Personally I only like about 10% of poetry out there. So hopefully you enjoy this.”
David also told me the new album was recorded during lockdown and it’s something of a throwback to older Big D, which is really damn cool. I can’t wait to pick it up and see what we have in store.
This is a special artist and band, so check out the solo stuff out now, plus the book coming soon. There are so many things to look forward to, I’m stoked for all of them!
It was an absolute pleasure speaking with David McWane. Such a fantastic human, and genuinely a cool person. He’s a huge part of the scene and class act all the way.
Bottom line, this band is legit and as entertaining as it gets. I can’t wait to see this band live again and catch up with David in person.