The Mighty Mighty Bosstones Biography

Formed in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, during the mid-80s, by Nate Albert (guitar), Joe Gittleman (bass) and Ben Carr (vocals). They were joined by Dicky Barrett (vocals) and Tim ‘Johnny Vegas’ Burton (saxophone) completing the line-up of the original Bosstones. After a laconic lacuna during the Reagan years the band returned as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, having enrolled Joe Sirois (drums), Dennis Brockenborough (trombone) and Kevin Leanear (saxophone). The change of name was justified by Barrett who claimed that ‘any band can just be mighty’. The musicians built a solid foundation in the USA through their fusion of ska and punk, with influences from soul and funk as well as thrash and heavy metal. They played across America to packed venues comprising various US youth cult followers, skinheads, punks, metal heads and college students. In 1992, they were recognized at the Boston Music Awards where they received accolades for Best Single, Best Album and Best Rock Band. Their early recordings surfaced through the independent Taang! label, including an EP featuring cover versions of hits by Aerosmith, Metallica and Van Halen.

Their increasing notoriety led to interest from the major labels with Mercury Records signing the band. The first release was an EP featuring ‘Someday I Suppose’, ‘Lights Out’, ‘Police Beat’ and a cover version of the Wailers’ ‘Simmer Down’. In 1992, the band began working on their debut album for Mercury with producer Tony Platt who, apart from his rock productions, had worked with Bob Marley in the early 70s. In 1993, Mercury promoted the band in the UK, releasing ‘Ska-Core The Devil And More’ and Don’t Know How To Party. The band’s success led to media interest in the USA which resulted in a cameo appearance in the movie Clueless, a ska version of Kiss’ ‘Detroit Rock City’ - featured on the tribute compilation Kiss My Ass - and imaginative merchandising. By 1997, the band’s high profile was elevated in America by an exhaustive promotional campaign and the release of the excellent Let’s Face It. The following year they enjoyed a UK Top 20 hit with ‘The Impression That I Get’.

After almost ten years involvement with a major label, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones returned to their independent roots in the new millennium. They signed a new recording contract with Los Angeles-based indie Side One Dummy Records, making their debut for the label in July 2002 with A Jackknife To A Swan.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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