Rumors have been circulating for a couple of years about the ska-core-est band of all time getting back together. And last week the chatter picked up again, although the band played it pretty close to the belt. Offending speculative message board posts were deleted. Everyone kept their mouths shut ... which is not an easy thing for Dicky Barrett to do, mind you.
This time it's official. The 'Tones announced a full-fledged Hometown Throwdown -- which in its day was the precursor to Dropkick Murphys' St. Paddy's Day homestand and Darkbuster's Hometown Throwup -- at the Middle East, December 26-30. Tickets go on sale October 19 at 10 am via Ticketmaster.
"We just kinda stopped playing, we kinda stoped doing it for a while," Dicky said in a radio interview a few minutes ago. "Six months ago Joe Gittleman called me and said, 'What do you think about doing a Throwdown?' Then he said, 'Who can we ge to sing?' I said, 'Joe, why don't you let me take care of it?' "
Truth be told, we loved the shit out of the Bosstones, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing those dudes wreck shop with Murphy's Law and Fishbone back in the day. If eventually they became a clownish plaid phenomenon, they never took themselves too seriously. The records may not hold up as well as they could have, but they were better songwriters than people gave 'em credit for -- Bosstones fans scoffed at No Doubt, but you sometimes wished they'd have found a way to be bigger than the genre they created. After it was over, Nate Albert looked back on the band's legacy and sighed. "Have you noticed," he once told us, "that on every comedy show, or every commercial that’s supposed to be funny, the soudtrack is ska-core? Have you noticed this? I was watching America’s Funniest Home Videos, and it's like the whole soundtrack is ska-core. And I'm thinking, 'Is this what we gave to the world?' "
Yes it was. But for a time it was a glorious thing. The first Bosstones record is less ska than most people remember -- the title track to Devil's Night Out contains one of the most brilliantly evil metal riffs of the early '90s -- and they could be a pretty fun punk band when they felt like it. Mostly we saw them at Sunday all-ages shows at the Paradise and the Channel, but once, in 1991, we ran into them at CollegeFest, where they performed a cover of Metallica's (then) new single, "Enter Sandman." They thought it would be funny to cover the song before its official release, and they very nearly succeeded.
By the time their big-time debut came out, they seemed like the longest shot in the world. Devil's Night Out was the record that made us fall for them, though their rise to local kingpins rested on their knack for goofy pop songs. Their first gesture on Mercury was to release an EP of covers: at the time, they proudly touted that it was the first time a Minor Threat song (let alone an SSD song) appeared on a major label. They promptly went back to goofy pop songs, and the rest is football-stadium history.
We're still waiting to hear exactly who's in the band, stay tuned.