Dinosaur Party – The story so far ……………

Dinosaur Party circa summer 2011

Dinosaur Party circa summer 2011

One very late night in the early Chicago summer of 2010, drummer Chad Bennett phoned guitarist Kevin Dimpsey and suggested they start a band.  Over the next couple months, the two would convene at Kevin’s north side residence to jam in the leaky basement.  It was a relaxed, casual affair with a heavy emphasis on free form improv rather than crafting actual songs.  Over time, the two realized that the project would require more members in order to come to fruition.  It wasn’t until late that summer, when Kevin invited Zach Thomas to handle bass duties and the sounds that would become Dinosaur Party would start to take shape.

The 3 musicians immediately hit it off with a common ability to pick up their instruments and just let the notes happen for hours on end.  The band set up a recording space upstairs at Kevin’s house and documented hours of jamming.  It was in this manner that the band’s early sound was discovered, rather than preconceived.  Kevin and Zach had already proven to each other that they were an efficient songwriting duo.  The two had worked together in a one-off project titled “Zabbage!!!” several years earlier.  It was around the late part of 2010 to early 2011 that the two began tossing solid ideas at each other yielding early Dinosaur Party songs such as “Brontosaur” and “Ice Cream Man”.  It was also around this time that the 3 musicians, freshly of legal age to attend 21+ shows, were introduced to their soon favorite Chicago dive. That place was The Mutiny, a bar that would serve as a breeding ground for Dinosaur Party and their fellow Chicago brethren The Soundwalls, Milksheet, and Cutthroat Split Tail to explore the raw musical vision they all shared.

By the spring of 2011, Dinosaur Party’s sound, fueled by angst of city life and brutal Chicago winter began to garner the attention of the neighbors around Kevin’s residence, and not in a good way.  In fact, the stretch of North Oakley St., between Lawrence and Argyle, seemed to all be against the band.  This culminated to Kevin and his roommates being summoned to a sit down with the alderman of the area where they were threatened with eviction and accused of causing the immediate neighbor to have a heart attack.  The band was now unable to rehearse but that sit down meeting left an impression with Kevin that if Dinosaurs Party’s music was capable systematically pissing this many people off, then they were really on to something.

After a few months of inactivity, Kevin secured a new residence, now in the southwest corner of the Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.  The band began rehearsing and recording with fervor unlike any before and in May of 2011 made their stage debut at The Mutiny.  Early Dinosaur Party shows where characterized by Chad’s manic drumming, Zach’s steady bass work and Kevin’s mangled guitar noise and harsh vocals.  These shows were sweaty alcohol fueled affairs for the purpose of the catharsis of the band and audience members.  During that summer, Dinosaur Party also had begun tracking what would be its debut album in Kevin’s bedroom.  Although a laptop was used to capture the music, the band insisted that the tracks be left unedited and without additional instrumental overdubs (minus some trombone from then roommate Birch).  The idea was to create a minimalist, raw, no-bullshit rock record.  What we lay down to recording is what you get, natural and pure, no additives.

In February of 2012, Dinosaur Party’s self-titled debut was released.  At this point the band was keeping a very busy schedule rehearsing several times a week and playing several shows per month.  For some of these shows Dinosaur Party was a perfect fit but other crowds were caught off guard by the intensity of Dinosaur Party’s music. This was particularly evident during their suburban shows.  In the late summer of ’12 at a venue in a near Chicago suburb the bands show was cut off at the arrival of the police.  The band was offered $100 to stop playing and leave.  The bar was a primary hangout of mid-western bike gangs.  Too tough for them, I guess.  After this went down, Chad had finally had enough and called it quits.  All was quite again for the band, but not for long.

With more to say and loose ends untied, Kevin began to write prolifically, many of the initial ideas that would birth half of Dinosaur Party’s soon to come sophomore release were penned in one day long sit down with his guitar.  This was a dark period for the band.  Kevin disappointed with the complete halt of momentum, Zach going through personal troubles, and without a drummer, the two pressed on to audition a new member.  They eventually found a kindred, musical spirit with mutual friend Brennan Collins.  Brennan had been out of practice for years, but only took a few months to catch up. Everyone who has played in a band knows that it takes extreme dedication to be a good band mate. Brennan was all of that in spades and dedicated several days a week to rehearsal and transformed himself into a powerful rhythmic force behind the kit.

With Kevin bringing four new ideas to the table and one complete song, Zach bringing one complete song, and two songs being written as a complete group effort, the second album was written in full.  In January 2013 the band had a meeting at Zach and Brennan’s Avondale residence and made plans for the future of the band.  They decided that it was time to work record these new songs as a new album.  The idea would be similar to the first album, rehearse the songs to perfection, and play them live in the studio.  No edits, no thousand of instrumental overdubs, no bullshit.  They booked time at Matt Talbott’s (HUM, Honcho Overload, Centuar) Earth Analog Studio in Tolono, IL and on the anniversary of Kurt Cobain taking his own life, entered the studio.

The sessions were facilitated by house engineer Kyle Prillamen. The songs were captured on two-inch analog tape and the process culminated in five long, but rewarding days. Later that April, the band then took the recordings to Colin Jordan of Boilerroom Mastering (Local H, Pelican) to master the record and after about 6 months the band settled on “Ornamental Hanging” as the record’s title. Ornamental Hanging boasted a stronger sounding Dinosaur Party, with more mature songwriting, improved singing, and tightened instrumental skill. That’s not to mention better production, provided by experienced hand and ear of both Kyle and Colin. As hard as one may try, you really can’t beat the organic vibe of a tape recording!  In October of 2012 Dinosaur Party played underground venues The Flowershop and 86 Mets, released Ornamental Hanging at the later show, and said goodbye to Chicago. Parting ways with Brennan, they headed west to the sunshine and hills of Southern California.

The band was not finished! With Ornamental Hanging complete, Dinosaur Party had developed a more fully realized sound and the band is far from finished exploring. Zach and Kevin relocated to Los Angeles that November and by December of 2013, quickly made their LA debut with drummer Casey Sexton at West Hollywood’s Kibitz room.  Casey was integral in transitioning the band to LA but was already booked with many projects and thus was unable to commit to full membership in Dinosaur Party.  Just after the turn of the New Year, Justin Lee Dixon was recruited as a new official member and made his live debut on 1/17/14 at Santa Monica’s club the TRiP after being in the band for only one week.  Justin is proving to be Dinosaur Party’s most prolific drummer and with new ideas coming from both Kevin and Zach, the band is confident that new music to come will be the best yet.

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NEW ALBUM “Ornamental Hanging” AVAILABLE!!!

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Our new Album, released 10/11/13.  Recorded in analog @ Earth Analog studios to keep this sucker feeling old school.  Check out Brennan’s EARTH ANALOG documentary for a look into the making of “Ornamental Hanging”.

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-For those of you interested in a physical CD of “Ornamental Hanging”, we do have a limited run of factory sealed digipacks.  Upon purchase of the digital album, please send an email to ornamentalhanging@gmail.com to request your FREE CD copy.  Include your name and mailing address and we will mail you the album.  Peace.  -dp