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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | ROCKTALK

Boston's Mighty Mighty Bosstones Hit Ventura

The band will play its punk-powered ska Sunday night at the Ventura Theatre.

September 26, 1996|BILL LOCEY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Doing a lot better than the Red Sox are, Boston's Mighty Mighty Bosstones will bring their animated version of punk-powered ska to energize the dance floor at the Ventura Theatre on Sunday night.

Opening the $12.50, 8 p.m. show will be the Pie Tasters and 22 Jacks, featuring nobody named Jack.

Before they took on adjectives, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones started out as just the Bosstones (from Boston, get it?). As it turned out, there was already a '50s a cappella group called the Bosstones.

Thus, they changed their handle to the Mighty Bosstones--but, yup--there was one of those as well. So they went into reruns for the second time. Only by becoming doubly Mighty did the band assure its temporary immortality.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones released their first album in 1990 and now have a total of four (No. 5 is due early next year) plus a couple of EPs and a bunch of compilation appearances.

They participated in Lollapalooza last summer, appeared on the "Clueless" soundtrack and just finished up the Vans Warped Tour. Due in record stores next month is a compilation featuring 16 Boston bands, a project to benefit a number of Bay State battered women's shelters. Mighty mighty busy, it seems.

And busiest of all is front man Dicky Barrett, fully as energetic as an entire slate of Sunday NFL games, and who will probably use up every bit of the big stage at the venue. And then there's that voice, part gravel and smoke. Barrett makes James Earl Jones seem like Tiny Tim by comparison, and Calvin Coolidge like a motor mouth.

"Dude, there's no formula for this. If there was, I'd have seven other Bosstones," Barrett said about the band's approach.

The band used to be the answer to a rock 'n' roll trivia question: What has 16 legs and wears plaid? At one point a hyperactive octet dressed solely in plaid, the band has since expanded its sartorial horizons.

"Plaid is always in our hearts," said Barrett, "but now there's so many other things to wear."

Originally a ska band, the Bosstones added some punk and some thrash to what one of their early bios aptly described as " . . . a bizarre sort of cross between the English Beat and Megadeth."

These days, it's a bit more of the latter than the former, as things have taken a turn for the harder. "We're definitely ska-influenced, but it's a bastardized ska," said Barrett.

Driving around in a big bus, wearing plaid, checks, stripes or even a Celtic T-shirt clearly beats the alternative for Barrett.

"This is so much fun and a lot easier than getting up every morning to roof houses," he said.

*

Opening for the Plimsouls at Nicholby's on Friday night will be another band you've never heard of, at least not yet. Frosted has sprung from the Go-Go's, a band that seems to resurface from time to time. It is Jane Wiedlin's new gig, except this time instead of three girls, she's got three guys as bandmates.

On the band bio, Wiedlin notes that it isn't that difficult adjusting to the all-male band. " . . . Really there isn't a big difference, except that I had to get used to women being talked about in the most crass fashion, which I don't have a problem with because in the Go-Go's we did the same thing but we were talking about men."

Frosted's debut album, "Cold," is just out on Geffen and it's an engaging slice of pop-punk rock, all written by Wiedlin, with the exception of the four she co-wrote with former Go-Go Charlotte Caffey.

Think twice about buying Wiedlin a beer or that Ginsu knife set for Christmas. From the first song, "Dis-Integrated," comes a sample line: " . . . One thing's for sure, I've had my fill and I don't wanna play king of the hill. I just get drunk and think about the people I'm gonna kill. Look what being nice got me."

So much for the Quietest Go-Go theory. The 9 p.m. show will set you back $7. The venue is at 404 E. Main St. in Ventura. Call Nicholby's at 653-2320.

*

Saturday night at the same venue, there's another interesting opener, Afreaka Nature, containing no former members of the Go-Go's. Afreaka Nature is a five-piece outfit that plays soul, funk, jazz, blues and rock, all of which serves as a danceable backdrop to the powerful vocals of Marvette Williams.

The band has been around for three years and would presumably love to sell you a copy of its new five-song tape at this 9 p.m. $5 show. Afreaka Nature will open for Papa-Nata, local dance floor packers deluxe.

Papa-Nata will be doing the road trip party bus thing Friday night. For $10 you get a ride to the Roxy in Hollywood, see the band and get all the beer you can drink. The bus leaves from the Beach Hut, located at Seaward Avenue and Pierpont Boulevard in Ventura. Call 339-5683 to find out more.

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