It was 20 years ago the other day…
The 20th anniversary of the release of Let's Face It from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones has me mulling over the music I love and the weird, long, and convoluted route to it.
I think there's a longer post on this in me, but I can't seem to get it rolling straight. I blame PAX East and the demands of my cats after me spending the past few days at PAX East and the need to get back into the paying work.
For now: 20 years ago, this song became a thing all over the radio. Before you go any further, watch this (or at least listen):
I loved it, and when they played Radio 104 Fest that spring/ summer, I made a point of going. I do not know if it was the 1997 in Agawam, MA or the 1998 one in Hartford, CT. I'm moderately sure I went to both, or at least parts of them. Hey, it's been at least 19 years, and my collection of concert ticket stubs are in storage somewhere.
I'm still not sure who watched them with me; either Phred, the friend who'd loan me a few of their CDs until I got my own collection rolling, or Steve. I think Steve, because Phred made a point – several times – about how festivals never get the sound mix right for the Bosstones, so he usually skipped seeing them at festivals.
I remember it was a sunny day, and they played at like 2 in the afternoon – they said they had another gig that night in Texas. I remember sitting back a ways – I tend to like viewing things from a distance until I suss them out. Yeah. I don't know what I was thinking.
Steve (or Phred) got to answer my clever and insightful questions, like,
"Holy crap, are they all wearing suits?" (it was a pretty warm day as I recall)
"Wait, there's a guy just dancing up there."
"He's part of the band?"
The more I think about it, the more I think it *was* Steve, because Steve has this style of answering the simpler questions with as few words as possible. Not that these questions called for more than that. But still. I think it was Steve.
Not long after, Phred loaned me a few CDs. I'd be cross at Phred for not sharing this stuff with me sooner, but really, Phred listens to a lot of stuff I'm not so keen on.
Not long after, I spent the best $10 of my entire life when I found two Bosstones CDs for $4.99 each at a used CD place – Don't Know How to Party and Question the Answers. The 2 discs took up semi-permanent residence in my CD changer (yay for the 90s!). For several weeks, I listened to each of them almost every day – sometimes twice.
Don't Know How to Party remains one of my top 5 albums of all time – or in other words the 5 I'd want if I were on a desert island and could only have 5 CDs with me (never you mind the question of powering a CD player on a desert island). It's there with London Calling (the Clash), Little Earthquakes (Tori Amos), Hunky Dory (David Bowie), and Passion (Peter Gabriel). I like variety. And would really like to have at least 10 CDs on that desert island, please.
Question the Answers will always hold a special spot in my heart, but it was later bumped by Jackknife to a Swan as my 2nd favorite Bosstones album… which now has Pin Points & Gin Joints nipping at its heels. But really, each is freaking fantastic in its own way.
And with that, I gotta groove on some work and pre-blizzard provisions. More on music, shows, and the Bosstones later.
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author / artist rambles on about painting, writing, cats, punk rock, vampires, ska-core, mTBI, comics, and life in general.