If you’re thinking ‘Dino Skatepark, that’s a pretty damn cool name,’ then you firmly have Bowling For Soup to thank for it – because the pop-punk legends picked it. As Kieran Franzone, bassist of the Long Island ska-punks told us: “When the original members were trying to decide on a name they narrowed it down to a few choices, but couldn’t all unanimously agree. Around this time, they all went to go see Bowling for Soup and had an opportunity to meet them and ask them questions. One of which being “Which of these choices should be the name for our band?” After some deliberation, Bowling for Soup recommended they go with Dino Skatepark. So big thanks to them for helping decide on a name.”
The exciting Dino Skatepark project merges the boundaries of pop-punk, ska and alternative rock. Indeed, the sextet – completed by Dylan Belpanno (lead vocals), Conor Franzone (guitar), Frank Caputo (guitar, saxophone and backing vocals), Jackie Weinberger (trumpet) and Joseph Quinn (drums) – started out with the intention of being a ska project, but has gradually morphed into punk rock fused with trumpet.
As Kieran explains: “Frank was, and still plays, saxophone alongside Jackie. But the more we wrote and played together, the more we didn’t want to have that traditional ‘ska sound.’ Having a trumpet to consistently utilise helps so much in our writing, whether it’s the main melody of the section, adding an extra layer to our music to listen out for, or help push the harmonic progression of our songs. It’s an integral part to our sound (and) helping us create something different.
“The entirety of the band has always been heavily involved in music growing up and we wanted to continue that passion and love in hopes we can one day inspire others the same way we were inspired.”
This transition towards a punkier sound comes across in latest track East Quogue, which was released in July and is the first of four singles the band will launch over the next few months. East Quogue – a hamlet of around 4,500 people in the town of Southampton, NY, if you were interested – starts off in upbeat manner, with jaunty guitars, a cry of “woo!” and big trumpet blasts, then drops into a lively opening verse.
Little bursts of guitar are answered by ascending trumpet parps, which lead into a big punky singalong chorus “A broken link will never last, And shattered ice cubes melt so fast, But I know we will stay unfazed, Away from you, I’ll stray.” A second chorus is followed by repeated cries of “go” as the pace drops down, then gradually builds with layers of trumpet and various guitar parts. Check it out in the stream below:
On the track and their future single plans, Kieran tells us: “So far we’ve been very happy with our reception of East Quogue. Everyone we’ve spoken too has had nothing but good things to say about it. From the writing to the production quality it has been positive.
“This is the first of four songs we are releasing over the coming months. The remaining three songs all differ in their overall feel but still somehow manage to connect together. We wanted to push the boundaries of what we can do with our instrumentation to come up with a unique sound that is new but slightly familiar.”
The Dino Skatepark sound has been shaped by the band’s various love for everything from Sum 41 and Rise Against, the more obvious influence of Less Than Jake, through to Streetlight Manifesto, Protest The Hero and Thank You Scientist.
And on what inspires their music, Kieran explains: “A lot of our songs, ranging from our original EP to today, deal with either relationships or inner struggles taken from real life experiences. We all try to write music together or in different combinations of members, once we get a melodic or lyrical idea we’re able to work with it and create something all six of us enjoy playing.”
The band will have a new single accompanied by a music video out around Halloween, along with a few shows around New York to promote it. Then they’ll be releasing the final two singles, gigging some more and heading back into the studio in early 2019. More info on upcoming gigs is here.