In this episode, Chris & Gooch talk about different kinds of 60 gram canister shells, how they’ve evolved, and what they are today. There are four inch, five-inch, six-inch, seven-inch canisters…. Who knows how big they’ll go?
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Welcome to Get Loud with Black Cat Fireworks. With your host, Chris Nolan and Dave “Gooch” Guccione.
Chris Noland: Welcome to another episode of Get Loud with Black Cat Fireworks. I’m Chris Nolan, VP of marketing at Black Cat Fireworks along with Dave Guccione, better known as Gooch, who’s-
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Yeah. That’s me.
Chris Noland: Director of sales for Winco Fireworks. Welcome Gooch.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Hey, so here we go. This is number two, I think, right?
Chris Noland: Yeah. Yeah. So I think last time we talked about the status of the industry and what 2021 season is going to look like, potentially.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Correct.
Chris Noland: And it’s definitely gearing up for an interesting one. But before we start with our topic today, which is 60 gram canister shells, I kind of wanted Gooch to share a little bit about his background and how he got into the fireworks business. The Reader’s Digest version.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: We don’t need the hour and a half version.
Chris Noland: Yeah. We got 15 minutes here.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Okay. Anyway. So born and raised in California, not that that matters, but it does when it comes to fireworks because when I was five years old, my parents brought me down to a local Red Devil fireworks stand. Some people remember that brand. It’s no longer around anymore. And I ended up with a flash ray gun in my hands and I kind of caught the bug at five years old. So as a juvenile, I did juvenile things with fireworks. We won’t get any sort of details of those. Our neighbors did not like my brother and I, we did a lot with fireworks year round. Anyway. In a state where some of the stuff we were shooting wasn’t necessarily legal. Once again, we won’t go into detail. But business-wise in the 1980s, I’m going to show my age here, my business to business experience started with working for a wholesale record distributor. From there I got into artist management for musicians. I mean, I was involved with a major artist that was on Atlantic Records and toured the world and-
Chris Noland: Is it safe to name that artist?
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Yeah. Stacey Q.
Chris Noland: (singing).
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: That’s right.
Yeah. Yeah. Anyway. So I worked with the management team who was managing Stacey Q and ended up having a record label out of it with Jon St. James, who was the producer of Stacey. And so we ended up having a record label with [inaudible 00:02:21] records and I was in the music business. So let’s fast forward to 1990s. I had a little career change and decided to get into concert merchandising and licensed merchandising repping. So if that wasn’t fun enough, I got hired away to be the music buyer for Hot Topic. So I’ve had a really diverse career, but the great thing about a Hot Topic was, it was an MBA class and getting paid for it. So it was really great experience on the retail side.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: And then I just started to get that like, “Hey, I’m 35. I want to do something that I could do for the rest of my career.” And I found a way to get into the fireworks business and worked for a major fireworks retailer in California for over 11 years, and then decided to move to the Midwest and got hired by the leading fireworks distributors in the nation, Winco Fireworks. And so that’s kind of the story there.
Chris Noland: Wow. That’s a shortest I’ve heard you tell that story.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Oh, we could go for two hours if you want to. I can just talk about Brown Record distributors that I worked for. I could write a movie about that.
Chris Noland: Yeah. There’s a lot of crazy stories that we could probably have a whole separate podcast over that stuff.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Just a Brown Records Podcast.
Chris Noland: Yeah. That’d be awesome. That’d be awesome. Well, we’re glad he’s here. He’s definitely a pyro and knows his stuff and he’s part of a collectors group as well and they meet annually in what? Joplin, Missouri?
Dave “Gooch” Guccione:
Joplin, Missouri. Where it’s the Joplin pirate collectors group. And we just geek out on fireworks. I’ve been geeking out on fireworks since I was a young young boy.
Chris Noland: What’s the oldest item that you have?
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Actually, probably one of the most interesting items is I have a promotional flag from probably 1890, maybe 1905 from a old fireworks company.
Chris Noland: Wow.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Yeah.
Chris Noland: That’s crazy. Crazy.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Yeah. Crazy.
Chris Noland: Crazy. Crazy. So today, we kind of wanted to talk about kind of 60 gram canister shells, how they evolved kind of and what they are today. I mean, obviously you’re down in the stores and there’s four inch, five inch, six inch, seven inch. Who knows how big they’ll go?
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: I haven’t seen an eight-inch yet, but I guarantee someone’s going to try to do an eight inch for sure.
Chris Noland: Now no matter what the size, what’s the consistent factor?
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: It still has to be 60 grams of composition. And that’s going to include… We’re going to geek out here a little bit everybody. You have to have a lift charge to get the shell out of the tube and then you have a break charge. And so all that combined can not go over 60 grams. And it doesn’t matter if it’s a four-inch, a five inch, a six inch or a seven inch. It all has to be the same.
Chris Noland: What does that do? So okay. So what’s the difference between a four inch and a seven inch?
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Well, a seven inch is going to probably have multiple breaks. Most of the seven inch shells are double break, maybe in a large mine in a single break, as opposed to our traditional regular Diablo shell, which is a four inch shell. That’s just going to go out of the gun and have a big break. They’re all going to have big breaks, it’s just this one’s going to have a much bigger… I shouldn’t say… It’s going to be a fuller, bigger break than a possible seven inch shell that might have a double break. But these are all big breaks either way.
Chris Noland: Yeah. It’s as close as you can get to a display shell, right?
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Absolutely.
Chris Noland: So you mentioned mine. Can you explain for the lay person out there some of the basic effects that-
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: So the effects you’ll see on the Black Cat shells in particular, you’re going to have a mine effect. And a mine, it’s basically if you shoot stuff upwards. So it’s coming out of the tube and it’s blasting upward like a fountain, but it’s not a fountain, it’s like a one-shot fountain that goes up. That’s considered a mine. I’m going to try to simplify it here. And within that, you have a multitude of effects. You could have fish, you could have crackle, you could have stars, it could be a bunch of different stuff that’s going to shoot out of the tube. But while that’s shooting out of the tube, the shell will go up to altitude and then break. So you have like a dual level kind of thing.
Chris Noland: No breaks in a mine. It’s just something that goes up in the air to kind of fill that lower sky-
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Could be crackle, or maybe-
Chris Noland: Crackle. No breaks. No breaks will go up with the shell, but-
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Right.
Chris Noland: Kind of fills that lower sky.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: And then you could also have a comet effect and that’s going to be like a comet. Like a trailing star that shoots out of the gun that goes up along with the shell and then the shell breaks.
Chris Noland: I like that effect. That’s cool. What’s your favorite effect? Side note. What’s Gooch’s favorite effect?
Dave “Gooch” Guccione:
My favorite effect, and my college gives me a hard time for it. I like crossettes.
Chris Noland: Crossettes. Yeah. We watched a few videos-
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Him and I had a great conversation about that, I think we were doing a little bit of product development the other day. He’s like, “Yeah. Yeah. You and somebody else are crossette guys.”
Chris Noland: Yeah. We sit down and go over some new product stuff and we give Gooch the task of going through a hundred items to narrow it down for us to look at, so we can kind of get… Because Gooch has got an eye for good fireworks, so we let him narrow it down. I think we took a hundred videos and narrowed it down to 98.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Yeah. Pretty much.
Chris Noland: Because you liked every single one of them. So we had to break up our viewings for over two or three days.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Anyway. Yeah.
Chris Noland: That’s good though.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: People were falling asleep during the meeting too. Besides that it was all good.
Chris Noland: And every one of them had crossettes.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Yeah.
Chris Noland: So back in what? 2014, Black Cat came out the first 60 gram canister shell for them.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: For Black Cat. Right.
Chris Noland: They were already there.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Absolutely.
Chris Noland: And it was called Diablo.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Correct.
Chris Noland: Diablo 24. It was 24 shells in the kit. And that’s been a top seller every year, since then.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: I think it’s been really successful]. There are so many shells in the market now, I don’t think it… I mean, with the power of Black Cat behind it, obviously, it really helps. To get the kind of recognition we got back then for the shell, and it was a great shell. Hey, if it’s not a good firework, it doesn’t matter how much marketing you have behind it, I can tell you that right now, it can fail. And the consumer just really gravitated towards Diablo, I mean, immediately.
Chris Noland: Yeah. It performed well and it’s continued to perform well. But we rolled out a lot of things that came along with that on the marketing side that really got a big kick right off the bat. There’s a lot of good shells on the market for sure.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Oh, absolutely.
Chris Noland: But since then, we’ve expanded that and the Diablo 24 is a four inch shell, [inaudible 00:08:49] 60 gram cancer. And then we came out with a Diablo 12.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Right. Just half the version of the 24. You have to understand, we’re trying to help people move from a festival wall and understand that there’s value in spending more money to get these larger shell kits. And so we’re trying to kind of bridge the gap there and do 12.
Chris Noland: Yeah. I’ve always heard that it’s either you like artillery shells, canister shells or you don’t. I mean, it’s just hard to get into it one at a time if you’re one of those people that wants to light something and sit back and watch the whole thing go. Unless you’re lighting them all together.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: I mean, there’s a lot of options where you could light one fuse and get a hundred shots.
Chris Noland: Right.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Goes for 40 seconds, 50 seconds. As opposed to you light one shell and you get one big shot. Just depends.
Chris Noland: You get duration, which is nice. So after Diablo 12, we then kind of went along with that same kind of thing. We came up with a six shot Neon Diablo, that was a five inch shell.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Five inch shell. But the Neon Diablo six, five inch, all those are single shot shells. But they’re great. I mean, talk about immediate success. That kit had immediate success.
Chris Noland: Yeah. Yeah. We sold out a lot of that really quickly. And then after that, then this past year, we too came out with The Patriot, which is a six inch. And then we had our Black Cat five inch canisters.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Right. Right.
Chris Noland: Which have also performed really well. Done really well.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Okay. So the five inch, you have a lot of mind to break. So as I was describing before, it shoots out of the gun. Once again, a multitude of different effects and colors coming out as the mine, and then to a break with a bunch of different effects on the breaks. In fact, there’s a couple whistled break effects in the Black Cat five inch, which you don’t see that a lot in a lot of the 60 gram canister shell kits. And then The Patriots were all primarily double break. There are a couple of single break, but primarily they’re all double break with mine or a basically… Yeah. Right. Right.
Chris Noland: [inaudible 00:11:09] shells.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Yeah. Right. Exactly. Like a comet. Like a comet type thing.
Chris Noland: Yeah. That’s cool. And then this year we’re rolling out a 24 shell kit of the Neon Diablo. It’s such a successful roll out of that six shot that we decided to bump that up to 24.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Exactly. So the 24 Neon Diablo kit’s going to have some more mines and some comets coming out of those, but it’s all going to be neon colors.
Chris Noland: Yeah. That’s really cool.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: In fact, I was watching one of the videos the other day and there was actually a neon break with fish. I mean, way, way, way cool.
Chris Noland: Yeah. That’s really cool. And so that’s kind of our line of 60 gram canister shells. We’re always looking to develop other things and as we grow. But what are some of the safety measures that you would say you want to take in when using 60 gram canister shells?
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: 60 gram canister shells, you want to be safe with them, you want to make sure that you’re shooting from a flat surface, number one. You want to make sure that you rotate your tubes, number two. There’s a reason why a 24 shell kit comes with four different tubes because the tubes will get hot enough and they will expand a little bit and they won’t fail. I mean, you could probably shoot more than six per tube, but for true safety you want to make sure you’re going to rotate your tubes. You’re going to want to make sure that your tubes are fully secured, meaning that they are… I like to put a block down and put a brick or a base light block on one of the flat parts of the tube.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: This is to really secure it. Then you know it’s not going to go anywhere. So make sure that you have that. Make sure you always have a clear shooting area. Don’t shoot around homes. Make sure you’re at least 75 feet away from a structure. Also, make sure you’re not around trees. Just common sense. And the last thing you ever, ever want to do with any sort of reloadable fireworks, just not a 60 gram canister shell, is if that does not fire, leave it alone and stay away. Do not lean over the tube. I would give it, I mean, I would say at least for a half hour, 45 minutes, stay away from it. Grab another tube, grab some other shells, and stay away from that tube. You have to consider that thing to go at any second, even though it hasn’t fired for maybe five minutes. It’s very rare that this happens, but you have to take that kind of safety precaution on any reloadable. Not just canister shells, any reloadable. Do not lean over the tube ever.
Chris Noland: Ever, ever. One other thing that I’ve seen people do is they’ll screw down those bases to a piece of plywood or something like that too, so they can’t go anywhere.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Oh, absolutely. And there’s opportunities out there. Some retailers sell HDPE racks, and those are always really, really good. Once again, make sure that you’re shooting from a flat surface and you have a secure surface.
Chris Noland: Exactly. I think it’s pretty informative. We’ve covered quite a bit. It seemed like it went really fast.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: It went really fast. Well, because I was talking about myself for about nine minutes.
Chris Noland: Well no, actually it was three. It felt like nine. But that’s because I’ve heard every single one of those stories numerous times.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: More than once, right?
Chris Noland: Stay tuned. Maybe we’ll throw a nugget in a Gooch story every podcast, every episode.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Yeah. We did have a great Diablo premier party in Las Vegas though, if I remember right.
Chris Noland: Yeah. There’s a video somewhere, right?
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: There’s video. I will try to find the video and maybe post it.
Chris Noland: That’d be cool. Speaking of posting, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @blackcatfireworksusa and Facebook @Black Cat USA Fan. And if you’re so inclined, we keep all our new product video on our YouTube channel. So you can just subscribe to that @Black Cat Fireworks USA as well. But I think that wraps up.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: We got the second one down. Here we go.
Chris Noland: Two down, many more to go. All right everybody, thanks for tuning in and Get Loud.
Dave “Gooch” Guccione: Get Loud with Black Cat. We’ll talk to you next time. Well, that wraps up another Get loud with Black Cat Fireworks podcast. On behalf of your host, Chris Dolan and Dave “Gooch” Guccione, go out and light some fireworks. We will talk to you real soon.