Mighty Mighty Bosstones Hometown Throwdown reaches its sweet 16

Dicky Barrett is pictured here performing with the Bosstones on the Common this summer. He says he went to a number of Concerts on the Common shows in his younger days. "I have pictures of me, very inebriated at a UB40 Concert on the Common," he says. "It's not difficult to find pictures of me, inebriated though."
Dicky Barrett is pictured here performing with the Bosstones on the Common this summer. He says he went to a number of Concerts on the Common shows in his younger days. “I have pictures of me, very inebriated at a UB40 Concert on the Common,” he says. “It’s not difficult to find pictures of me, inebriated though.” (Credit: Boston Globe)

Dicky Barrett meets a lot of famous people at his day-job as announcer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” But the Bosstones singer says he’s more comfortable meeting people in the sports world than the music world.

“Because in sports, the lines are clear,” he reasons. “The best in the world in sports are the best in the world. There’s no gray area. … If Bono is in the big leagues, and he’s Michael Jordan — and that can be argued — then what is Miley Cyrus, who is now the biggest star in the world? In sports, these people are in the big leagues because they deserve to be in the big leagues. It’s not always so with music.”

Barrett had a taste of the music big leagues himself, with the Bosstones’ 1997 album, “Let’s Face It” reaching platinum level. But lately the ska punk band has become a semi-annual celebration rather than a non-stop touring unit.

“Should I have ever been in the pros?” Barrett muses. “I was happy to be there and happy to make the records I made.”

But Barrett also seems happy to get together with the guys when there’s less pressure. They played once earlier this year, on the Boston Common, which Barrett says “was pretty epic,” and they’re continuing their tradition of playing a series of holiday shows at their 16th Annual Hometown Throwdown later this month. Leading up to gigs, band members, who are spread out across the country, rehearse on their own, before they all get together to cram for the show.

“[Bassist] Joe Gittleman will send me the setlist, what he thinks we should be playing, and the songs we should be doing for the Throwdown,” says Barrett. “I load up an iPod, and then just crank it into my head for a month and it puts me right back on the page of what I’m supposed to do.”

There was one time when it took a little bit longer to get on that page though.

“The hiatus we took about seven years ago when we were off for about five years and didn’t do any shows, I really had to reintroduce myself to all of the lyrics,” he says. “I’m not at a place where I want to have cue cards or any kind of prompter or somebody feeding me the lyrics.”

Dicky on Jimmy
This year was a big one for the Bosstones singer’s boss: Jimmy Kimmel. The show moved to an earlier time slot, ratings have soared, successful bits have gone viral and the show has also seen its share of controversy in 2013. Barrett says it’s been a fun ride.

“After close to 10 years now, we’re going to actually be in the bigs now,” he says. “And that never really happened before. I had no idea when I first came out here. And I think Jimmy’s really talented, but think of how many late night talk shows have fizzled out, from Chevy Chase to Joan Rivers and on and on. What’s the shelf life, and how long do they last? And Jimmy’s definitely made it through.”


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