When Dicky Barrett heard the mixes for The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ forthcoming album, While We’re at It, he knew exactly which song would kick it off—the upbeat “Green Bay, Wisconsin.”
The track—about a Midwestern ska girl who trades her supermarket job for the Viva Lake Geneva Scooter Rally—enthusiastically kicks opens the album’s door.
“The thing about that song is it’s an unapologetic, full-bore ska song,” says the Bosstones’ frontman, who also serves as the announcer on Jimmy Kimmel Live! “We’re even stealing and borrowing ska references on top of it. It has product placement in it, too.
“We hold ska in such high regard. It’s a holy thing to us. We wanted to open our 10th album with the most ska song we could come up with. Once I heard the complete version, I said this is how it’s going to start and everything else after it is icing on this ska cake.”
The Bosstones are known mixing elements of ska with punk and hardcore on hits like “The Impression That I Get” and “The Rascal King.” They continue that sound on While We’re at It.
“Whenever we need ska music, it’s like you hit the ska signal and it returns,” Barrett says. “There are a handful of great ska records coming out this year. The Interrupters have an album coming out, which I’ve heard and it’s exceptional. The Mad Caddies have a record coming out about the same time. It’s a great-sounding record as well.”
Barrett’s love of ska isn’t the sole inspiration. He loves writing and needs to do it.
“I enjoy writing and I enjoy blacksmithing words together,” he says. “I’m already in the process of writing the next album. I come up with an idea or thought and write it down. The guys get the music together and I’ll try to see what I have that fits.”
If it doesn’t fit, Barrett simply tosses it aside.
“If it’s too hard for me, I just walk away from it. Let that be a lesson for the kids,” Barrett says laughing. “I don’t write under any kind of a deadline. That’s a luxury.”
Barrett finds time to write songs around his Jimmy Kimmel day job. However, he’s still obsessed with anything from his hometown of Boston.
“The Red Sox have given me a great deal of joy since 2004,” Barrett says. “I love the way they took this year. They came out of the gate on fire. I really love anything Boston, including the Boston Strangler.”
Mighty Mighty Bosstones w/Los Kung Fu Monkeys and Buster Shuffle, The Van Buren, 401 W. Van Buren Street, Phoenix, thevanburenphx.com, 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 3, $27.