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Dirk Kennedy of Hittman checks in with The Jersey Guys!

Hittman are an American power & progressive metal band active from 1984 to 1994, and then from 2017 to the present. It was in 1985 that Dirk Kennedy answered an ad in "The Music Paper" and became the lead vocalist for the band. They went on to release two albums through SPV/Steamhammer and Roadracer Records, "Hittman" (1988) and "Vivas Machina" (1993). Both albums were critically acclaimed and the band was featured on the cover British magazine of Kerrang! (getting a near perfect KKKK 1/2) and other international rock magazines heralded them as the next great force in hard rock music. After the 1993/94 tour for "Vivas Machina" the band went on hiatus. Whilst never achieving mainstream success, the band has had a cult status over the last 25 years, especially in Germany, Japan and Greece. In 2020 Hittman released their 3rd album, "Destroy All Humans" on No Remorse Records.

While Hittman never officially disbanded the band in 1994, Dirk retreated into his home studio to explore other sides of his voice and music and released his solo album "Life is Now" in 2011. The album had been fully completed for some time but its release was delayed for some years. The intentional delay was from Dirk’s ongoing insecurities of where his music fit in the changing musical landscape of the time. A fan of artists like Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and Queen, Dirk had long worried that an album-artist in the current disposable pop market might get overlooked or worse, totally ignored. Reviews of the album describe it as a multi-layered work of varying styles and complex harmonies. In August 2009 Dirk began rehearsals with his new band, working out the live show that would coincide with the release of "Life Is Now". On May 22, 2010, Dirk played an unpublicized "secret Show" at the Vernon Rocks Festival. The 45-minute set included eight songs from "Life Is Now". His band consisted of Jai Es (drums), Khalid Superstar (lead guitars), Russ Tyler (bass), Xino Siu (guitar), Ivo Antanasov (keyboards), Kelly Ingrim (backup vocals).

Also in 2009, there were talks for a Hittman reunion including an appearance at the 12th annual Keep It True Festival in Germany. The performance was canceled due to a non-specified family issue. Up until then, no other reunion of Hittman had ever taken place. On November 11, 2013, original bassist Mike Buccell was involved in a fatal accident, making a reunion of the primary lineup impossible. At that time, the band could not imagine moving forward without Buccell but then in 2017 the band announced an official reformation and the renewed and invigorated remaining original members came together to record material for a new album to coincide with their appearance at the Keep It True Festival. They have asserted that it sounds like the logical album to follow the debut from 1988.

Dirk Kennedy also sang for Anthrax in its formative stages when they were merely a garage band. He was a freshman in high school and was friends with a schoolmate of Scott Ian's then girlfriend Marge Ginsberg. Persuaded to sing with the band after hearing him mimic Ronnie James Dio it lasted a few months although he was never a full “official” member of the band.

Hittman eventually acquired the rights to their initial two releases and went into the studio to remaster their classic 1988 debut. Released on October 31, 2017 on No Remorse Records, the album contains a faithful re-master of the original recording and for the first time, the original 1985 (and much-bootlegged) demo that has been re-mixed and re-mastered also and included as a bonus on the release. Kennedy says the band are working on two new records of varying styles so hopefully we will see new music from Hittman in the very near future so in the meantime enjoy this episode with Dirk Kennedy!

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