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Interview

Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Autumn 2002


Please give a brief history of the band.

We stared 15 years ago. We started as little kids in Boston, playing in punk rock clubs. There are still 5 original members in the band. We had the same line-up for about 8 years straight, and then over the past couple of years a couple of the guys petered out. They got tired of it. But the cool thing is the guys we have got are stoked and they are good too. So it has probably made it better. Definitely more enthusiasm, the other guys were great musicians too , there was magic there but these new guys are super talented.

We have been lucky as band every step of the way. Even when things happened that we thought were bad turn out really to be good things. Like we got dropped from a major label but it was kinda a blessing in disguise. But the way the punk scene is now and the way major labels operate it was pretty cool for us to get out of there pretty much scot free and move on to an indie label which is much better and people are really stoked. And it’s just a better place for us to be right now. If we had decided to go we would have had a lot of trouble and besides they had to give us a lot of money. ment alot to us.


With there being so many of you in the band the paycheck has obviously got to go a long way, how does it work out and do you do other jobs as well?

Not only the pay cheque, but we have 12 guys on this bus – from the early days in the band we had to learn to share. And we do. We share the money and that has to be a positive thing. I am sure you hear horror stories about publishing money and song writing royalties and a lot of the times that splits up bands, but the guys in the band who write the primary songs have always been really generous sharing that money. Liked money that was maybe earmarked for individuals in the band has been shared which is a really cool thing.

The Bosstones is a full time thing. When you are not on the road if you want anything to go right you have to pretty much do it yourself. Especially when you are in Do It Yourself punk rock band. This year, guessing we will do at least 200 shows. :Last year we probably did 50 shows – it varies year to year depending on what we are doing. Like last year we were working on songs for an album so we took a lot of time off to do that.

You were one of the founder bands to fuse punk with ska – if you could choose just one of those genres which would it be?

I think we would be a punk rock band. That is pretty much what first and foremost that is what we think of ourselves as a punk rock band. There is a lot of different music we like and we try to bring it in. Whether we sucessed at it or not is another question. I don’t think we would really think that we were a good enough ska band, whereas we can play punk.

Which other bands do you rate?

We basically came out of the hardcore punk scene in Boston that was about in the early 80’s. That is where we got the DIY mentally. There were bands in Boston like Gang Green and Jerry’s Kids and this is who we hung out with. The cool thing about it was each city had it’s own scene but at the same time there was also like a network. You know back then punk rock was a way for kids to communicate before the Internet and all that. There was scene in DC of Minor Threat and Bad Brains, and there was a Los Angelese scene. And you would help the other bands tour and stuff like that. So that is what we kinda what we learnt and those were the bands we looked up to. We of course loved English stuff; this is what these bands were listening to at the time. This was like the first wave of American punk after that.

Then we heard about the two-tone thing and got really into that. We could really relate to it because to us, maybe we are not correct about this, but to us it looked like our scene. Really united, really about sticking together. Bringing different styles together and having a good time. That’s what appealed to us with the two-tone thing.


You mention Gang Green in the old day, is there any band you have a special relationship with these days?

Yeah, recently we have been touring with Flogging Molly quite a bit. We just did the Deconstruction thing over here and we have done the Warped tour again in the States. Lagwagon, H20, NOFX were on the Warped tour. Snuff right now.

Have you noticed a difference in the scenes in the various countries?

There’s really not that much difference. That is one of the first thing I took away on first European tour in the early 90’s, not having been over here before that peole are pretty much the same whever you go. There are some differences, but the music differences are more at the higher levels like in the States the big record labels and the way the operate is a little different than over here. And the way pop music over here is almost regarded as a commoditly like steal or oil or something and it is talked about it the newspapers as such. Whilst in the States, I am not talking about quality or anything it is viewed more as just entertainment.

What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you when you have been touring?

We’ve been touring for over 10 years, so a lot of funny stuff. If I had the other guys around we could probably tell you loads of stuff, but is hard to pull something from the top of my head.

Is there any band you would be particularly honoured if they covered a Mighty Mighty Bosstones track?

I like the new breed of some of the younger bands who are over here like [Spunge] but non of the Bosstones songs are that coverable. I am not trying to say that we are so great or something, but I haven’t heard that many cover versions of Bosstones tracks. We are like a cover band in a way, we love to cover other stuff. We have recorded a load of covers like Aerosmith, Van Halen too, Stiff Little Fingers we still do that live sometimes we do ‘Tin Soldiers’.

We do ‘Lights Out’ each might which is an old Southern Californian hardcore punk tune by the Angery Samoens. In a way that’s just paying tribute to the bands that we like. We have always done covers, but all bands do – when we signed with a major label it was like ‘up-yours, this is what we do, take it or leave it’.

What record label are you currently with?

Our label in the States for one record is Side One Dummy, they are in Los Angeles. We have been associated with them for a while, they kinda manage us. WE have been working with those guys, we actually have a relationship with those guys that goes way back to when Joe was in a band called Wax and AJ worked with us, so we have been buds for a long time. So a couple of years ago when we needed some management we went to those guys and said could they give us a hand with this. They were doing such great things with the label and they are such high-energy guys, they weren’t managers but we got them to do it and they’ve done a great job. So based on that it was natural to go with them,, the label has done a really good job, they have put out some great stuff.

We are just now starting to explore some of the possibilities because there are not many bands with the management and record label all with the same goal working together and the band. So we are talking about doing shows where we can give away CDs, which you would never be able to do if you were on a major label and had separate management. You almost have to be really creative because not many bands are in this position. We are kinda putting them out ourselves and we have these guys with the structure of an office and the ideas and energy to do it.

Tell the readers five facts about the band / band members they will not know.

Everybody in the band has a dog. (At this point I am shown a picture of a ‘rat-terrior’).

Jo our bass played is in another band called ‘Boy One Thing’ who put out a record on Side One Dummmy too.They are going to do a lot of touring, I wouldn’t be surprised if they come over here. They have had some shows with us back in the States.

We’ve never been to South America, that is one place we have not been to. Kids at shows have come up to us and have said you guys have to come to Peru.

Roman our sax player speaks Russian. He was born in Russia – so there’s trivia for you

DB is going to be on a game show called the Pyramid. Have you ever seen the 10,000 Pyramid it was gig back in the 70’s. They are redoing it now, Donny Osmond is the host. He has already shot it, he did really well, but did not get the 10,000 or anything, but he had good time. DB is a bright guy, that is why he makes a brilliant front man he is quick in speed.

Plans, gigs and releases planned for 2002/2003.

When we get back from this tour we are pretty much going straight onto a two month US club tour. Clubs, theatres places like this 1,000 ticket venues over the whole country. And then we finish it off in Boston in something we do each called the ‘Hometown Throwdown’ and we do a 5 night run in the city each year in a small club. There are different bands everynight so it’s pretty cool – it has achieved legendary status to some extent, so fans from all over the world will come. The Bouncing Souls may do it this year and Avail and bands that would never normally play a little club, especially with another band because there wouldn’t be enough money, but they will just come and do it for the fun of it.

We are primarily a touring band, that is what we do – that is kinda how we set out to be. We never really made much money, if any from records and which is probably the case with most bands unless you are Mariah Carey or Robbie Williams or somebody like this. We have learnt over the years if you want to make a good album you have to put some time aside to write some songs. We have made some border line albums which we rushed when we were younger when we didn’t know and amangers and labels were trying to make us go different directions. We just tried to make everyone happy cos we are just these morons from Boston who just want to play to kids. Over the years you learn to tell the outside foces to fuck off and you do what you have to do, especially if you are an artest or whatever and you are trying to make good music.


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