With a well produced, shiny, and pop guitar driven sound, along with plenty of YouTube followers, Kind the Kid are poised to be many of Generation X’s kids’ (that is those currently living through their tween years) favorite band. They are also poised to make a bucketload of money off those aforementioned Gen X’ers who want to keep their tweens happy (while turning into their parents by wailing at their kids “you just don’t know what good music was…Nirvana, now that was a BAND…”).
Ricky Ficarelli (drums), David Michael Frank (lead singer and bassist), and Jose Mostajo (guitar) are not Hanson though. Anyone who picks up a guitar these days and tries to make it big in pop music has to actually be able to play a decent Green Day (or at least Third Eye Blind) influenced lick or two with plenty of volume and plenty of overdubs. (Hey, like Butch Vig told Kurt…even ”Lennon did it”).
That’s where the comparisons between those Gen X parents’ music and their tweens’ end. King the Kid, whose members are pretty much still kids themselves, all of them are in their early twenties, are straight up pop rock of the type that will make plenty of tween girls’ braces buzz. Clean cut, albeit with well placed and highly visible tattoos and dark earrings, (of the type that once labelled you alt-rock, but now every 18 year old has), and sporting plenty of winks towards the girls to go along with their well placed poses, King the Kid strike a ready made pose in their major debut video for their lead single “We Are the Ones.” It’s an, admittedly, superbly catchy bit of pop rock fizz that can (and should) easily dethrone much of the junk that dominates Top 40 radio these days…and hey, at least “We Are the Ones” is guitar centric.
It’s also unmistakably and unavoidably fun. The problem with Kurt was that he was so sardonic and sarcastic with his (at least public displays of) humor that he really wouldn’t have been as nearly marketable if he wasn’t just “soooo cute.” Of course to the millions of Xers who were around before the Nirvana bandwagon started totally got it, but when it came time to make Kurt a household name with the tweens of the early 90s…well, there wasn’t much else for big radio reps to trade on was there? King the Kid, for all the good natured ribbing I’ve been giving them here, do appear to be genuinely having fun playing their music about girls, chasing girls, losing the girls, and (rather innocently) getting the girls.
Tracks like “”First Time,” “Tale of a Secret Admirer,” and “Live Love” trade on the kind of “three chords and the truth (according to the kids),” kind of pop rock that will speak volumes to kids discovering the world of possibilities outside their grade school classrooms (along with those strange things called hormones), and it just might inspire them to pick up a guitar of their own. They could have worse guitar playing role models than KTK’s Mostajo.
So, once again, while these kids aren’t Hanson, they aren’t Justin Bieber either, and honestly I’d rather my tween niece have King the Kid pumping through her headphones than Bieber anyday. I just hope that as these guys grow and mature they don’t fall into the same trap that Avril Lavigne did…playing pop princess at almost 30 and totally abandoning her semi-serious aspirations (visible on her second album) to keep the cash flowing. These guys, at this point, are way too talented, and it would be way too sad to see them get stuck in a similar rut.