Origin: San Diego, California
Years active: 1994–1997
Justin Pearson – lead vocals (1994-1997, 2009)
Eric Allen – guitar (1994-1997, died 1998)
Jimmy LaValle – guitar (1997, 2009)
John Brady – bass (1994-1997, 2009)
Michelle Maskovich – bass (1994)
Jose Palafox – drums (1994-1997, 2009)
Swing Kids were a post-hardcore band from San Diego California during the mid-1990s. They were closely involved with and influenced by the forerunners of the San Diego hardcore punk scene of the 1990s.
Their music was characterized by Justin Pearson’s spoken/screamed vocals and their melodic/chaotic rhythms and song structures. Swing Kids were influenced by fellow San Diego bands Antioch Arrow and Drive Like Jehu. On a broader scale, their music and lyrics were influenced by post-punk.
Swing Kids carried the San Diego “art hardcore” movement past the initial wave of Gravity Records bands and through to the late 1990s, releasing a 7″ EP and split 10″ EP along the way. Despite their importance in a relatively small scene, Swing Kids’ impact both during their tenure and after their 1997 breakup was global, thanks to many independent Zines and a US/European tour. The sound they pioneered inspired bands such as The Plot To Blow Up The Eiffel Tower, Refused, Orchid, Jerome’s Dream and many others.
Swing Kids are also credited with the unintentional creation of the fad “Spock Rock” during the mid-1990s; largely due to many of their fans emulating Pearson’s fashion sense and hair style. The name comes from Leonard Nimoy’s character from the Star Trek television series & films, and more specifically his haircut.
Justin Pearson would later go on to play in other bands such as The Locust, Holy Molar, Some Girls, The Crimson Curse, All Leather, and a DJ outfit named Leg Lifters. Eric Allen, who committed suicide in 1998, played with the hardcore band Unbroken.
Swing Kids played two reunion shows, both with Unbroken: a mostly secret[clarification needed] show on May 8, 2009 at the Ché Cafe at UCSD in San Diego, CA and on May 9, 2009 at the Glass House in Pomona, CA. The Pomona show was a benefit for selected charities, and tickets were sold out very shortly after going on sale, despite the $25 price. According to fans[who?], the shows ranged from “really, really, good” to “amazing, totally unbelievable.” Eric Allen’s mom came out right before the last Unbroken song at the Glasshouse show and thanked everyone briefly.