“All of my absolute heroes were drug-addicted, maladjusted, womanizing, chronic offenders like Tommy Lee, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra, Charlie Sheen, Howard Stern, and Hugh Hefner,” says Rob Wickman, aka Rage Guccione, who recently reunited his hip-hop/metal band Hi Def Dynamite. “And yet I’ve never smoked marijuana or done any illegal drugs, ever.”
Originally known as Black Earth, the group first came together almost 20 years ago in Washington, D.C., fronted by Wickman along with lead guitarist Dave Yeakel and drummer Bernard Mason. “You have to remember that, in the early ’90s, a full-fledged hardcore hip-hop rock band was startling to see, and not always easily accepted. But I saw real potential to break new ground with a sound like that....
“We toured with whoever was also mixing heavy metal and rap, like Living Colour and Primus, but there weren’t many other bills we could fit onto.”
Finding like-minded bands wasn’t the only problem. “We quickly grew tired of the East Coast weather and East Coast apathy, so Black Earth packed our gear and headed west.” However, once in San Diego, “My bandmates were saddled with bills, financial obligations, marriages, you name it. So we broke up the band.
“The last time we performed as a group was in 2001 at ’Canes in Mission Beach. [Since regrouping] we’ve recorded two songs at Capricorn Studios, and we’re in the planning stages of recording an EP in the next couple of months and a full-length album by next spring.”
The reconstituted Hi Def Dynamite includes the original trio of Wickman, Yeakel, and Mason, augmented by local bassist Rice Enright (Ghoulspoon, Divided by Zero). “I’ve known these guys for over 15 years, and we’ve always been friends offstage. I’m hoping that the band stays together, and maybe the world is finally ready for us. Look at [the success of] P.O.D. and the Chili Peppers. Plus, this time, the goals we’ve set are very realistic and reachable.”
Such as? “I want to party with centerfolds at the Playboy mansion and buy a house.” Hi Def Dynamite appears Saturday, October 20, at Brick by Brick.