The Mighty Mighty Bosstones have a lot of history. And guess what? You won’t find out about it here. If you need a history, read the bio. What you will get here is a lighthearted and fun one-on-one interview with Dicky Barret, the Bosstones’ frontman.
You will note this warning, [sarcasm alert], throughout the interview. Dicky wanted to be sure that the readers knew when he was being sarcastic and joking around since it might be tough to figure out just by reading the interview. As Dicky told me, “Anything that comes out of Dicky’s mouth is probably sarcasm.”
How’s it going?
I was on the Bosstones’ website (www.bosstones.com) the other day and I dig that you answer fan questions.
(laughs) I have some fun with it, as you may have noticed.
Yeah. Like the one you answered about your voice?
Yeah. I don’t like to answer anything serious.
I know. I was reading and I was like, ‘Wow, this is pretty interesting’
And not true. (laughs)
Right, and you had me right until the end, I have to admit.
Yeah, Tim (Webmaster of Bosstones’ site) sends the questions over and they show up on my screen here and I answer them.
Well, we actually got some of our questions from fans.
The first and most asked was if there was going to be a B-sides album released. – dustin frost; onalaska , wisconsin-usa
Well, someone out there has bootlegged a B-sides album. It sucks, but what can you do?
Someone else emailed me that there was a promo for sale on Ebay for like fifty dollars.
What can you do? I don’t know what to do. I can’t fight it. [sarcasm alert] I’m the one who said this whole internet and world wide web computer thing was nothing but trouble, so now that there is problems, don’t come to me. I say just shut it down. I mean, if you want to have a talk with somebody, meet them outside of your house and have a conversation. I don’t have a cell phone, I don’t have a pager, a beeper, or a laptop. With a pen and a paper, I write my songs down like that.
Well, it does take away from human contact.
I don’t know really. I’m just making this all up. (laughs) But somehow I actually think it might bring people together.
Speaking of bringing people together, how has the transition been with the new members? – nick; brookfield, ma-usa
It was difficult, but now it’s okay. Our spirit has always been against all odds, straight ahead, and move forward, but this was tough. It was tough to replace Nate [Albert] on guitar and near impossible. It was like replacing a brother. Not only that, when it comes to playing guitar for the Bosstones, he invented it. He came up with the style and a way of playing that is uniquely his, so the search to find someone who does what Nate does or comes close to it was extensive, exhausting. And at certain times we were discouraged, but we found a guy named Lawrence Katz who’s excellent. It’s fun to play with him and the band feels fresh, recharged, and ready to go.
Have you had to practice a lot more with the new members aboard now? – matt billie; ballston lake, ny-usa
Yeah. With the new members, practice is almost three times a day. Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice. And I’m going to coin a phrase here. Practice makes, help me out here, umm, perfect. Is that an original phrase?
(laughs) I can’t remember who said that. Who said that first, Yogi Berra?
Your guess is as good as mine. A reader said, ‘Ask him how much I should practice because I’m in a band.’ – joe stephens; hermosa beach, ca-usa
As long as you don’t have something else to do, just practice. Wait, that is the phrase I want to coin. ‘If you don’t have anything else to do, then practice.’ (laughs)
Does it get tougher and tougher with each album to get out on the road for extended periods? – chris patton – santa monica, ca-usa
No. Not for me. Not for the Bosstones. It’s fun out there. How can you argue with going from city to city, showing up where people are excited you are there, and get to perform something you created in front of people who want to see you do it? It’s a dream.
Has your approach to music changed over the years? – tina; glen falls, ny-usa
I think we’ve gained a lot of confidence. I think once you know that people enjoy the songs you write, then you are more anxious to do it and not as afraid of it. Yeah, it’s changed. We feel like we are the best guys in the world to write the Mighty Mighty Bosstones songs. We do it with pride.
Do you guys write as a band? – paul; pittsburg, pa-usa
Yeah, we write together.
So you aren’t hiding in the basement, writing songs?
[sarcasm alert] Desmond Child, the guy who wrote “Livin’ La Vida Loca”, wrote most of our songs.
Or what’s her name
She wrote all the ballads and Desmond Child wrote all the snappy pop tunes.
Who did you grow up listening to and who still influences you today? – kurt; boston, ma-usa
Growing up in Boston when I was a wee lad, I was an enormous J. Geils fan and then I fell in love with The Clash, Sex Pistols, and on and on. Then I fell into the English ska movement, like the Specials, Madness, and English Beat. Then my next passion was the American hardcore scene with Black Flag, The FU’s, Gang Green, Fear, and then after that I hated all music. [sarcasm alert] That is until *NSYNC, the Backstreet Boys, and 98 Degrees. If you were ever on the Mickey Mouse club, then I love your work.
So you are a huge Britney and Christina Aguilera fan?
Yeah. And Mickey Mouse club members of tomorrow.
Then you are already laying claim to being the first to discover any new bands that come from there.
If there are any Musketeers in those bands, you can rest assured that I’m a fan. I don’t know what kind of magic is coming out of the Magic Kingdom.
Or in Orlando period. What’s in the water up there?
Orlando, yeah. It is magic and I think their basketball team is aptly named. It is truly a magical city because of those *NSYNC guys. They’ve got what it takes. Besides, who am I to argue how good they are? I mean, the amount of records they sold in a day is just unbelievable.
I never thought anyone could sell a million records in a week.
I know. Something is wrong. We are very close to the end of the world.
(we both begin to laugh)
I come from Boston and I clearly remember that whole New Kids On The Block phenomenon. I actually know some of those guys and they are really nice guys. The Wahlberg brothers are both very talented actors, but during the whole New Kids thing, when I was an angry punk rocker, and if there had been more then one New Kids On The Block I probably would have taken myself out. I don’t think I could have handled it. It’s one thing for there to be one of them, but to have five or six other boy bands is just too much.
Did you know that it was the same management company that discovered the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC? It was Wright Stuff management and Lou Perlman.
Well, I guess that makes sense.
They have the Ken and Barbie
Yeah. Well, talking about the Wahlbergs, how did you get into acting?
(laughs hysterically) Ass backwards. They called me up and wanted me to play Bill Haley, and after I stopped laughing, I got such a kick out of being asked. I figured the other Bosstones are going to piss their pants. I don’t consider myself any kind of an actor. And if there are any roles that were as funny as the last one, then I’ll take it.
Was that a one time thing?
[sarcasm alert] That is unless the Bill Haley story comes up, because I became Bill Haley. I lived the role, and if anyone else gets the role I’m going to get like Adam West, who played Batman on the ’60’s tv show, who was bullshit because they didn’t ask him. I’m going to be just like him. So even if it’s like Michael Keaton or De Niro, if they ask them to play Bill Haley, I’m going to be like, ‘I am Bill Haley. There is no other Bill Haley!’ (laughs)
I should probably ask about the new album.
We are extremely proud of the new album, Pay Attention. The difference with this album is that we allowed the songs to be exactly the way they wanted to be. We didn’t force them in another direction or discard them if they weren’t punk or ska enough. They are punk and they are ska and one hundred percent Bosstones, but we allowed them to play themselves out and be what they wanted to be.
Are the stories within the songs to be taken seriously?
For the most part, yeah. They’re not mind-blowing stories. I didn’t go to Mars in any of the songs, but yeah, they seem believable, don’t they?
I don’t know. You have a pretty good sense of humor, so now I don’t know what to believe. (laughs)
I’m shitting up until it comes to my songs, and then I’m dead serious.
+ charlie craine