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Ex-Bosstones singer Dicky Barrett joins ‘Defeat the Mandates’ rally in Los Angeles

Dicky Barrett performs with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones at the House of Blues in December 2019. The band broke up in February.Ben Stas for The Boston Globe/The Boston Globe

When the Mighty Mighty Bosstones abruptly broke up in February, singer Dicky Barrett’s involvement in an anti-vaccination rally was said to be the reason.

So maybe it’s not a surprise that Barrett’s first time back on stage was at an anti-vaccination rally.

Barrett was among a slew of speakers and performers at a “Defeat the Mandates” event in Los Angeles last weekend, joining TV commentator Lara Logan, who recently lost her job on Fox News for comparing Dr. Anthony Fauci to Nazi doctor Josef Mengele; Dr. Robert Malone, a COVID-vaccine skeptic who’s claimed Americans are being “hypnotized” through “mass psychosis”; and anti-vaxx crusader Robert F. Kennedy Jr.


Protesters join hands at the "Defeat the Mandates" rally outside Los Angeles City Hall Sunday.Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press

Barrett, wearing a blue suit and necktie and backed by Grant Ellman on acoustic guitar, performed two reggae songs, both with conspiratorial overtones. The first included the lyric: “We’re not trying to misinform you/We’re only trying to warn you.” The second, a blatant copy of Graham Nash’s 1971 classic, “Chicago,” included the lyric: “Won’t you please come out to protest/Let Gates and Fauci have a taste.” (There’s a discredited conspiracy theory that Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is using vaccines to implant microchips in people.)

When the song, produced by Barrett, was previously used in a video promoting an anti-vaxx rally organized by Kennedy in January, Nash let it be known he was not happy. Indeed, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer demanded the 68-year-old son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy stop using the song and condemned Kennedy’s anti-vaccination rhetoric.

Ellman, who backed Barrett at the rally, is a member of a duo called Prezence, which formed last fall “to speak truth to power in a time of universal deceit,” according to their website. In the days since the LA rally, photos of Barrett have appeared on Instagram, including one taken of him backstage with fellow rocker and COVID-vaccine unbeliever Joseph Arthur.


The former Bosstones frontman hasn’t responded to interview requests since his beloved ska band, formed in Boston more than three decades ago, announced their breakup. But it’s believed that Barrett’s anti-vaccination views also cost him his job as the announcer on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” a position he’d held since 2004. ABC has not said why Barrett was replaced.

Mark Shanahan can be reached at mark.shanahan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MarkAShanahan.