When it comes to ska music Boston’s own The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are legendary. Their signature sound has constantly kept them at the top of their game. In 2018 the band are celebrating the release of their 10th studio album titled While We’re At It. We were lucky enough to catch up with vocalist Dicky Barrett to learn more abut the album.
 
SCENEzine
Firstly huge congrats on your new album it’s awesome from start to finish. You must be proud of how it turned out and it must be surreal to release your 10th album?
 
Dicky Barrett
It thrills me to hear that, we put a lot into While We’re At It. Like time, thought, blood, sweat, tears, our hearts. We are in fact quite proud of it, top to bottom. And “surreal” is a great word for every aspect of everything The Mighty Mighty BossToneS have ever done. A pint of “surreal” with shot of “highly unlikely” but yet here we are.
 
SCENEzine
One of our favourites from the album is “Wonderful Day For The Race”. How did that one come about?
 
Dicky Barrett
The lyrics for that song came from something my father would always say to me when I was a dumb kid. “Dicky, it’s a wonderful day for the race!” he’d say, and every time my brain would try to figure out what “race” he was referring to – some horse race? The Boston Marathon? did he want to race me? “what race?!” I would ask, and real quick he’d respond “kid, the human race!” It always made me feel good and a little stupid. The song is about being insignificant but being comfortable being that way. As long as we have this day and each other then things are pretty wonderful.
 

 

SCENEzine
Another track we are loving is “Green Bay, Wisconsin”. Did that song come together pretty quickly in the writing process?

Dicky Barrett
With that song we wanted to do a few different things. We wanted to write the quintessential modern day Ska song that pays full respect to all of the different Ska “waves”. We wanted it to tell a story in very specific detail. We wanted what was going on to be crystal clear and not convoluted, so what was happening almost ends up sounding like product placement (make no mistake about it she drank A pint of Guinness Stout and wore matte black Beats By Dre) but it also had to feel lyrical and poetic. We wanted it to be a Ska story with a female lead set smack dab in the middle of the United States. She had to make decisions and choices with no apologies, regrets, shame, or remorse – just like The Mighty Mighty BossToneS. Lastly it needed to rip and open the album and say “we’re going on a journey, strap in!”

 

 

SCENEzine
The album artwork is incredible. How did you decide what you wanted for the artwork?

Dicky Barrett
For the artwork I usually come up with concepts and combinations that may or may not have anything to do with the music. For instance our last album, the ironically titled “The Magic Of Youth” the concept was Saul Bass meets Hanna Barbera meets PT Barnum. With “While We’re At It” the vibe was the 1970’s/Peter Maxx/School House Rocks. I wanted it to depict, convey and represent many of the milestones, events and world changing moments that took place in the last 50 years combined with things that appeal to and interest us along with BossTone-centric images as well.

 

 

SCENEzine
You’ve pressed the album on some limited coloured vinyl. Are you a collector of vinyl or fan of the sound of vinyl yourself?
 
Dicky Barrett
Our drummer collects vinyl and I have other friends that collect as well – I understand and appreciate the importance of it. We don’t want to make a shitty quality product. I’m a fan of classic, old school anything. In the golden age of records when people made albums to be listened to (primarily) as a complete thought and everything that it encompassed – which one should I buy, the artwork being big enough to stare at while you listened, the end of Side A, the snap crackle and pops that you tried not to add to – I’m a fan of that stuff for sure.
 
SCENEzine
How was the experience of getting to play Punk Rock Bowling 20th anniversary in Vegas this year?
 
Dicky Barrett
We love that event. The Stern Brothers of Youth Brigade fame are the guys who came up with it 20 years ago. They are not only nice people they also not what they’re doing.
 
SCENEzine
Sadly the world recently lost The Adolescents bass player Steve Soto. Did you get the chance to tour with The Adolescents much over the years?  
 
Dicky Barrett
Sadly is right. I knew Steve quite well. The BossToneS toured and played with a different band Steve was in called 22 Jacks. Steve was as sweet and as nice a person as everyone is saying he is on social media. Stood with him at Punk Rock Bowling and we watched The Swinging Utters together. I like so many was gutted when he passed.
 
SCENEzine
Lastly to this day one of my favourite gigs is seeing Mighty Mighty Bosstones at Metro Sydney Australia back in 1998. Do you have any memories of that tour and do you think you will make it back to Australia someday?
 
Dicky Barrett 
All of my Australian memories are fond ones and we hope to be back there real soon.
 
(interview by Christian Ross)
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