A great deal of the groundwork for the mid- to late-’90s explosion of ska and ska-metal was laid by the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, who were one of the first bands to cross high-energy ska with hardcore punk and heavy metal and also helped shift its tone toward testosterone-filled party music. The Bosstones built up a devoted cult following throughout their career, but their level of commercial success never quite matched that of more pop-oriented third-wave ska bands, like No Doubt and Sublime, who followed in their wake; however, the band did achieve a long-overdue breakthrough in 1997 with the modern-rock radio smash “The Impression That I Get.”
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones formed in 1985 in Boston, featuring Tim Bridewell, Dicky Barrett (vocals), Nate Albert (guitar), Joe Gittleman (bass), Josh Dalsimer (drums), and Tim “Johnny Vegas” Burton (saxophone), plus dancer Ben Carr. While all the members shared a love of ska, their tastes also ran elsewhere; Barrett, in particular, was involved in the local straight-edge hardcore scene and played with a band called Impact Unit. Originally calling themselves simply the Bosstones, the group appended “Mighty Mighty” to their name after discovering a Boston-area a cappella group with an identical moniker. The group appeared on a ska compilation, but then disbanded temporarily to allow Albert to finish high school. In 1989, the Bosstones re-formed and recorded their debut album, Devil’s Night Out, which was released in 1990 on Taang! Records. The follow-up, 1992’s More Noise and Other Disturbances, saw several personnel shifts; Bridewell and Dalsimer departed, the latter to attend college, and the two were replaced by drummer Joe Sirois, saxophonist Kevin Lenear, and trombonist Dennis Brockenborough, a lineup that lasted through much of the band’s career. 1992 also saw the release of the Where’d You Go EP, which contained several hard rock covers.