WANT TO GO?
With The Spurgie Hankins Band
WHEN: 10 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: The Empty Glass, 410 Elizabeth St.
COST: Advance $6, at the door $8
INFO: 304-345-3914 or www.facebook.com/ContinentalBand
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Rick Barton exemplifies the cliché that old habits are hard to break. The 51-year old Quincy, Mass., native and founding member of Boston-based Irish punk band Dropkick Murphys tried to abandon his musical career a few years ago and focus on his day jobs -- house painting and recording bands.
But the stay-at-home lifestyle didn't take for Barton, who was used to being in a band, living out of a van, touring nonstop, being broke and loving (almost) every minute of it. So, with help from his teenage son, Stephen, he started all over again.
"Two years ago, I made a conscious effort to dedicate my entire life to my music," Barton said over the phone.
"My second wife had given me the boot," he said, laughing. "I was going to get into producing bands, but my son had heard some of my most recent material and he was like, 'Dad, you've got to play that music. I'll put a band together, and you come down and show us the songs. Even if you don't want to do it, we want to play your music.'"
Fast-forward two years. Barton fronts Continental, which also includes his now 21-year-old son Stephen on bass and Stephen's friends from high school, 23-year olds Dave DePrest on guitar and Tommy Mazalewski. The band plays The Empty Glass on Tuesday, as part of a two-week tour of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. It has toured the United States and Canada, released a seven-song EP and will release a full-length debut album this summer.
It's that hard-scrabble life of being in an upstart band, building a fan base one show at a time, sleeping where you can and still connecting with people as a musician that Barton couldn't abandon.