Mean Dinosaur

By: M.J. Smith

If you were lucky enough to catch the NUG Records launch party back in March at Soundwave, the 4/20 Party at Cheba Hut, the recent 91X Shot to Rock finals for X-Fest, or the fourth installment of the Irie Revolution at 4th & B, then you already know all about Mean Dinosaur. But for those who have not yet had a chance to catch one of their many recent performances around town, here’s the scoop.

Mean Dinosaur includes Brandon Turner (guitar/vocals), Edward Fugatt (Drummer), Sam Hartjen (Bass), Anthony Coryell (Guitar/vocals), and Jesse Estes (Vocal Frontman). Originally formed back in 2005 in North County SD, the band released their debut self-titled album “Mean Dinosaur” with Luke Chandler (Reason to Rebel) and Above Ground Records in September 2007. By the time of their first break up back in 2009, they had embarked on four U.S. tours and released two studio singles, “Nobody Likes” and “Perfect Place To Hide”.

The band has been booking gigs all over San Diego since getting back together in December 2010, and has renewed their commitment to hitting the streets twice as hard this time around. According to the guys, “Mean Dinosaur is a rare type of herbivore that loves the green. The Mean Dino’s from the stoned age are the first dinosaurs back from extinction and we are the first dinosaurs back from extinction twice! That is one hell of an accomplishment. The ego is destroyed and we have found our love and soul purpose, this is healing the broken and fixing our souls.”

I had a chance to ask Brandon Turner a few questions about the 91X Shot to Rock experience they recently had, and what was all involved in the process, and he was happy to enlighten us. He says, “Mean Dinosaur got the email Tuesday, June 28th, stating that we made it to the semi-finals and that we would be taking on Bender in the first round on Thursday, June 30th. They give you two days notice. We show up to West Coast Tavern at 8pm prepared to play at 9:30. When we walk into the venue, there is a very small handmade stage. This could be the 3rd smallest stage we have ever played. The sound provided was a standard rehearsal P.A. I personally think they did this on purpose to see what raw talent the artists have.”

Mean Dinosaur ended up winning that evening. The remaining semi-finalists — Subliminal Trip, Reason to Rebel, Red Hand, and The Real Spectra — were left to battle it out. In the end, the finals came down to Subliminal Trip, Mean Dinosaur, and Reason 2 Rebel. “All three finalists are NUG Records release artists…I think NUG knows how to pick their groups. The three of us took each other on Sunday, July 10th at True North. The finals felt like a family gathering and we treated it that way,” says Brandon.

After another round of remarkable performances, Reason 2 Rebel took the title home to open 91X’s X-Fest with Incubus, Bush, Face 2 Face, Iration, Middle Class Rut, Viva Brother, Little Hurricane, and Graffiti 6. “We all had a great time at X-Fest munchin’ on free Mexican food from Los Primos and free Bud Light in the artist and sponsor’s VIP Cabana,” says Brandon.

While speaking with Brandon, we also learned that in addition to playing in Mean Dinosaur he is getting ready to hit the road with his other local band, Munson Keef, which is headed by well-known, local female, lead vocalist, Aurora Maladay. Munson Keef is going to be attending Seattle’s Hempfest on August 19th and will be performing alongside acts like the Kottonmounth Kings and Bone Thugs N’ Harmony. Last year, they performed on the McWilliams stage at 4:20 in memory of Jack Herer. This year they have been invited to perform the same stage, same time. There will be a tour kickoff party at Brick by Brick on Saturday, August 13th, and now NUG Mag will be sponsoring their tour, so look out for the NUG Mag banner!

In the meantime, Mean Dinosaur is currently designing new logos, creating merchandise, and starting preproduction on their sophomore release, which is expected to come out “before the end of the world in 2012”. Mean Dinosaur would like us to give a shout-out to their sponsors (Special Thanks To): NUG Records, Freedom Fighters Clothing Co., West Syder Ryder, 91X, 94.9FM, Above Ground Records, Releaf’d Clothing, Nuglife Radio, One Pride,, Cabo Wabo, Clear Onyx, Sushifish Studios, and Pappas House Studios.

You can find out more about Mean Dinosaur at the following websites: Facebook, ReverbNation,

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