Concerts

Dicky Barrett of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones Juggles the Band and Jimmy Kimmel

See The Mighty Mighty Bosstones on Saturday.
See The Mighty Mighty Bosstones on Saturday. Lisa Johnson
Despite having a pretty full schedule with his day job, Dicky Barrett still has time to front, write, record and tour with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. Creating a mix of ska, rock, punk, metal and pop, the Boston nine-piece has been around since the early 1980s. The members made a name for themselves in the ’90s, and they really have no reason to quit these days.

Four nights a week, you hear Barrett as the voice announcer for ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. When he’s available during the show’s various hiatuses, he spends his time with The Bosstones. Their latest album, While We’re at It, was released a few weeks ago.

“It seems to be the proper balance,” Barrett says via phone a few hours before taping an episode. “It seems to work out well.”

Barrett landed the gig by chance. The Bosstones took a break from touring for a few years, so Barrett got into voice work for TV and radio to stay busy. When the band got back into touring, he found a way to serve all of his masters. He considers his bandmates his best friends and says they have a great time together.

The Bosstones have been through Dallas quite a bit, and while Barrett can’t recall a particular show that sticks out in his brain, he only has kind words about the city.

“It’s always a great place to play,” he says. “People seem to know their rock and roll in that town. There’s a lot of great history. It’s not a pretentious place, but it doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. It’s got a real good head on its shoulders, and I can’t say that about the entire state of Texas. I’m not gonna point fingers and name names, but the city of Dallas seems to be level-headed.”

The band came through quite a bit with the Warped Tour, and Barrett doesn’t speak ill of the tour that started in 1995 and will wrap up this summer. His band is on its own headlining tour, but he doesn’t rule out playing a Warped date before the end of the summer.

“We couldn’t really do enough of those Warped Tour shows to make it interesting to the people that put it on,” Barrett says. “I think there’s a possibility we may show up and do some places unannounced.”

As a member of a band that played the Warped Tour when it was more about punk rock than pop and metalcore, Barrett understands that things change. He saw it with the hardcore scene of his youth yet stayed involved in his own way.

“Warped Tour became something different,” Barrett says. “It didn’t hold a lot of interest for me. It has the right to be whatever it wants to be. It’s Kevin Lyman’s baby and his brainchild. It’s given me a lot of joy, and I’ve had a lot of great times being out on the Warped Tour. But things change, as did we and as did it.”

The appeal of punk rock has lasted for a few decades. Barrett doesn’t begrudge people who were born after he got into hardcore and punk. The same applies to anyone who comes to The Bosstones' shows.

“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t care when people signed onto punk rock,” he says. “In the ’80s, the ’90s [or] the 2000s. Some of it, because it’s existed for so long, is great. And some of it sucks. Just because you put that label and branded it that doesn’t mean it’s any good. Certainly as time goes on, it gets watered down ... and then it circles back to ‘Who gives a shit?’ If you have a passion for music and rock and roll and punk rock in its best and truest form, then I don’t care when you joined up.”

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones play House of Blues on Saturday, July 7.
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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs