After years of ruling the concert stage with their highly influential
ska-rock sound, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones have decided to venture into
the arena of live recordings with an LP taken from a series
of memorable hometown gigs.
Singer Dicky Barrett of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones said he initially
didn't want to make this album, entitled Live From The Middle East,
or any other live album. His feeling was that the band's live sound was
best left to the
concert stage and had no place on a stereo.
"I was against it," Barrett said. "I think this one came out really good,
but I always felt like the Bosstones' live experience was supposed to be
just that, left live. You have to use all five senses to fully understand
what's going on, but the album came out good."
However, now that the record is complete and ready for a Sept. 22 release, the
ska-rock band's boisterous frontman said he doesn't think that it's such a bad
idea after all.
The Bosstones' first live LP attempts to go a long way toward capturing
the octet's frantic live show. It was recorded over five nights at a former
bowling alley and current club called The Middle East as part of the
Bosstones' annual "Hometown Throwdown" -- a series of Boston club shows
that the ska act puts on as a means of giving something back to longtime fans.
"It's kind-of like a huge, week-long adrenaline rush," Barrett said. "The
kids go off. We're toe to toe. We're face to face. We're eyeball to
eyeball, and everyone kind-of goes ballistic."
Fans such as 20-year-old Dan Gavin, a student at Rutgers University and a
resident of New Brunswick, N.J., say they have long craved a live
recording of the Bosstones' ska-core sound.
"I am looking forward to the album," Gavin said, "because I've always felt
that the Bosstones' live performances had not only far exceeded the quality
of their albums but also distinguished them from other bands long before
their recent popularity.
"Although no piece of recorded media could capture the essence of one of
the Bosstones' concerts, I do feel that this upcoming album is a dream come
Pulling liberally from the Bosstones' 1997 breakthrough LP, Let's Face
It, the live LP includes tracks such as the simmering "Royal Oil" (RealAudio excerpt),
"The Rascal King" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Let's Face It." It also features tunes from their
five previous albums, including the
early hit "Someday I Suppose," which was featured in the film "Clueless."
The Bosstones formed in Boston in 1985. On Live From The Middle
East, the band's lineup consists of Barrett, guitarist Nate Albert,
bassist Joe Gittleman, saxophonist Tim Burton, drummer Joe Sirois,
trombonist Dennis Brockenborough, former saxophonist Kevin Lenear and
designated dancer Ben Carr, who, Barrett mentioned, does not translate well
in the live recording.
Despite enjoying the live recording in its present form, Barrett was
disappointed about some aspects of the LP.
"My inability to actually hold a note, my foul mouth," he said. "That's one
thing I'm kind-of bummed about. It sounds like I have Tourette's for God's
sake. I'm going to try and keep this one away from my mom.
"The word f--- is pretty prominent. That might be the most used word, at
least ... I think it was. This is like the only Bosstones album where I'm a
little bit excited that there's going to be a Wal-Mart version available."
The complete track-listing is: "1-2-8," "Do Somethin' Crazy," "He's Back,"
"Devil's Night Out," "Kinder Words," "Noise Brigade," "The Rascal King,"
"Hell of a Hat," "Holy Smoke," "Hope I Never Lose My Wallet," "I'll Drink
To That," "Royal Oil," "Cowboy Coffee," "Drums & Chickens," "Let's Face
It," "HOWWHYWUZ, HOWWHYAM," "Dr. D," "Where'd You Go," "737," "Someday I
Suppose" and "Lights Out."