It’s been nearly nine months since Kowabunga! Kid last graced a stage in Champaign-Urbana, but the local punk outfit is ready to make their return this Saturday with a house show at the Dingbat Dungeon.
To call it a “comeback” is perhaps disingenuous, seeing as they never really left in the first place. But after their long-time drummer John Menchaca moved to Aurora, Colo., it left remaining band mates Kamila Glowacki (bass and vocals) and Aaron Shults (guitar and vocals) unsure of how to continue without their best friend.
When Menchaca moved earlier this year, Glowacki and Shults weren’t eagar to find someone to replace Menchaca.
“We had this weird relationship where we didn’t really want to move on without him,” Shults said. “But we didn’t want to stop making music in this band.”
The two eventually reached out to friend Jake Mott, who plays in several CU bands including Nectar, Single Player, and Dino Bravo.
“Jake is kind of the go-to drummer in town,” said Glowacki. “He plays in pretty much every band, and to us, he was the only person we felt comfortable with taking John’s place.”
Shults said the pair had built great chemistry with Menchaca, especially after spending so much time on tour with him.
“After awhile I think we started to wonder if we could find anyone that would fit,” Shults said.
“But now we have Jake!” Glowacki laughed and added.
Mott said he was more than happy to join his friends Glowacki and Shults in Kowabunga! Kid, getting the approval of Menchaca himself.
With Mott on drums and Menchaca’s blessing, Kowabunga! Kid has prepared to make their return to the local CU scene with a new lineup, new music, and new plans for the future.
After their show at Dingbat Dungeon this Saturday, Kowabunga! Kid will play at the Black Sheep Cafe in Springfield, Ill., with Screaming Females, Looming, and Shellshag on March 25. Shults said the band hopes to tour in the late spring and early summer.
Saturday’s show at Dingbat Dungeon also features Broken Player and Military Police from Chicago, as well as CU locals Bullnettle.
“I think this is a really cool show because every band has at least one woman in it,” Glowacki said. “No one said ‘Oh, we need a girl at this show.’ It just happened that way.”
Kowabunga! Kid is currently working on a new LP, and will begin recording within the next few months. Former drummer Menchaca plans to return to the studio with Glowacki and Shults to play drums for the new record.
Although the album won’t come out until later this year, the band will be playing some of the new tracks at Saturday’s show.
“Most of the songs we’re playing on Saturday are new,” Shults said.
Since their self-titled release in 2012, Kowabunga! Kid has moved back-and-forth between pop punk and a heavier punk sound. The band said fans can expect a shift back towards their more pop-punk influences with their new material.
“The way we’ve been playing in our practices is really exciting for me,” Glowacki said. “I think these are some of the most fun songs we’ve written so far, and I’m excited for people to hear them.”
Kowabunga! Kid will play at the Dingbat Dungeon this Saturday, Febuary 21 with Broken Prayer (Chicago), Military Police (Chicago) and Bullnettle. The show starts at 7 p.m., and is $5 at the door.