Lead guitarist Lawrence Katz digs the
musical freedom and the clothes
as a new member of an established band.
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lthough Lawrence Katz did-
n't aspire to become a pro-
fessional musician, he
appreciates his big gig as
the sultan of strings in the Mighty
"I had a lot of gigs where I didn't
have much musical freedom," recalls
the alternative-rock act's lead gui-
tarist, "but witEthe -Bosstones, it's
not like I'm playing a gig. I'm part
of the band."
fer the most part, "it feels great,"
notes the 32-year-old Jewish musician
who replaced popular Bosstones guitar
star Nate Albert two years ago.
And it has been that long since the
eight-man combo issued a new studio
album — until the recently released A
Jackknife to a Swan:
To promote the new CD, Katz, lead
singer Dicky Barrett, Jewish-born
bassist Joe Gittleman, drummer Joe
Sirois, stage dancer Ben Carr and their
three-piece horn section are on the
final leg of a seven-week U.S. tour that
is scheduled to stop at Detroit's St.
Andrew's Hall on Dec. 3.
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Reservations taken for 8 or more
Taking time out from a dizzying
tour itinerary of more than 200
dates a year at home and in Britain
and Australia, the Boston-based
Bosstones recorded A Jackknife to a
Swan in Boston, in only three
The CD earned Katz his first
recording credentials as well as co-
songwriting credits on five of 13
tracks, including the intriguing "Mr.
One of several standout cuts, the
number takes its title from Mafia
turncoat "Sammy the Bull"
Gravano, who used the alias name
"Moran" in giving testimony against
mob leader John Gotti and the
Gambino crime organization.
Band founder and principal lyri-
cist Barrett has always had a fascina-
tion with mobster stories and the
song's origin was his, Katz revealed,
underscoring that his own contribu-
tion was the musical aspect.
A Jackknife to a Swan is the
group's debut delivery on the inde-
pendent SideOneDummy label, fol-
lowing almost a decade of major
exposure on Mercury Records.
Under Mercury's wings, the
Bosstones became well-known,
hardcore heroes of the ska-funk-
punk genre. In 2000, the affiliation
ended with the release of the album
"I actually joined the band just
after Pay Attention was recorded,"
Katz explains. "I was living in Los
Angeles when I got the gig. Their
manager knew a friend of mine and
it was kind of a referral thing. I
learned six tunes, flew out to Boston
and they hired me on the spot.".
Ironically, Katz is pictured on Pay
Attention, but it was wholly Albert's
swan song, he adds. According to
Katz, Albert left the group to finish
college and now heads a new band
called the Kickovers.
However, confronting his prede-
cessor's 15-year history with the
Bosstones made anticipating fan
reaction to his own contributions a
major concern for Katz.
"Joe Gittleman told me that since
it was now my gig, all I had to do
was own it," Katz says. "I jumped
in, after a lot of the groundwork
had been done.
"I saw my biggest challenge as the
ability to step in and do what
[Nate] did, as well as try to put a
little bit of myself into it. Naturally,
I think some of the new blood on
the new record comes through and
sounds different," he says.
The whole goal of the latest ven-
ture was to go in and capture "a lot
of raw energy, as opposed to a
picked-over, rather meticulous, over-
produced record," Katz says.