Inspired equally by the English 2-tone ska movement and the early ’80s Boston hardcore scene, frontman Dickie Barrett (Impact Unit), bassist Joe Gittleman (Gang Green) and the rest of the plaid-clad Bosstones rose from playing shows where the octet onstage outnumbered the crowds at the Rathskeller and The Channel to becoming one of the city’s most beloved rock institutions. (Originally the Bosstones, the group supersized their name to avoid confusion with an Eisenhower-era doo-wop group.) While their “ska-core” approach initially alienated both ska and hardcore purists on a handful of early ’90s albums for Taang! Records, the group found friendly ears in the post-Nirvana Alternative Nation boom, appearing in the 1995 film Clueless, playing the main stage at Lollapalooza ’95, opening the door for the likes of No Doubt and Sublime and, most importantly, recording two enduring albums for Mercury, 1994’s Question the Answers (featuring “Pictures to Prove It” and “Hell of a Hat”) and ’97’s platinum effort Let’s Face It (“The Impression That I Get”, “The Rascal King”).
While the band’s recorded output has slowed in the 21st century, with members working on various side projects, and Barrett in Los Angeles serving as the bandleader for ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live, the band still found time to tour with the Dropkick Murphys in 2008 and continues their infamous “Hometown Throwdown” shows — the 13th installment is set for three nights in December 2010 at the House of Blues.
(by Stephen Haag)
Published on December 28, 2012