If you’re a fan of punk, ska, or any sub-genre in between, you probably know Devon Kay as a member of Direct Hit! and/or the namesake of Devon Kay & The Solutions. Over the past 10 years, the motivated musician’s two bands have released a steady diet of impressive albums, toured the world, and shared the stage with the likes of NOFX, Blink-182, and Anti-Flag. Long before he was fronting a ska-punk outfit and playing guitar in a band on the Fat Wreck Chords roster, Kay was a kid in West Chester, Pennsylvania who was performing at coffee shops and church basements as a member of a group called The Mighty Clams.

Recently, Kay spoke to My First Band host Tyler Maas about his productive past few months, during which The Solutions released a full-length on A-F Records and remotely recorded enough material for another album (which he’s planning to release in single-song increments every month of 2021). Of course, the conversation also turned to Kay’s musical history, including his life-changing discovery of Less Than Jake, early experiences with The Mighty Clams, starting bands like Kay’s Place and an emo project that shall not be named after his move to Illinois in high school, the formation of The Solutions, the unorthodox way he wound up in Direct Hit!, and some of the amazing experiences and opportunities music has afforded him. Along the way, Kay also talked about his Twitch channel, collaborating with Chris DeMakes on a LTJ cover, and being a Packers fan in Chicago.

My First Band is sponsored by Mystery Room Mastering and Lakefront Brewery. The show is edited by Jared Blohm. You can listen to My First Band on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and wherever else you get podcasts. You can also listen to rebroadcasts of previous My First Band episodes on WMSE every Wednesday from noon to 12:30 p.m. CST. Music used in this episode comes courtesy of Devils Teeth (“The Junction Street Eight Tigers”) and Devon Kay & The Solutions (“Parchment & Petroleum”).