While the commerical certainly helped the BossTones to get ther foot in the door, it was the band's frenzied live shows that kept fans coming back for more. The eight-person ensemble-Joe Gittleman (bass), Timothy Burton (saxophone), Nate Albert (guitars), Joe Sirois (drums), Dennis Brockenborough (trombone), Kevin Lenear (saxophone), Ben Carr (Bosstone) and Dicky Barrett (vocals) - have earned a reputation as one of the hardest touring (and partying) bands in the business by playing 200+ showsevery year.
Recently I caught up with the BossTones' maniacal madman Dicky Barrett, just days before the band was about to embark on this Summer's Lollapalooza tour.
Sean: So how did the band get hooked up with the whole Lollapalooza thing?
Dicky: We were asked and then we thought it over for about five seconds and said "Hey you know, we don't really have anything to do for the Summer."
Sean: How's the money, was that a factor that influenced the band's decision?
Dicky: It's not really money, to be totally honest we do better on our own. We're not getting rich any way that we turn, but we do better when we tour on our own.
Sean: What's the band's goal, if there is one, in performing at Lollapalooza
Dicky: Our goal is to have an easy Summer. We just did four to five years of hard touring. When I say hard, it's not really hard, it's still a lot of love and a labor of love. We are also trying to write our new album, and we usually have a hard time doing that on the road, but this tour allows us to do that. Plus we go to every major market and we play to more people than we have every played to before. It's an experience and we're not sure what we're really going to get out of it. So we're going to go about by doing what we normally do and trying to do new things, which is a huge part of it.
Sean: The BossTones have been known as more of a live band than a studio band in
the past, do you still believe that to be true?
Dicky: I think we're pretty good live and I think that we're starting to get pretty good in the studio too. But, it's not the same animal. I love them both in different ways.
Sean: What do you mean different ways?
Dicky: Live you are able to go out there and kick...you can get out a lot of aggression. While in the studio you feel very creative, whether you are or not I don't know (laughs) but you feel that way.
Sean: One of the things that I admire most about the BossTones is that you
have never really abandoned your roots. You still play out at small venues in Boston and often time
showcase with various Boston local bands.
Dicky: That's the way that Boston is, it's a very incestuous musical community. I definitely believe in Boston, I think that there is a lot of great music there. And that's the place that we live, so we get a good chance to see bands there.
Sean: You said earlier that the BossTones have been working on a new album, how's
that coming along?
Dicky: This tour that we have coming up this Summer has definitely freed us up so that we could write and have it be fun, unlike the pressures of a deadline kind of thing.
Sean: I've heard that the band also plan to release a new EP in upcoming weeks.
What's the story behind that?
Dicky: Actually an EP is coming out, but don't go crazy looking for it. Mercury is going to solder it or scotch tape it, or stick staples through the desk to the Question the Answers CD. It's just a lot of B-sides and stupid things that we did in the studio. We just put it out for the hell of it, we had all of these songs lying around and decided to clean house. We had all these shitty songs lying around and decided to put them on it. The record label wanted to do it sort of as a celebration of the Lollapalooza festival and so we said "What the hell." They kind of said "The BossTones are going to Lollapalooza, what are we going to do?" And so I said "Alright you can put out this collection of B-sides and shitty BossTones experiments in the studio." It's not our next project, I did the artwork for the cover, slapped it on it and we collected these songs that for one reason or another haven't made it on any BossTones albums.
Sean: One of the cool things about the band is that the BossTones are involved
in almost all aspects of the records, not just recording but also the artwork and other
things. It's especially evident with the vinyl picture disk LPs on Big Rig.
Dicky: I think that it comes from being fans of music before we were ever making music. It was more of what did we like when we were buying music and even now. And it's not hard, it's just as easy and a lot more fun to make something just a little more special and something a little cooler. And we have been doing it ever since we started out when we recorded that Where did you go? EP of heavy metal covers.
Sean: Recently I saw a trailer for the movie Clueless about high school kids
in Beverly Hills and I noticed that the BossTones are in the movie. How did that
Dicky: Like Lollapalooza, they asked us to do it and we said "What would we have to do?", and they said "You have to pretend that you're the BossTones." So we said "Okay we can do that. We've been doing that for the past five years."
Sean: So now that you guys are all big movie stars and have millions of
dollars, what's next?
Dicky: Screen, stage and recording stars, you name it (laughs). We're going to buy helicopters and yachts. (then with sincerity) I expect (at Lollapalooza) to go out there and do 45 minutes of BossTones shtick and have a lot of fun.