During this years Mission Ready Festival in Giebelstadt in Germany we were able to catch up with Joe Gittleman, bassist from The Mighty Mighty Bosstones. We got to talk about touring, the new album and answer questions from fans of the Bosstones:
Keep reading to find out what Joe is up to when he’s not on tour with the Bosstones and what the future has in store for the band.
AFL: Great to see you guys. The European tour is coming to an end but you guys will be back soon, is that correct? Or will we have to wait another five years?
Joe: It’s been a long time since we were last here in Europe. We were here five years ago but only played two shows. I’m not really positive when. We are actively looking at our options and opportunities. We will be looking to come back next year at the latest. We will have short U.S. tour something like ten days, in August. When we get back, we are going to be playing The Bouncing Souls’s 30th anniversary bash in New Jersey the weekend after we get back.
AFL: What type of venue do you prefer, a large festival or small clubß
Joe: I would prefer any kind of venue where people are down to have a good time. Sometimes it’s a big festival and sometimes it’s a small club. To me, it’s largely about the energy, whether it’s a small crowd or large. As long as we can connect with the audience in a meaningful way. Otherwise I don’t care either way.
AFL: Last year you played at the benefit show for Jimmy G from the Band Murphy’s Law in Thompson square park in N.Y.C.. First off how is he doing? How long have you known him? Is there a possibility of Taking Murphy’s Law with you on tour in the future?
Joe: Well, I can think of a tour with Murphy’s Law, because we’ve done that tour. The very first tour we ever did of the Mid-West was opening up for Murphy’s Law. That was back in 1989. Jimmy took us to Chicago and he took us to Detroit. Really the first band to take us out of Boston was Murphy’s Law and we have been friends since then. I was friends with Jimmy when I was in Gang Green and we played with Murphy’s Law quite a bit. The Bosstones and Jimmy go way back and he has always been a friend to us. He performed on our very first record . He sang a duet with Dick on that record (Little Bit Ugly- The Devils Night Out). and we’ve been close ever since. We have also in his radio show with him in New York. There was no hesitation from any of us when the opportunity arose to help Jimmy out, It was an honor. I don’t know how he is right now I’m not up to date on his health issues, but from what I understand, things are heading in the right direction.
AFL: Last year you released your latest album „While We’re At It“ It’s been six or seven years since the last release. Has it achieved the success that you hoped for?
Joe: Yah, we don’t hope for very much success anymore. It is completely satisfying on an artistic level. We set out to make an adventurous record and we made a great record! To me that record will always be among our top three. What’s been nice is, that when we were in England, people knew the songs. So if people have been exposed to our music through Spotify or whatever, even if sales haven’t been great, then that is success. The people know our music.
AFL: Has it reached the achievement level of your album „Let’s Face It“?
Joe: God NO! Are you kidding me? Not even remotely close. We were a number one band. Look we’ve been a band for 30 years. There was one year when we had that „Let’s Face It“ thing going on and none of our records have come close to that one year.
AFL: One of my favorite songs off the new album “While We’re At IT“ is the song „In Honor Of“. When I listen to the song I think to myself Music can be a powerful tool and platform to get your message across. Do you think that the youth of today are more interested in what’s actually being said in the lyrics or are they more interested in just the way a particular song sounds?
Joe: I think that our messages on that record when we play live are largely understood and appreciated.
AFL: As the bassist, what’s more important for you the music (beat) or the lyrics?
Joe: For me a song is a combination of the beat, lyrics and melody the way it harmonizes, it’s a combination. One element, on its own isn’t really going to do the same as, the combined energy can deliver. What I find inspirational is the way things combine. I would say that on the Album „While We’re At It“ we worked on it remotely. Dicky was in L.A. and I was in Cape Cod, MASS. We communicated daily and sent demos electronically and all that kind of stuff. He definitely writes the kind of lyrics that makes me excited to write songs. So the lyrics and the message behind the lyrics on their own have more weight than certainly just a beat.
AFL: On our web site we let our readers know we would do an interview with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, so the following questions are from our readers.
Joe: Ok, thats cool.
AFL: Can you live off the income that the The Mighty Mighty Bosstones generates?
Joe: If we decided we want to Tour like we used to, we could certainly. But we all currently have different things going on in our lives that take us away from Bosstones. It takes up a piece of our personal lives. When we tour, we are really excited to do it. There was a time when we played 300 gigs a year. It’s hard to maintain enthusiasm touring like that. I like the way we do it now in that we get to have personal and professional lives. And still deliver high quality shows. The answer in short would be, we certainly could live off the music if we wanted to get back on the road and tour like we used to. But then there would be only time for that and nothing else. Right now that’s not really our goal.
AFL: Do the band members have other jobs or musical projects outside of the Bosstones?
Joe: Yes, for instance I’m a college Professor. I started the music business program at Vermont State Collage ten years ago. I am now the Chair of the Music and Performing Arts Department. A tenured faculty member and still teaching. Dicky is the announcer of the Jimmy Kimmel Show in L.A.. Our Sax player Tim works in the film business as a production coordinator. Our Sax player Leon He’s part of the „Tennessee Kids“, the backing band, and tours with Justin Timberlake. He is also a sought after studio musician and on call for studios in L.A.. There is a wide variety of professions in the band.
AFL: How difficult is it to leave your family, job, private life and go on tour? Do you get homesick?
Joe: The biggest difficulty these days is coordination of the nine band members who all have different things going on. Knowing far enough in advance and doing proper planning. It’s still the same for us. Things haven’t changed much over the years. It’s certainly easier to maintain connections back home than when we first started early 90’s pre cellphone and internet so it’s different that way. Otherwise still on the bus and the same old joke but a different decade.
AFL: What is your favorite cover song to play?
Joe: On this tour we’ve been playing the song „I Can See Clearly Now“ by Johnny Nash, and „Simmer Down“ by Bob Marley is another one that we really like. We have done so many over the years, a lot of Hardcore and Punk covers.
AFL: How long do we have to wait for the next album?
Joe: I don’t really know. Thats a good question. I’m really confident that there will be one at some point. In truth we haven’t even toured that much with the newest album. I think that we still have to do some more work on the road to promote the record. For me the record is still too fresh and we’ve only played about 30 shows since it came out.
AFL: Where does your dancer Ben Carr get his energy?
Joe: Good question. I really don’t know. You’d have to ask him.
AFL: Do you know the band Distemper and any possibility of playing some shows or doing a tour with them?
Joe: Yes, and it’s come up before. Their name has come up, there is a possibility sure.
AFL: Thanks for the Interview. Any last words?
Joe: No, I think we covered it all. Good to meet you.