Volume 91, Issue 83

Friday, March 6, 1998

100 bottles of beer


Bosstones counting into the millions

©Danny Clinch
HI, WE WUZ WONDERIN' IF 'DERS ANY ONE OF YOUSE GUYZ GOT A PROBLEM WIT US. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones looking like a pack of well-dressed thugs are coming to frighten your children this Sunday at the NAC with Pietasters.

By Carey Weinberg

Gazette Staff

It's natural for a guy coming from an original six hockey town to begin an interview with talk about the Bruins, even if he's supposed to be discussing the state of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' recent success.

With popularity comes hectic touring schedules, interviews every 15 minutes, television spots followed by extended tours.

Fresh off the Warped tour which took the Bostonians through the Pacific Rim – New Zealand, Australia and Japan – the band recorded a video for Sesame Street's 30th anniversary show "Elmopalooza." A sure-fire measure of any entertainers' success is when they are on the Simpson's or Sesame Street.

Yet, life in the limelight hasn't made much difference to the Bosstones' day to day routine sax player Johnny Vegas says. "We make all the decisions, I'm still living in a dumpy little house in Cambridge with a couple of guys from the band. The biggest difference is that we get asked to do a lot more television and high-profile projects like that. It comes down to TV programmers who are numbers people and when they see you've sold one million records, that turns into 'x' amount of viewers. So, as a result, we've done SNL, Letterman and Conan O'Brian," claims Vegas.

More viewers means being a band in expansion mode in terms of hitting the world with their brand of ska-punk and the Warped tour gave the Bosstones a look at the vibe abroad. "Australia's very laid back. They've got 15 million people in an area the size of the U.S., so they just don't have a rat-race vibe going on," which Vegas enjoyed, yet the rat-race environment is exactly what goes into creating the Bosstone drive.

This will be the first cross-Canada tour for the Beantown boys who blew the P.A. last time they did the urban romp through the Forest City. The band has marked their territory to be sure, before 'third wave ska' grabbed a major chunk of the music industry.

"As a young band we played the big cities and every ska, rude-boy and skin-head in town would come check us out," Vegas says of the early days.

They stuck it out and didn't deviate from the sound that's driven them to record six albums. The mainstream finally caught up with them and they now have a legion of new fans. "And the wonderful thing about it is a lot of our older fans say it sounds like our older stuff." Keeping their older fans is a testimony to the loyalty the band has to their sound and the voice they've been cultivating for the better part of 10 years.

"The only criteria we've had is that we continue to have fun with it and continue to get better as musicians and as a band," claims Vegas. When they started out, ska-punk did not exist as a genre per-se. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones helped pioneer the sound with bands like Fishbone. "When we first heard of Fishbone we were really psyched that there was someone out there trying to do something along the same lines [as us] and actually succeeding where we were failing in the early days," Vegas adds with a laugh. "We were failing in the early days because we simply didn't have the chops yet, I mean god, we were between the ages of 14 and 21 still finishing high school – it was fun to go out and play in some punk rock band on weekends and dump beer on our heads, jump around and have our friends laugh at us."

A temporary split for the boys allowed them to learn their chops and finish learning their ABC's (which enables them to play Sesame Street gigs now). "When we got back together just for kicks and found we could actually play songs and make them sound good. That's when we went into the studio and recorded Devil's Night Out in a couple of days."

Vegas offers this as the secret ingredient for their success: "I think we're models of hard work paying off, as tacky as that is to say. We're basically working class guys who got better at our craft – there's no genius involved."

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright © The Gazette 1998