The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Background Information
A.K.A. The Bosstones
Origin Boston, Massachusetts
Genre Ska-Core
Third Wave Ska
Years active 1985-1988
Label(s) Taang! (1989-1992)
Mercury/Big Rig (1993-1998)
Island Def Jam (1999-2001)
SideOneDummy (2002)
Website Official Site (SideOneDummy Records)
Dicky Barrett
Tim "Johnny Vegas" Burton
Ben Carr
Joe Gittleman
Lawrence Katz
Chris Rhodes
Joe Sirois
Kevin Lenear
Former Members
Nate Albert
Dennis Brockenborough
Josh Dalsimer
Roman Fleysher
Tim Bridewell

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are a ska-core band from Boston, Massachusetts.

Formed in 1985, the Bosstones are credited with the creation of the ska-core genre, a form of music that mixes elements of third wave ska and hardcore punk. The band released seven full-length albums, three EPs and a live album while touring continuously before their announcement of a hiatus in December 2003. They reunited in the fall of 2007 and performed together for the first time in four years at Middle East. The band has continued to perform at multiple live venues since.

In December 2007, the band released a compilation album, Medium Rare, their first release since the band reunited earlier that year.

History Edit

Early history (1985-1988)Edit

The band's roots lay in the hardcore scene of the early 1980s along with a strong influence from the British 2 Tone ska scene of the 1970s. Bassist Joe Gittleman played with local hardcore band Gang Green, while vocalist Dicky Barrett was a member of Impact Unit and, later on, the Cheap Skates. The Cheap Skates lineup constantly changed and would feature members of Gang Green on occasion. It was through the Cheap Skates that a lineup coalesced around a core of Barrett, Gittleman, Tim Burton (saxophone), Nate Albert (guitar), Josh Dalsimer (drums), Tim Bridewell (trombone) and Ben Carr (a ubiquitous, but non-musician onstage presence, later credited as "Bosstone"). The group decided on the name, "the Bosstones" as a reference to their hometown. While some of the band members were influenced by bands such as AC/DC, Motörhead, The Clash and Stiff Little Fingers, Barrett had become enthralled with 2 Tone ska, which was in the tail end of its existence.

"For me, having grown up...going to shows in the Boston scene, they were the first band to my eyes, from my personal experience... to take ska music, punk rock and hardcore and mold it all together. And the shows were frenetic, sweaty and communal, everybody was united, there was stage diving, massive circle pits, walls of death. Easily one of the best shows I've ever seen." - Mike McColgan in an interview featured on the "Road to the Throwdown" mini series.

In 1987, the Bosstones made their recorded debut when they were featured on the Mash It Up ska compilation. The Bosstones' contribution was "The Cave." Another early recording, "Drums and Chickens," appeared on the 1989 ska compilation Mashin' Up The Nation.

By the time Mashin' Up The Nation was released, the Bosstones had temporarily disbanded in order for Albert and Gittleman to finish high school. After their graduation, the band reunited. Around this time, it was brought to the band's attention that an a cappella group, The Bosstones, had already used the name during the 1950s. A bartender friend arbitrarily suggested that they become the "Mighty Mighty Bosstones", in order to avoid any possible legal hassles, to which the band agreed.

Taang! years (1989-1992)Edit

Despite not having a large draw at their live shows, the Taang! record label gave the band a record deal which would result in the Devil's Night Out album, produced by Paul Q. Kolderie. The album was released to a lukewarm reaction during a time when ska was struggling to move out of the American underground. Ska fans did not like the band since they were not playing traditional ska while hardcore fans did not like the ska and heavy metal elements in the music. Despite the initial reaction, Devil's Night Out has gone on to become one of the band's most popular albums.

It was during this time that the band's trademark plaid clothing came to be. After a show where Barrett wore plaid, fans started to show up wearing it as well. It was noticeable enough that the band was approached by the Converse sneaker company to promote their new line of Chuck Taylor sneakers. The band accepted the proposal and were seen in several television commercials promoting the sneakers.

By this time, Tim Bridewell had left the band only to be replaced by Dennis Brockenborough (trombone) and Kevin Lenear (saxophone). The band's next release was an EP entitled Where'd You Go?. The EP featured the title track as well a cover versions of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion", Metallica's "Enter Sandman", Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" and a new version of "Do Somethin' Crazy", originally featured on Devil's Night Out.

In 1991, the band set out on their first full American tour. It was during the first leg of touring that drummer Josh Dalsimer would leave the band to pursue a college education. He would be replaced by Joe Sirois, who Barrett met at Bunker Hill Community College. Sirois would immediately join his new bandmates in the recording studio to start work on the band's second album.

Once again produced by Paul Q. Kolderie, More Noise and Other Disturbances was released in 1991. The band would film a video for the song "Where'd You Go?" which had previously been available on the EP of the same name (though the band had also recorded a video for "Guns and the Young", the video wasn't finished until a few years after it was recorded). It was during the band's touring for this album that their relationship with Taang! began to sour. The band toured relentlessly and sold more albums, but Taang! had seemed to be keeping the money for themselves. The band's living situations became so bad that a second breakup was considered. Ultimately, the band decided to stay together and leave the Taang! label.

Mainstream success and Big Rig Records (1993-2001)Edit

The band signed to their first major label when they joined the Mercury Records roster and soon recorded the Ska-Core, The Devil, and More EP. Released in 1993, it was largely a collection of cover songs. Four of the seven tracks paid homage to the band's influences: The Angry Samoans' "Lights Out," Minor Threat's "Think Again," SS Decontrol's "Police Beat" and Bob Marley's "Simmer Down." Three live tracks were included as well. The EP contained one new studio track "Someday I Suppose," which would later appear on the band's third full-length album.

Produced by Tony Platt, the band's third LP, Don't Know How To Party contained a cover of Stiff Little Fingers' song "Tin Soldiers" as well as a vocal appearance by Daryl Jennifer of Bad Brains. A video was also filmed for "Someday I Suppose" and it received minor airplay on MTV. Though the footage was originally intended to serve as a promo for the Bosstones debut on Mercury, the label like the footage and turned it into a single. The band would also appear on the 1994 Kiss My Ass tribute to Kiss album, covering "Detroit Rock City." Mercury Records was so impressed by the track that it was released as a single, appearing on 7-inch green vinyl and backed by the original Kiss version of the song. Soon after, the band found themselves personally invited by fellow Bostonian Steven Tyler, to open up for Aerosmith at their New Year's Eve concert in Boston. While it was not the most successful show the Bosstones had played, it ensured that the Bosstones started 1994 on the road as they had intended.

Big Rig Records started when the band wanted to release their records on vinyl. While Mercury showed no interest at first, they eventually allowed the band to start their own vanity label. Mercury continued to handle the conventional CD and cassette versions of the albums while Big Rig would focus on the vinyl editions. The new label immediately issued re-releases of Don't Know How To Party and Ska-core, the Devil and More on colored vinyl. Later releases would also include re-releases by Barrett's former hardcore band, Impact Unit.

The band released their fourth album, Question the Answers, in 1994. The album featured production work by the Butcher Brothers, Paul Q. Kolderie and Ross Humphrey. The Big Rig vinyl version of the album contained "Pirate Ship" as an extra track. Besides touring, the band found itself making their network television debut on "The Jon Stewart Show and hosting MTV's 120 Minutes." They also contributed a new version of "Where'd You Go?" to the Alicia Silverstone movie Clueless. The band also made an appearance in the film, performing the songs "Where'd You Go?" and "Someday I Suppose" during a college party scene. On top of their TV and film appearances, the band was added to the main stage of the 1995 Lollapalooza tour. The media attention that the band was receiving prompted Taang! to re-release Devil's Night Out and More Noise and Other Disturbances in order to capitalize on the band's popularity. Taang! released both titles with new cover art without consulting Barrett or the band, which further cemented Barrett's anger with Taang!. Mercury set about repromoting Question the Answers by adding a second disc comprised of five B-side tracks. The EP was titled Here We Go Again and it was compiled by Barrett at the request of Mercury.

After touring as part of the 1997 Warped Tour, the Bosstones began work on their next studio album. Released later that year, Let's Face It, would prove to be the band's biggest break, mostly due to the first single "The Impression That I Get," which charted at number one on the Billboard charts. The album was followed by Video Stew, a VHS compilation of the band's twelve music videos. The mainstream exposure led to the band's appearance on Sesame Street's Elmopalooza album and television special. In it, the band performs the song "The Zig Zag Dance" with the classic Muppet, The Count. The band also made their Saturday Night Live debut performing "The Impression That I Get". Capitalizing on the band's new found popularity, Mercury released the band's live album, Live From the Middle East in October 1998. The album was recorded live in Cambridge, Massachusetts at The Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub during the band's annual end-of-the-year "Hometown Throwdown" from 1997. In 1999, the band contributed their cover version of the song, "Rudie Can't Fail," to the Burning London Clash tribute compilation. Shortly after all of these releases, Kevin Lenear quit the band to work on his own material and was replaced by Roman Fleysher. Founding member Nate Albert also left in order to obtain a degree in political theory from Brown University. His next musical venture would be as a member of Evan Dando’s re-formed Lemonheads before forming The Kickovers, which focused more on a 1970's punk sound than ska. Albert eventually became involved in band management, handling bands such as Bayside and Lost City Angels. Albert's replacement on guitar was Lawrence Katz.

In 2000, the band released Pay Attention which failed to meet expectations set by the previous album. One single, "So Sad To Say," was released but it never reached a position higher than twenty-two on the Billboard charts. Ultimately, the album did not sell as well as their previous release. This was to be the band's last album with Mercury Records, who along with Island Records, Def Jam Records and Polygram, had become part of the Universal Music Group who subsequently merged Island Records and Def Jam Recordings forming the new Island Def Jam label. The band, unhappy with the way the newly formed label had been handling them, asked for a release from their contract, to which the label agreed. "Pay Attention" was also the last album for Dennis Brockenborough who had already formed his own band, Chubby, for which he sang and played guitar. Brockenborough's replacement was former Spring Heeled Jack member, Chris Rhodes. Spring Heeled Jack had broken up in 2000 and Rhodes had recently taken a vacant trombone position with Bim Skala Bim when he received the invitation to join.

Return to the independents (2002-2003)Edit

The band soon announced their return to an independent label when they signed with Side One Dummy Records. In July 2002, the band released A Jackknife to a Swan and from it the song "You Gotta Go!" was released as a single and video. The band continued to tour but in December 2003, they announced their decision to go on a hiatus and were forced to forgo that year's Hometown Throwdown. One contributing factor was that several band members were reported to already be busy with other bands and side projects. Another factor was that the band had been touring, almost non-stop, since 1991, and some of the band members desired a break. Though originally called a hiatus, the band had no definite intentions of getting the band back together. They used the term because they said they had left off on friendly terms.

Hiatus (2004-2006)Edit

After the hiatus announcement, several members went on to work on other projects and bands. Barrett became an announcer on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live late night talk show. In 2005, he became the host of the Mighty Morning Show on Los Angeles radio's Indie 103.1 FM. In March 2006, he was dismissed from the radio station.[1]

Before the hiatus announcement, Gittleman had formed a second band named Avoid One Thing. The band released two albums on SideOneDummy before announcing their own hiatus.

Joe Sirois recorded and toured with Nate Albert's next band, Kickovers, and also played drums for the Street Dogs and Frank Black.

Rhodes went on to play with The Toasters until his departure in 2006. Rhodes also performed with former Spring Heeled Jack bandmate Rick Omonte in The Mountain Movers and as a fill-in trombonist for Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, and NOFX.

Fleysher continued his pursuit of a professional pilot's license. He took classes near his home in South Florida and worked as a flight instructor in his spare time. In 2005 he was hired as an airline pilot for CommutAir, a Continental Airlines regional affiliate based in Plattsburgh, NY. After a short stint there he began flying as a charter pilot in Los Angeles, CA.

Burton and his family moved to Los Angeles where he became active in the movie business. Besides working for a Hollywood agent, he wrote several scripts and developed projects for television. He also contributed saxophone for a Cypress Hill song. In 2006 he appeared in the film Crazy, which was inspired by the life of Hank Garland.

Lawrence Katz formed a new band called Resistant, who are currently recording their debut album.

Reunion and the future (2007-present)Edit

Due to the fact that the band left the possibility of playing together again open, rumors and speculation frequently circulated that a reunion was inevitable. The hiatus of Joe Gittleman's band, Avoid One Thing, added to speculation of such a reunion.

During an AP Acoustic Session, members of fellow Boston area ska band Big D and the Kids Table hinted that the Bosstones were in fact reuniting for another Hometown Throwdown. Jerry Mattes, the creator of the band's bulldog mascot also acknowledged the chances of a reunion and announced that he was designing a new logo for the band.[2]

On October 11, 2007, on Boston Radio Station WBCN, Dicky Barrett confirmed what he called "the worst kept secret in Boston": the announcement that the Bosstones would indeed play a 10th official Hometown Throwdown at Cambridge's famed Middle East club on December 26th-30th, 2007. Barrett would not confirm any long-term plans for the band.

Soon after Barrett's announcement, Joe Gittleman declared that the band intended to record three new songs to be included on an upcoming collection of unreleased material and vinyl b-sides. The album, titled Medium Rare, was released on December 18, 2007.[3] The three new songs mark the first new material recorded since the 2002 release of A Jackknife to a Swan.

Since the 2007 Throwdown the Bosstones shows have been playing a few shows every couple of months. At two of the March shows in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, Jimmy Kimmel served as a guest star on bass clarinet during The Impression That I Get. Since the Throwdown, former saxaphonist Kevin Lenear has rejoined the band, taking back over for Roman, whose current job prevents him from being able to play with the band. Despite the recent activity, the Bosstones are non-committal on whether they'll write and release a studio album. The band has also stated that they'll never tour non-stop year round again like they frequently have in the past.

On May 15, 2008, it was reported that the Bosstones would be doing a short US tour in July with the Dropkick Murphys.[4] During the tour the Bosstones will make three stops at Boston Red Sox minor league ballparks. These stops would be in Lowell, MA (July 10), Portland, ME (July 11), and Pawtucket, RI (July 12). The Bosstones are scheduled to play at Riot Fest in Chicago this October, though no plans have yet been announced for another Throwdown.

Recently, "Where'd You Go?" was featured as a playable song in Rock Band 2. The version used is a rerecording done by the Bosstones in 2008.

On Saturday, October 11, 2008, at their performance at the Town Ballroom in Buffalo, NY, the encore ended with the first ever performance of the song "Pirate Ship", a "Bosstones chestnut" as described by Dicky Barrett. This elusive track was found only on the double 10" pressing of the 1994 album Question the Answers (BIG RIG 102)

On October 20, 2008, their website announced that they will play an 11th Hometown Throwdown on December 26-29 at the Middle East Club in Cambridge, MA, at Toad's Place in New Haven, CT on Dec. 30 and a New Year's Eve show at Lupo's in Providence.

On November 4th, a myspace blog revealed the recording of a new album, with two songs, "The Impossible Dream" and "Next to Nothing" streaming on the page. [1]

Hometown Throwdown 11 took place on and at the dates and places mentioned above, with the Toad's Place show playfully titled the "Rhodestown Throwdown", since New Haven is trombonist Chris Rhodes' home town.

According to vocalist Dicky Barrett, the band is actively working on a new album, to be released on an unknown date.

The band joined the Dropkick Murphys onstage for "Shipping Up To Boston" during the Dropkick's recent show at House of Blues in Boston. Dicky, Ben, Joe Gittleman, Chris and Johnny Vegas were onstage.

Band membersEdit

Current lineupEdit

Former members and contributorsEdit

  • Roman Fleysher - saxophone
  • Nate Albert - guitar
  • Dennis Brockenborough - trombone
  • Patrick O'Connor - "Mr. Rock N Roll" - hired gun
  • Josh Dalsimer - drums
  • Brian Dwyer - trumpet
  • Tim Bridewell - trombone
  • Kevin P. Stevenson - Guitar
  • Dave Aaronoff - Keyboards
  • Sledge Burton - trumpet


Main artcile: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones discography


  1. Reed, Mack. "Dicky Barrett Speaks: 'I Was Fired that Day'",, 24 March 2006.
  2. Alternative Press MEDIA
  3. | Mighty Mighty Bosstones to record new music for upcoming collection
  4. | Dropkick Murphys / The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

External links Edit

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