American Dinosaur
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American Dinosaur

Philadelphia, PA | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | INDIE

Philadelphia, PA | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Indie


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Rock Music Isn't Dead: Philly's Own American Dinosaur"

American Dinosaur is a Philly based 4 piece group that spends every Tuesday and Thursday jamming into the night in the bowels of the city. Made of members Bryant Spitko, John Callaghan, John Welsh, and Lukus Gelleri. The group recently played 104.5’s Winter Jam and have been hard at work on recording and releasing a new album at Milkboy The Studio along with some awesome live video projects on the side.

I covered a bit about them in my Artist of the Week segment last week, but I got to sit down and chat with them more in-depth about their work, music, and philosophy in between some rehearsal work last Tuesday. And what I found besides a fun and totally down to earth group of guys, was a very passionate indie band dedicated to doing nothing more than making music.

Of course you always want to know when looking at a band, where did that name come from? Well, the name American Dinosaur actually has a pretty eclectic origin, according to bassist and vocalist Bryant: “We started out as a 5 piece originally…We were just kind of getting our bearings, getting back into the whole music thing…one time we came up with fun nicknames for each other…I got the nickname Bryceratops. So that kind of put the whole avalanche in motion.” Guitarists John Callaghan and John Welsh also had a hand in the name thanks to a little friend of Welsh’s (pictured below): “While me and the other John were hanging out, he had a toy dinosaur that was a miniature and he had it painted with an American flag on it.” To which Welsh adds “I named him Jesus the American Dinosaur.” And after playing around with a few other names and putting it to a vote, they decided on American Dinosaur.But what brought them together was less coincidence in dinosaur themes and more to do with a passion for making music and never stopping. Spitko and Callaghan played together in another band The Vultures which managed to break onto the radio before disbanding resulting in a 3-year hiatus. But Callaghan notes that the lack of a formal band didn’t stop them from making tunes “We had multiple different bands. We had different stuff we did under rap aliases and beats—we were always making music. There was never a time when we’re not making music. This is what we do.” And after a few years, they decided to form another band, this time experimenting with different instruments and members which included a drummer found on Craigslist and a keyboardist before Callaghan asked Welsh to join after hearing him play guitar and Gelleri joined on as drummer. “Once we realized we made music in the same way, we were inseparable,” Welsh says, to which Callaghan adds “We’re always making music. Everything else is a side gig. This is number 1.”

And one of the tenets of their work is to make good music and good sound according to Callaghan and Spitko. “I have to be able to listen to it over and over again, if I can’t listen to it or any of us can’t listen to it then we don’t want to be putting it out.” They note that the music will always, on some level, have a thread of continuity because “you can’t escape sounding like yourself” but they make sure all of it comes from a good place. They also note that variety within the albums themselves is a goal “We want people to be able to sit down and listen to the songs all the way through as one fluid piece of art and not get bored of it.” Ultimately, having 12 people each like a separate song trumps 12 people all liking just one.

As for evolution on their upcoming album, Spitko notes that their self-titled EP featured songs mainly written by him and Callaghan. This time around, Gelleri and Welsh are “Getting a lot more hands on and writing a lot of their own stuff. It’s more of a group sound.” They call it finding their “band sound” noting that it’s 25% of each of them on most tracks instead of 50-50 between two members. Cohesion in their upcoming work is a major focus and thematically, Callaghan notes they stumbled upon a space theme in writing as well. Welsh notes that good live takes were also key from a tech standpoint while recording.However, they don’t welcome surprises in writing and rehearsal, practicing twice a week for 6 hours at a time in a warehouse space owned by Spitko and his father. “We focus on being really tight and having all the wrinkles ironed out before we get into the studio…it’s expensive working out those kinks in the studio.” It seems to be the nature of independent studio work when studio costs are high and every penny and every minute spent on work matters. Gelleri does note there is an element of improvisation in their work, and while they do strive to rehearse that as well, it’s not always clear how it’s going to fit until they begin work on the finished product, “It’s a little harder to improvise under a microscope in the studio. But because we’re so rehearsed we’re able to spend time on that.”

As for fantasy collaborations, artists they admire include Dave Grohl, Notorious B.I.G., David Bowie, Ty Segall, and Kevin Parker. Interestingly enough, it’s a dream of Spitko’s to one-day write a full length musical and serve as the sole instrumentalist for it (which he notes is possible now with instrument peddles). Dream venues include hosting and serving as musical guests on SNL, Red Rocks Amphitheater in Colorado, and playing Conan O’Brien.

But until then, they’re hoping people listen to their new album and realize “Rock music is not dead and pop music does not have to be shoved down your throat. You can choose for yourself what kind of music you want to listen to.” They have nothing against pop artist, but cheekily point out that there are other chords than G and other keys than G as well. In all aspects of their writing and music work, a great deal of thought goes in whether it’s harmonizing vocal melodies or even rhythm guitar riffs. “We just want people to recognize that it still lives, it’s not dead.”

So, let’s get prehistoric. - Blvckprint Management

"Radio 104.5 Winter Jam 2016 Blasts off the New Year"

The Radio 104.5 Winter Jam 2016 had some of the same of 2015. Same venue (XFINITY Live!), one of the same artists (Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness), but, oh, what a difference a year makes! Last year’s party was complete with a snow/rain mixture and frigid temperatures, much to be expected in the dead of Philadelphia winter. This year, however, felt closer to spring. Temperatures reached well past fifty degrees and the sun shone down on everyone’s shoulders, as if reminding us that warmer weather and more outdoor concerts are on the way.

Coleman Hell kicked the day off with a rowdy performance. Some of us (raises hand) were still a little sleepy at noon, but the energy of Coleman Hell was enough to wake everyone up. His dance-alt sound is just so damn catchy. Good luck getting his hit, “2 Heads” out of your head.

Then, just before American Dinosaur got things started over at the local stage, the main stage crowd was treated to quite the surprise. X Ambassadors, who were slated to open for Muse just across the street at the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday night, were kind enough to jump on stage for a couple songs. They played beautifully soulful acoustic versions of their hits, “Renegades” and “Unsteady,” and made anyone not doing the concert double-double tonight very jealous of those who did.

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats returned to Philly for the first time since their sold out TLA performance last fall and blew the doors of the place (metaphorically), just like before. Philly really can’t get enough of this Denver band, and anyone who had any doubts as to the depth of their catalog was shown why tickets to see these guys are impossible to get.

Elle King perhaps put on the surprise show of the day. She was obviously… well… enjoying herself, and even though technical difficulties eliminated her guitar from the mix, she powered through. The Ohio native had the quotes of the day – many of which I cannot print here – and spoke fondly of her time as a Philly resident. The former Philadelphian put on a wild show, including, of course, the song that’s put her on the map, “Ex’s & Oh’s,” but also unexpected covers like “Oh Darling” by the Beatles, and Nick Jonas’ “Jealous.”

The Philly theme continued as Cold Fronts rocked a packed crowd at the local stage. These guys very well might be this city’s next major act to get a huge national following.

Finally, fresh off a sold out Saturday night performance at the Electric Factory with his band Jack’s Mannequin, Andrew MacMahon in the Wilderness took the stage to close out the day. The highly-anticipated performance let no one down, as everyone took to their feet to salute another Philly favorite. Andrew MacMahon led his latest bands through tunes from their self titled album, as well as old favorites from previous projects, including “Dark Blue” by Jack’s Mannequin, and even going back to his Something Corporate days with “I Woke Up in a Car.”

The gorgeous day was quite adequately capped off with confetti cannons and Andrew MacMahon crowd surfing, and we cannot wait to see what’s in store for Radio 104.5’s Summer Block Party series this summer! - Rock On Philly

"Album Review: American Dinosaur S/T"

There are few indie rock bands in town that can pull of a sound that American Dinosaur have curated on their self titled album that just got released on Spotify not too long ago! The whole album borders on really exciting rock while implementing some seriousness and epic song writing that has a spacey feel the whole time. Their vocal style is on a whole other level that I haven’t heard many do in town, currently, the guitars will make any player envy what they’ve done as it’s definitely a player’s album, and the drums and bass keep everything in line with some off time beats as well as deviating from the main riff. With the physical album dropping TONIGHT at Ortlieb’s, you’re going to want to put this band on ones to watch in the near future as this album totally rules!

With the hiss of crickets, a drum beat starts off their self titled debut with “Tops of Trees (You Don’t Know Me)” which absolutely qualifies as a hit single right off the bat! The soulful rock guitar riffs and vocals behind a steadily catchy groove this song will get stuck in your head for days. The lead guitar work is nothing short of amazing and the end the stops are so critical with the harmonized vocals that straight kill it! The slower “Matter of Time” starts off on a somber blue bass line and guitar solo. Harmonized vocals come in with guitars swelling in and out behind and when the chorus comes in you can almost feel the pain of the vocalist by just the way he sings “You can’t stand to stay.” The way the music builds through out makes it such a fucking epic rocker! The funkier indie jam “The Calm” has glimpses of math rock that will pique your interest in a unique way. Again killer harmonies enter in and the whole song is sort of builds, but keeps the same progression through out. Distorted bass and a field recording of rain start “The Storm” in an interesting way. This straight ahead rocker has a really catchy feel and then it cuts the timing in half giving it a very Pink Floyd-esque vibe without the ultra druggy psych feel. Then they pour water on a cymbal at the end? Oh great a fucking AUTO ZONE commercial. FUCK YOU Spotify! Seriously TWO commercials… way to break the feel for the album… Ok, rant over… “New Horizons” kicks up the feel good mood with a really upbeat riffs and vocal lines. The island like guitar lead is fucking awesome! You’ll know it when you hear it! Then key change! Fuck! This definitely sounds hit single worthy as well!

Starting off with some acoustic guitars “How ‘Bout That” continues the upbeat progression that could easily be heard on the radio. There’s a slight 50’s ballad feel at the end that really sets this track on another level. The guitar work on “Oceans and Skies” is nothing less than phenomenal! It has this really killer surfer feel to the whole song that is undeniably catchy! The middle gets really exciting with some amazing guitar solos and intense drumming. It returns to the hook and then ends with a vastly different progression than you’ve heard in the song, yet. “Already Home” has an epic feel right from the start of the song. It’s straight ahead rock oriented song structure builds through out, but has calming aspect at the end. With a pounding drum beat to start off “Tough” they tap into a dare I say southern rock style that they haven’t pull out on the album until the third to last track on the album. It probably shouldn’t work, but man it does so well! ANNNDDDD another commercial… This goddamned NAPA auto parts commercial where they fuck with your right and left headphone speakers HAS TO GO! The much more upbeat “Autographs” might be the most upbeat track on the album. Again the lead guitar work rules and makes the song that much better! The chorus is catchy as hell and the driving bass lines make this song what one might consider to be, again, hit single quality! The vocals only end seals the deal on that last sentence. The acoustic lead “November’s Lullaby” starts to end this album in an appropriate fashion. It’s slow and a bit sad, but the emotional feel gives this track strength in an odd way. Probably because the guitar riff is played with force that’s hard, but definitely fits well, ending American Dinosaur’s self titled debut, perfectly.

All in all, American Dinosaur nailed this album! They put their awesome tracks to tape… or, umm.. mp3 in a way that clearly demonstrates how amazing their songs really are and how, individually, great the AD are as players! So get out to Ortlieb’s TONIGHT and pick this album up because you can stream it a billion times on Spotify and they’re only going to see like $5 from it! They’ll be sharing the stage with Skyline City and Curtis Cooper as well. There’s a lot of great shows going on tonight and this is one we definitely recommend you check out. So show your support, get to that gig and pick up American Dinosaur’s Self Titled Debut! - Radio Static Philly


Still working on that hot first release.



American Dinosaur is a 4 piece rock group out of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Rock is a label that seems to be thrown around rather loosely these days, but they are truly a Rock and Roll band. The kind of Rock and Roll that you have been searching for since the 70s, that well written, soul grabbing, face melting Rock and Roll, but with a new space age twist. 

Consummated in August of 2013, American Dinosaur began the band spent their first year together learning and recording their debut self titled album 'American Dinosaur' which was released in April of 2015 both digitally and physically. After the band became the winners of the 2nd Annual PHL Live Center Stage put on by City Councilman David Oh, the band experienced great success; playing a Live @ 5 on Radio 104.5 Philadelphia, and going on to play at the Radio 104.5 Winter Jam 2016, held at Xfinity Live in the stadium complex. In February of 2016, the band began recording their EP entitled 'One For the Birds' at MilkBoy Studios in Philadelphia with Tommy Joyner. The EP was released in October of 2016 to great acclaim, with the debut single in rotation on 88.5 WXPN in Philadelphia. 

American Dinosaur has played with nationally touring acts such as Elle King, Nathaniel Rateliff and the NightSweats, X-Ambassadors, The Unlikely Candidates and The Seratones; and in the best venues such as the TLA, The Trocadero [Main Stage], MilkBoy on Chestnut, Bourbon and Branch, as well as many venues out of state in NYC, NJ, DE, and Baltimore/DC.  When the band isn't playing, they're rehearsing. They attribute their success to rehearsing twice a week as well as gigging bi-weekly. 

These guys are an act to watch, with their new age take on that classic rock sound, incorporating sweet, sweet harmonies with killer riffs and intricate guitar solos, it is a combination that is truly hard to find these days. You can follow them on Facebook and Instagram @AmericanDinosaur and on Twitter @AmericanDinos. You can also stream all of their releases on Spotify, or purchase them on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and other digital music retailers. 

Band Members